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Homeowner frustrated by HOA threatening fines over herb garden: 'Seems to me this is overreaching or malicious enforcement'

"Is it even worth fighting about this?"

"Is it even worth fighting about this?"

Photo Credit: iStock

One Redditor turned to r/HOA for ideas after their HOA cited them for "weeds" that were actually edible garden plants.

Home gardens are a popular way to save on produce, get exercise and sunshine, and reduce the air pollution and plastic packaging involved in shipping and selling fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

However, some HOAs can get incredibly controlling about what homeowners do with their own property. Many have rules about what type and size of plants and garden beds are allowed — and if they don't have a rule that fits, some will stretch existing language about  "excessive weeds."

That's what happened this time, according to the homeowner's post on Reddit. "I started an herb garden in my front yard in 2015," they explained. "I grow garlic as part of my garden. Last month, I received a covenant oversight letter from my HOA."

The letter claimed that the Redditor had "weeds and/or grass in plant beds." It included a photo of the Redditor's garlic and a notice that they had 10 days to fix it.

"I promptly replied stating what was in the photo was intentionally planted garlic," said the original poster. "I figured all was well. About three weeks later, I received a second notice citing the same covenant, with a new photo of my garlic, and a hearing date."

At the hearing, the Redditor explained yet again that the "weeds" were garlic and were being grown on purpose. Yet the HOA board decided that the Redditor had still been in violation of the HOA's rules. It decided not to assess any fines — but warned that if the Redditor violated the same rule again, they would be fined without a hearing.

The Redditor seemed uncertain about what to do next. "I'm not sure how to proceed or even what options I have," they said. "This situation feels like them telling me I can't plant anything they don't consider attractive. Is it even worth fighting about this?"

One commenter was optimistic about the original poster's chances. "Seems to me this is overreaching or malicious enforcement which can be fought," they said. They recommended sending a certified letter threatening legal action, possibly with the help of a lawyer.

'Is it possible for you to put up some nifty little decorative signs stating what each plant is?" another user suggested. "Perhaps this can help the idiots to realize that they are idiots."

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