One post on r/ProRevenge shows just how homeowners can turn the tables on a restrictive homeowners’ association.
When it comes to making eco-friendly upgrades to a home, HOAs can be a thorn in a homeowner’s side.
While homeowners are often trying to save money or benefit the environment, HOAs can be more concerned with how properties look. They may demand a specific kind of lawn, block the installation of solar panels, or even fine residents over gardens and clotheslines. Thankfully, many states are changing their laws to limit HOAs’ powers — and even when an HOA has authority, there are ways to get around the rules.
That’s what this Redditor’s parents did five years ago when they fought a Florida HOA over home repairs. According to this user, their parents’ home had been damaged by hurricanes, so they needed a roof replacement. “My folks looked through roofing options and determined that a metal roof would be a great option to reduce damage/maintenance on their home,” says the poster.
Like good residents, they checked their HOA rules and discovered that metal roofs weren’t allowed. But given that the rule was 30 years old, the poster’s parents didn’t believe the restriction was meant for the type of attractive and eco-friendly roof they had in mind.
“Reviewing the bylaw further showed that it was clearly referring to older, crappier tin roofs,” the Redditor says.
The homeowners wanted to be sure, so they contacted the HOA. They waited two months for a reply before deciding to proceed with construction. The Redditor says the HOA promptly issued their parents a $25,000 fine and told them to remove the metal roof.
The poster attributes the decision to the HOA’s financial troubles, writing, “The HOA was strapped for money due to other repairs/dues, and some prick had the bright idea to impose as many fines as they could on the neighborhood.”
However, there’s a happy ending. The user’s parents found a law on Florida’s books forbidding HOAs from banning environmentally-friendly upgrades. Since the style of roof they wanted generates heat passively and lowers energy use, it counted. They even went on to vote the HOA’s leadership out of office and take over themselves to prevent future abuse of the system.
One commenter was delighted by the turn of events, saying, “Fine print gets you every time.”
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