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Homeowner calls out 'ridiculous' HOA over fines for neighborhood garden: '[It's] not bothering anyone'

"It looks nice. … You can see the joy on her face when she waters these plants."

Losing plants, HOA over fines for neighborhood garden

Photo Credit: @theresadunstan / TikTok

Last May, one TikToker called out a local homeowners association for its "ridiculous" and unfair fines against a neighborhood gardener.

Unfortunately, this seems to be a tale as old as HOAs. These associations often have the power to fine residents and demand changes to their properties, and some will do so for incredibly petty reasons, like a garden four inches too wide or an unfamiliar species of tree.

@theresadunstan #HOA #homeownersassociation #mesaarizona #arizona #hoasucks #hatehoa #hoafines ♬ original sound

In this case, TikToker Theresa Dunstan (@theresadunstan) says the gardener even had permission for the bushes she planted — and the HOA still punished her for them.

"This is why I hate HOAs," Dunstan says in her video. "The lady that lives in this condo right here, she has planted all these plants and got special permission from the HOA years ago to do this."

In the video, Dunstan pans over a row of beautiful, healthy trees, flowers, and small bushes along the outside of a house and along the edge of the neighboring lawn. The plants are well kept and make the building look much more inviting.

However, Dunstan says the HOA recently went back on its earlier decision. "They fined her, like, $200 and told her she has to take these plants out by the 15th," says Dunstan. "It's ridiculous."

Based on the video, there doesn't seem to be a problem with weeds or dead plants, and Dunstan points out that the gardener isn't causing any other problems, either. "She upkeeps it herself, uses her own water," she says. "It looks nice. She's not bothering anyone. You can see the joy on her face when she waters these plants."

Sadly, joy doesn't seem to be much of a motivator for many HOAs. Some have also blocked moves that save homeowners money and protect the environment, such as solar panels, water-saving landscaping, and pollinator-friendly native plants. Some homeowners have found ways to change the rules, while others have had to challenge their HOA in court.

Commenters agreed that the HOA was in the wrong. "I will never live in another HOA again," said one user.

"She can register it as a pollinator garden and have it protected by the state!" suggested another user. "It only costs like $10 and HOA's can't do anything about it!"

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