One family is facing devastating consequences for misinterpreting a homeowners association’s notices — because the homeowners didn’t speak English, their child claimed.
In this case, the issue was lawn care. “I was just notified today by my sister that HOA is charging us $23,000 for not keeping up with the lawn,” said the Redditor.
Generally, HOAs are required to send notices about violations and fines, but the homeowners’ lack of fluency in English complicated things. “My dad who owns the house doesn’t speak English well, nor does my mom; [they] have been getting fined 25 dollars a day for 3 years,” said the Redditor. “My dad has been getting emails and mail saying that he is getting fined, but he did not understand that it was to this extent.”
But beyond the language barrier, the real issue seems to have been the HOA’s unreasonably high lawn care standards. “He was [of] the understanding that all he had to do was cut the lawn and blow some leaves, then the fees would go away,” the Redditor said. “He didn’t understand that the HOA wanted it perfect and done by a professional.”
Not only is the HOA’s way expensive, but it’s also not the best option for the environment. Leaving autumn leaves in place helps provide shelter for beneficial bugs over the winter, including pollinators and species important to the food chain. It also provides natural mulch and nutrients for the soil, while keeping big piles of leaves out of landfills (where they break down differently than they would in a natural setting) and producing planet-warming methane gas.
But that didn’t stop the HOA from accumulating thousands of dollars worth of fines against this Redditor’s family. Sadly, some associations use those fines as leverage to place liens on homes, eventually selling them out from under the owners for much less than their actual worth.
Commenters were concerned about that possibility. “You will want to look at the HOA bylaws and speak to a lawyer,” said one user.
“I’m on an HOA board and we’d never let a homeowner get so far down into fees like that without first obtaining a lawyer ourselves,” another commenter pointed out.
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