You know how it goes. Someone decides that your grass is a little too long, or that the weeds are too plentiful. It’s spring — that shit grows growing faster than sass on a twelve-year-old, and before you know it, they’re after you. They’re the Homeowner’s Association Enforcers, and they are relentless. Like they literally have nothing else to do except obsess about the three dandelions in your front yard.
You are ruining the neighborhood with your filth!
“Dear Mr. and Mrs. So-And-So,” they write. “You’ve been found in violation of HOA code blah-blah-blah…” Which is when your eyes roll so far back in your head that you miss the rest of the letter. Well, except for the part that says you’ll be fined $50 per day that said weeds remain. Payment can be made to blah-blah-blah, it says. More eye rolls. Lots of cussing. And then the letter gets tossed into the recycling.
You might even try to stem the tide of the HOA’s wrath, by telling your husband to get his ass out there, and tend to the wilderness growing in your backyard. Or maybe you’ll dig out the damn shears yourself. Or maybe you say fuck it, and pay the neighbor kid a few bucks to do it after school. You do whatever it takes to keep the HOA out of your backyard with their prying eyes.
This probably isn’t your first run-in with the HOA, of course, yet it still shocks you that when the world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, some people are still concerned about things like “excessive weeds” and “lawn care protocol.” Though it probably shouldn’t surprise you. When you first moved in, you had to sign a lot of paperwork. You knew there was an HOA, and that HOAs have rules, but you assumed those rules meant “no rusty cars decomposing in your driveway.”
But you were still a neighborhood newbie — happy-as-pie new, humming in the summer breeze and painting your brand-new mailbox — when you realized how wrong you were.
“Um, excuse me,” said a woman who looked like she stepped straight out of Stepford Wives. “I’m Lady Who Runs the Whitehaven Homeowners Association. You must be Mrs. So-and-So.” No first names, this was all business.
“Are you sure that black is on the approved list of colors?” she asked.
“The list of colors. For mailboxes. Is that on the list of approved colors?”
It was, of course, not on the list of approved colors. So, you had to repaint. Or risk getting fined.
Then you had to redo your name and house number, because while you got the font right, you didn’t manage the right size. All this cost you fines, fines, and more fines.
Then you decided to plant flowers. But they weren’t the right color, or maybe they weren’t the right variety of tulip. Or they weren’t in the right place in the yard. So you had to dig them up, which left bare patches you had to cover with using the approved combination of sod, regulation-colored mulch, and alternate flowers in the proper colors and configurations. Purple, by the way, was not allowed. And you better be quick about it, because each day you’re in non-compliance with the HOA requirements means fines, fines, fines. And who can afford that shit, with kids and a mortgage?
You already pay their exorbitant monthly fee. You refuse to give their annoying asses another dime.
Oh, and let’s talk about signs. Maybe you tried to put up an “I’m With Her” sign or a “Yes, We Can” sign during election season. NOPE. Don’t even think about it. And you better tell your kids to get that idea of a lemonade stand right outta their heads, because God forbid children be seen or heard. Especially if they are going to be peddling something as unrefined as powdered lemonade.
Good Lord, enough already. Enough with the “do not”s and “can’t”s. You can’t keep curtains open past a certain time. You can’t have blackout curtains. You can’t have signs on your door. You can’t have a clothesline. You can’t have shutters that aren’t on the list of the predetermined colors. Your house can’t be painted without approval from the HOA. Can’t, can’t, can’t, can’t.
And if you think that, surely, no one would care about stuff this petty, then bless you because you’ve never lived under the tyranny of an HOA. These folks tend to revel in the glory of slapping you with a fine for something asinine.
We’ve all got our stories. Hell hath no fury like an overzealous homeowners’ association rep.