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Power-drunk HOA threatens legal action against helpless homeowner over minor yard issue: 'Heinous behavior'

"I'm truly sorry this is happening to you."

Homeowner Spring weather

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One Redditor is upset about a "nasty letter" and a fine of $200 from their homeowners' association (HOA) for grass that was deemed to be too long — highlighting a tendency for HOAs to overstep boundaries. 

The Redditor explains that the spring weather had caused their grass to "explode in length … seemingly overnight" and that they could not get their landscaper in to cut it immediately. Due to personal issues, the Redditor was not able to cut it themself either. 

"We recently got a nasty letter and fine ($200) from our HOA. I sent an email but, they gave me an ultimatum: i get it cut within the next week or they take legal action," the user writes. "I would absolutely [do it on] my own but, I'm working double shifts and do not have any free time to spare. I'm also taking care of family issues. I don't know what to do."

Some commenters offered advice while others expressed their disappointment. 

"I'm truly sorry this is happening to you and your family. Heinous behavior by your HOA," one says

HOAs exist to enforce community rules, but they don't always act in the best interest of the residents or the environment. Some HOAs ban the use of clotheslines to air-dry laundry and mandate excessive lawn watering amid times of drought. 

Cutting grass excessively, as some HOAs require, is costly and time-consuming. From an environmental standpoint, it makes the lawn less absorbent, meaning you'll waste water trying to keep it healthy, and gas-powered lawnmowers can release harmful pollutants into the air, Princeton reports. 

It is possible to fight your HOA on policies that aren't eco-friendly. Advice from Realtor.com suggests looking into state laws — some states do not allow HOAs to dictate whether you have a clothesline or if you grow native plants and food in your garden. 

Some Reddit users also suggested requesting a board meeting so the original poster could plead their case.

Advice that goes well with all of these suggestions came from Realtor.com, which proposed getting the board to embrace eco-friendly policies altogether. "With the right attitude and enough evidence of go-green benefits, you might just convert the entire neighborhood." 

HOAs can be difficult to handle, but if you can join the board or form a good relationship with the board, it can also be an opportunity to encourage widespread eco-friendly habits in your neighborhood. 

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