4 HOA Horror Stories That Could Have Been Avoided

Frustrated, confused, and beside yourself with your HOA? We get it. It’s annoying when you pay to live in a community and a lack of communication or organization mucks everything up. 

Why wouldn’t the board take the money you hand over each quarter and use it to invest in things you care about, and tools that would help the community run more smoothly (like a quality HOA website!) to prevent things like this from happening? You’re not alone in these sentiments. Here are 4 HOA horror stories that could have been foreseeably avoided if the HOA had communicated more proactively.

1. Stuck in Place

Community members from an HOA in Ohio were outraged when their dead-end street was unexpectedly closed for over 24 hours for paving. Some homeowners were stuck, unable to leave, while others couldn’t access their homes at all. 

A pregnant woman was forced to park on an upper street and walk down a steep hill to try to get to her dog. A man put permanent marks in the new pavement because he had to leave for work.  Communication was left to the road workers, who had to stop every time a car pulled up and explain what was going on. The HOA claimed to have put a notice on the Facebook page, but it never appeared. 

How It Could Have Been Avoided

A Facebook page is not where official HOA business belongs. It’s not guaranteed that all community members are on it, and it doesn’t provide a space for meaningful conversation. 

If the HOA would have utilized a strong HOA website, the formal announcement could have been posted there and to a community calendar – accessible to all homeowners. Board members could’ve diligently directed homeowners to the website for crucial updates, eliminating email, social media and even print and mailing efforts to keep homeowners updated. Before scheduling the paving, the board could have given homeowners the option to choose specific dates, avoiding a stranded dog, tar-covered tires, and very angry homeowners. 

2. Unexpected Bill

A couple in an affluent neighborhood were flabbergasted when an assessment bill of nearly $2,000 showed up. After the latest HOA meeting, the board voted to move forward on landscaping several common areas. All community members were legally bound to pay for the assessment, whether they knew about the decision or not. 

How It Could Have Been Avoided 

Had the board members posted the meeting date and agenda to an HOA website, days in advance, this may not have happened. It would have given homeowners the opportunity to review the agenda, see what was going to be discussed, and explore their options with other members in the community forums. They would’ve known when the meeting was happening, and could have attended if they wanted to, and voiced their concerns on the spot.

With no warning and a large, unexplained bill, the board would face considerable backlash and have a hard time collecting all the funds needed, not to mention dealing with disenchanted homeowners. 

3. Digging Into Trouble

A homeowner from Texas was reading the paper one morning when he noticed the president of the HOA board standing in his yard. He was infuriated when he got outside to find a group of hired road workers digging a giant hole into his meticulously landscaped flowerbed. 

The board president informed him that drainage was an issue on the street and they were there to fix the pipe located below his pansies. After some words were exchanged, the group left and the homeowner spent the day re-landscaping his yard. 

How It Could Have Been Avoided

What can the HOA legally do to your yard? Are they required to get permission? That information needs to be hosted on a communally accessible HOA website for all homeowners. But more importantly, as a matter of courtesy, the board should have discussed this issue with the homeowner (whether they legally had to or not). They could have even connected with him via their HOA website community forum and messaging function, if they’d had one. 

4. Too Many Fences

New homeowners in North Carolina were excited to finally have a yard where their dog could run. After speaking with the HOA board, they were approved to have a fence installed. 

In an effort to save money but still have curb appeal, they chose a chain-link fence on three sides and a nicer, more expensive wrought iron fence on the front. They were dismayed when the HOA forced them to rip it out, only allowing for one type of fence per yard. 

How It Could Have Been Avoided

With access to proper approval documents and explanations on what is and what isn’t allowed, homeowners would be completely informed before investing in major projects for home add-ons and renovations. This North Carolina couple clearly had no idea two fences would be an issue. 

Herein lies another way an HOA website could have made a difference. HOA websites allow the board to upload a full arsenal of necessary documents and forms that homeowners can download when needed. Board members can also make information easier to find by adding a forum group that discusses the do’s and don’ts for home renovation/repair. 

Prevent HOA Horror Stories Before They Happen With the Right HOA Website

One thing each of these horror stories has in common is a lack of consideration from the HOA board. This is why it’s important to participate in HOA elections so you can vote on empathetic board members who want the community and homeowners to be happy. In the meantime, however, consider bringing the topic of an HOA website to your next board meeting, so that lapses in communication like this stop happening.

While an HOA website might not change decisions by the board, it does make miscommunication and disorganization a lot less likely. It opens up communication so homeowners can meaningfully discuss neighborhood business, making their voices heard. 

A Customizable Solution

Hoampage is an all-in-one HOA website solution that allows communities to easily build and customize a website to fit their needs. Created by HOA industry experts, Hoampage offers unique features for HOAs that are hard to find with generic website providers, like payment portals, a “garage sale” section, homeowner profiles, directories, and much more. Avoid being a future HOA horror story. Invest in a competent, beautifully designed HOA website today.

Photo created by www.freepik.com

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