If you ever live in a neighborhood with an HOA then you’re bound to experience some frustrations in working with them at some point. From slow response times to warnings or fines, to being confined by their processes and limits, working with a home owner’s association can be a trying relationship at times!
While it’s never a good idea to flat-out break the rules, there may be instances where you just want to annoy your HOA as payback for the inconveniences that they may have caused you.
Here is a quick guide on how to legally annoy your HOA without getting into trouble or paying fines. However, be aware that if you stop following the rules or purposefully ignore the rules, you may get into legal trouble or have to pay fines.
With that in mind, here are a dozen ideas on how to avoid trouble but send the right message to your HOA!
1. Ask For Copies Of Statements
These are one of the most annoying things you can ask for even if you don’t read them. The best thing is they are within your right to ask for it because you are paying money, and you are allowed to see where your money is going.
Every time there is an HOA meeting or money is spent, you can ask to see exactly what it went to and make sure you get all copies.
They take a little while to print out, and it can be a tedious task, so most people don’t like when others ask for these statements.
You can take it a step further by sending in questions about details around expense line items and other things that you find on the statements. Each inquiry will require someone to research the question and get back to you.
2. Put Up Religious Statues Or Signs
No homeowners association has the right to discriminate against religion. This is great news if you want your garden to have a Buddhist statue or a sign that stands for your religion.
They cannot ask you to take it down!
The Fair Housing Act helps protect against rules that single out a religion. You may be able to get away with putting something up that doesn’t quite meet the requirements if it has religious meaning.
3. Invest in Solar Panels or TV Satellites
Your HOA can’t do anything about these devices because they are protected by federal law. While they may not appreciate their look, it’s not within their right to tell you to take them down.
If they have been really nit-picky about looks and the style of houses, this is a great way to annoy them. However, state laws vary, and you will have to read the regulations from your state to ensure you can install solar panels on your house.
If for some reason your HOA says it is against the rules you can get the company you are purchasing satellites or solar panels from to call and intervene, explaining why the rule breaks the law.
4. Start Planting!
The key to this trick is to look up your state laws and which native plants are protected under the laws. This means your yard can look like a wild jungle, and as long as your state protects the native plants, your HOA can’t ask you to do anything about it!
To do this properly, you need to research the protected plants in your state and ensure you document them.
If the HOA in your neighborhood says anything; you can go to a board meeting and educate them on which native plants are protected according to the state laws.
5. Read The Contract
Anything that the HOA gives you to sign, make sure you read through it to find any loopholes. Keep a copy of it with you and understand what is absolutely expected of you.
Some rules will be written vaguely and may be up to your interpretation which can help you have some wiggle room when it comes to following them. Other rules will be written so meticulously you know you will have to follow them.
This is the very first step in figuring out how to annoy your homeowner’s association without getting into trouble.
6. (Over)Use The Amenities
Most HOA’s have amenities for the community. This means pools, spas, gyms, playgrounds, and tennis courts. If there is a community room, you can host parties there or a clubhouse birthday party.
You may be able to use these as much as you want or put in tons of reservations. If you do this enough, it is a sure way to get your money’s worth and also annoy the homeowners association.
It technically is not breaking the rules, but it may annoy a few of your neighbors in the process so keep an eye out for this.
7. Hang Your Clothes
A great way to annoy your homeowner’s association is by hanging a line and drying your clothes in the yard. This may not fit their image of a perfect picture neighborhood.
Over a dozen states protect hanging clothes outside. Why?
This is the best way to protect the environment, reduce pollution in a neighborhood, and help your laundry remain in good shape.
If you live in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Texas, or Vermont, you can get away with this annoying HOA method.
If you still want to try it out, attend a board meeting and list all of the reasons why air drying your clothes outside is better than drying in a machine.
8. Catch Someone Else
If you know the rules inside and out, it is easier to spot when someone else breaks the rules and documents which rule is broken. However, this may lead to some rewrites of the rules and could make it more strict in the future.
If you know the rules, you can report people and maybe even prove that a rule should be abolished if everyone is breaking it.
The intent of playing tattletale here isn’t to get you neighbors in trouble (unless you want to), but more so to prove a point that certain community regulations be not be getting consistently enforced.
This not only highlights discrepancies in treatment by the HOA, but also their own shortcomings to enforce their own rules.
9. Get A Copy Of Local Ordinances
You should know what exactly the laws are for your specific city. This can be a great way to fight a ruling if necessary.
Knowledge is always power!
You should look through the city and local laws and ordinances and see if anything clashes with your HOA rules. You may even find loopholes that allow you to legally break the HOA rules, or force them to be changed to comply with local ordinance.
10. Get On The Board
If you are totally sick of the rules and have tried everything to beat the HOA try a new approach. Join them. Try getting on the board. This will allow you to help make decisions and enable you to speak your mind about what you think is right and what is wrong.
If you have already been annoying, this may annoy more members into leaving the group. Disband them from the inside. You can even encourage your neighbors to vote against one person in particular.
11. Bring It To Court
This may be the most expensive and extreme way to annoy your HOA. If you have noticed that some of the rules are completely unfair or you feel that the HOA is discriminating against you, there is a chance you can bring it to a judge.
This will make a statement, and you may end up winning depending on the case. However, sometimes this is not worth the effort. Be sure to read through all of the rules to ensure you have a legitimate case before going to this extreme option.
12. Get Your Neighbors On Board
So you’ve signed complaint forms and haven’t seen any changes. Well, the next best step is to get your neighbors and friends in the neighborhood on board.
If you all fill out a complaint, this will not only annoy the HOA, you may also see the change you are looking for. This is a significant step to take if your neighbors feel the same way about the homeowners association.
These are just a few ideas on how to legally annoy your homeowner’s association. Some of them are severe and should be saved for extreme cases, but others are harmless and are only slightly annoying.
When in doubt, join the board to try to make a difference.
Summing It Up
HOA’s are not all bad and sometimes they can be super beneficial. For example, if it snows a lot they may pay for someone to come and plow the neighborhood.
You may be able to use the amenities a few times a week and invite guests over to use them too. However, there can be tons of small rules that are annoying to follow and you may want to annoy them back.
The most important thing to remember is to keep it legal.
FAQs About HOAs
Here are some answers to common questions about HOA’s.
Can you opt-out of a HOA?
If you live in a neighborhood where there is a homeowners association, you cannot opt out of paying fees or following their rules.
There are ways to get rid of an HOA, but it is a very lengthy and challenging process.
Why do HOA’s exist?
These are rules that are put into place to protect the community’s property. It helps protect the interest and property value of homes in the neighborhood.
Is having an HOA worth it?
It is worth having an HOA in a community most of the time and can up your property value. However, sometimes the rules are so tedious that they can be annoying to follow.