That is an incredible story! And because your pursuit in your client's
interest was perceived as the cause of all the nasty HOA communications,
your client took your listing away!!!
I don't imagine you were compensated for all your time and effort either.
I have 2 condo listings right now - no problems whatsoever.
Before you purchase you will be given the opportunity to read the deed, rules and covenants and association requirements. In many cases a meeting or interview is required to review these rules. There MAY be age restrictions, pet restrictions, vehicle restirctions, grass and foilage restrictions, sound restrictions, mailbox restrictions, color restrictions, sign restrictions, baby sitting restrictions, Welcome Home Sgt Ryan sign prohibitions and maybe someday soon weight restrictions! BMI over 25 and ya gotta go!
So agreeing to such amounts to VOLUNTARY incarceration, VOLUNTARY surrender of CHOICE. It's a lot like going to those hurricane evacuation shelter...you don't get out until they let you out.
Legal recourse...without a doubt you will find attorney's who will grab your retainer and write letter on your behalf. When you've wasted a sufficient amount of your money and the associations money, the end result is you will move. Before you buy a home in that community beyond the wall, behind those locked gates, enjoying a life of opulent monotony, read the rules....for that will be your life.
I have never heard of people put through so much abuse. Now, I know
one HOA that is mean and nasty and has little to no flexibility. But even
that one is not making up a whole new rule book.
If the HOA Board does not have contractual limits and stops to the amount
or types of changes they are allowed to make or add, by for example,
demanding almost unanimous approval from every home owner to any change
in order to make it part of the rules and regs, then its clear by your experiences
that you gotta walk away.
Or .... sell your home.
Where do you think you are; in a FREE COUNTRY?
Several years ago, I took a listing in an HOA:
I had a proper signed Listing Agreement, the unit was vacant and refurbished.
It was quite attractive; a 2 bedroom/2 bath, about 1300 sqft, ground floor, it was basically a 1 story townhouse without a garage, (assigned carport).
I put a small sign on the fence, outside the door, and my big sign out on the street, near the curb.
The following day, I received a phone call, telling me to remove the signs!
I did not.
That weekend, I tried to hold an OPEN HOUSE, by have many O.H. signs leading to the property, and several signs pointing the way in. I propped the small walk-in gate open with a box, and went to the unit to await the shoppers.
After an hour or two, I walked outside to find the gate closed and my signs piled nearby.
Not seeing anyone around; I set everything up again and waited.
I was visited by a nasty old lady who told me she was on the HOA board and a resident; and would I please remove the offending signs and cease and desist my illegal actions!
I went back and forth for 5 weeks, fighting with numberous people about the signs, access codes and who was being given them, strangers on the property, and more.
At one point, I was told that I could put my large sign across the street, on someone else's property.
Several times, I went to check on things and found my signs missing; the last time, I was informed that I would not be getting them back unless and until I agreed to stop! They threatened everything from arrest for trespassing to a lawsuit for violation of the CCR's.
I found out later, that every transgression was documented and sent to the Owner, who lived in San Francisco.
After 2 months of this, the Owner took the Listing away from me; angry with ME, for siccing the HOA police on him.
Like Jim Olive pointed out, these HOA Boards seem to attract power-mongers who make up some stupid rule for everything under the sun. Before you even realize what has happened, the old HOA rule book that you found likeable is now a new HOA rule book that you cant stand. Worse yet, they have the ability to attach fines of $50 to $250 the residents in the community who violate their new set of gestapo rules.
Personally, I can't stand the whole concept of HOA's. I'll never again get a house inside an HOA community. Way too much aggravation.
Three pages turned into 40, all agreed to by a majority of the homeowners.
All those regulations must contain more than a few that govern the way
the exterior of the homes look. So, the neighborhood's probably neat,
clean and orderly.
I bet it shows well when you put your home on the market !
Then find communities whose HOA rules suit you better. I'm sorry you are
all hampered under what must be repressive rules and regulations. My
mother lives in a community in Sun City West, AZ in which every home looks
alike and neat ... matching colors and mail boxes. There's even a rule about
closing one's drapes/shades before engaging in hanky panky and mom doesn't care.
I reread Annette Lawrence's line below, "BMI over 25? Ya gotta go!" Actually, her whole piece is funny, ascerbic and spot on!
You have very little legal recourse unless you have tons of cash to fight a prolonged battle where you will probably lose anyway.
I am not aware of any home owner associations or communities that curtail
free speech or any other civil right. There are associations that limit the
changes one can make to the facade of the home, or how many cars can
stay parked on the property, and whether or not garden sheds are allowed.
You can often check out those association guidelines on the web.
Happy Labor Day,
All the Best to you.