Bored Homeowners Association Sues Family Over Purple Swing Set

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

A homeowners association in Missouri threatened a family with a lawsuit and “jail time” if they didn’t take the purple swing set in their backyard down. Interesting. I didn’t know that HOA’s were in the business of law enforcement now. Oh, they’re not! Which is why a judge threw their ridiculous suit out.

The Stout family was sent a threatening letter after their HOA decided that the swing set the family built their children wasn’t properly approved. Like many parents, the couple let their daughters choose the color of the playhouse, and they chose purple. The family consulted the HOA guidelines, which didn’t say anything specific about color, only that it be “in harmony” with the neighborhood. Since the neighborhood has purple flowering trees, the family thought it would be okay.

Nope. The HOA sent a letter to the family threatening a law suit if they didn’t take the set down. The family asked for a list of approved colors, that the HOA refused to provide. The family decided to stand up to their bully HOA as a lesson to their daughters: “We didn’t think it was a good idea to back down and show our kids that you just back down to bullies,” Jack Stout told KCTV. “We just wanted to keep our purple swing set and according to the rules. It’s not against the rules so we didn’t see why we should change it.”

The HOA then hired a lawyer who sent this message:

“Failure to respond to any anticipated court ordered injunction directing your removal of the swing set could result in your being held in civil contempt of the court’s order which would bring with it a daily fine or jail time until the swing set was removed, as ordered. If you do not remove the swing set within the next couple of weeks, the Board has requested that I file the lawsuit against you. The ultimate cost to you will be far greater than any principle you are trying to prove”

Say what? Over a swing set? Some people have way too much time on their hands. The family insists they initially offered to paint the set grey, but were just met with contempt from the HOA and demands to remove it. So the HOA decided to pursue this epic-waste-of-time lawsuit, and a judge threw it out.

Yay for sanity.

HOA’s are great for things like keeping epic trash piles out of your neighbor’s front lawn and making sure that the apartment next to yours doesn’t turn into an Air BnB revolving rental. But putting a foot down and refusing to negotiate calmly about the color of a swing set in someone’s backyard is ridiculous, especially when their surrounding neighbors had no problem with it.

Get a hobby, board members. At least it ended up in the hands of a reasonable judge.

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