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HOAs are notorious for restricting what homeowners can do with their property — here are 5 inspiring stories of people fighting back

A little bit of knowledge, good communication, and creativity can help create a healthier tomorrow.

A little bit of knowledge, good communication, and creativity can help create a healthier tomorrow.

Photo Credit: iStock

Unjust rulings by homeowners associations are a common point of consternation on social media, but many people have discovered that change is possible.

These homeowners are shining examples of how a little bit of knowledge, good communication, and creativity can result in significant savings and help create a healthier tomorrow. 

1. Couple's bold fight leads to change in state law

Janet and Jeff Crouch were able to keep their pollinator-friendly rewilded yard after enlisting the help of a lawyer, environmental organizations, and local politicians. Now, their landmark case is helping others in Maryland. 

In 2017, well over a decade after the Crouches began phasing out their traditional grass lawn, their HOA decided that the native plants were unacceptable and told the couple they had 10 days to reinstall turf, as reported by the New York Times. 

Rather than accept defeat, the Crouches allowed a state representative to use their case as the basis for the country's first-ever law that prevented HOAs from banning native plants.

2. Homeowner gets creative to circumvent HOA regulation

One homeowner had their property certified as a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, ensuring that they were prepared to defend their yard in case their HOA did not approve of their landscaping choices. Their post on Reddit raised awareness about this creative workaround and sparked meaningful conversation.

The NWF lists five criteria that should be considered: food, water, cover, shelter, and sustainable practices, including the avoidance of harmful chemicals that contaminate the soil. After certification, the nonprofit provides a sign that allows homeowners to showcase their environmental commitment. 

3. Homeowner adds solar panels after discovering loophole 

Some HOAs don't like the appearance of solar panels, which can eliminate around 8,500 pounds of harmful pollution annually, as well as reduce electric bills and raise property values

After one person was told they couldn't have panels mounted onto their building, they decided to go an alternative route, laying 16 panels over the deck of their home.  

"HOA doesn't allow building mounted solar. No problem," they wrote on Reddit, adding that they pushed back against objections by an inspector because "we have a right to put whatever we want in the yard."

4. Residents join forces after proposal to remove mature trees

Homeowners in Greenfield, a community in Sarasota, Florida, got their HOA to slow down the process of removing 37 mature trees the organization claimed had damaged a wall. 

Roger Metz and Desiree Moulton, who were among the people who opposed the project, told the Herald-Tribune that they attended an HOA meeting in an attempt to save the trees, two of which were on their property and helped cool their yard. They also brought in a certified arborist, who supported the assessment that other causes had fractured the wall. 

5. Homeowner raises awareness about new protective law

Last year, Colorado passed a loophole-closing law to prevent HOAs from banning "vegetable gardens in the front, back, or side yard of a unit owner's property," allowing homeowners in the state to reap the health and financial benefits of growing their own food with further peace of mind. 

One person took to Reddit to celebrate the accomplishment, inspiring residents of other states to reach out to their representatives to advocate for change.  

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