When looking to purchase residential real estate in California, it is good to first find out if there is a homeowners' association involved in the neighborhood governance. An HOA can be a valuable security blanket for many buyers, but for others there may be potential problems that should be investigated prior to buying. Such organizations generally enforce restrictive deed covenants that homeowners should know about in advance so that they know what to expect.
For example, one homeowner in another state learned only after he moved into his retirement home that there were restrictions on what kind and how many decorations were allowed in the front yard of the home. He and his wife had numerous decorative milk jugs, planter buckets and other artistic and historical objects in their front yard. It wasn't long before they got a letter from the HOA telling them to take most of it down due to a violation of their homeowners' association covenant on lawn decorations.
The association complained that the couple had too many milk churns, buckets, cans, tables, chairs, statues and other items. It also complained that there was a star and a painted wooden object attached to one side of the house. The homeowner, a retired corrections officer from New York, responded less than affectionately by procuring a large professionally-painted sign that castigates the aggressive enforcement policy of the HOA.
As a result, many homeowners in the neighborhood are worried about the market value of their homes with the sign glaring out to prospective homebuyers that they may be the next one to be harassed. It is a little surprising – due to the high number of such conflicts -- that this one has received nationwide media coverage. This type of HOA dispute is relatively common in some upscale California neighborhoods. It must be the man's damaging sign that has aroused the interest of people around the country.
Source: durangoherald.com, "Colorado man takes on his homeowners association", Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., Aug. 24, 2017