• Jun 20, 2008
It's time for another installment of Carsumer Advocacy. We won't go into the nitty gritty details of this one, as it's spread across a 61-page forum post on VW Vortex. The basic gist is that a guy moved into a house in a nice neighborhood. Said neighborhood then started a Home Owners Association with an annual fee of over $1,500. The new HOA then hired an outside contractor to police parking inside the neighborhood. Parking passes were then required that had to be displayed within the vehicle at all times, even when parking in your own driveway (!). If the loose passes (they weren't stickers) weren't displayed, a homeowner would get a $140 ticket and a couple of boots slapped on his or her wheels until the ticket was paid.

One day, forum member The A1 and A2 German forgot to hang his parking pass on the rearview mirror of his mildly tuned Audi A4. The boots came, but rather than acquiesce, he got some rolling jacks and wheeled his car, boots and all, back into his garage. It's the principal of the thing, as this guy apparently always used his parking pass and, despite the rent-a-cops knowing his vehicle, they ticketed him and gave his car the boot anyway. Then the standoff began. This guy was smart and called the police to make sure he wasn't doing anything illegal like stealing the contractor's boots, and when the HOA contractor's eventually found out where their they were hiding, he was happy to let them come and retrieve their property. The contractor now his boots back, but the man's parking pass has been revoked and apparently his neighbors are now being terrorized by these boot police who are hell bent on revenge. Click the source below to read the whole story, or hit up the second source to view just those forum posts by the man in question.

[Source: VW Vortex, GT Planet]


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  • 54 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      i think there is something that has been over looked..
      the public safety was contracted...
      as in "We are paid to do our business here, but we will make more money if we overdo our business"
      the rent a cop had a slow night and wanted to report something, to pretend being busy...
      so he pulled a fast one daring him to take legal actions...

      as for HOAs when will those towns get that the moment they put rent-a cops, they are wasting money and polluting their town? rent-a cops are for the neighbors that never go out and spend most of the time watching other neighbors though their blinds and call for security because a cat trespassed their property...

      let's hope a1anda2german gets his money back + the day he wasted to fix this kindergarden stuff
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm firmly convinced that the only way to deal with homeowners associations is the same way you deal with a totalitarian government: you overthrow them violently.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The thing we have to remember about a HOA is that they are voluntary. We can avoid them. Beware the same busy bodies running our Federal government (vote for Liberty, not Big Government!). From the Feds, there is no escape ('cause Canada just aint an option!).

        According to this story, it seems the HOA was started AFTER the A4 owner moved into his home. In this case, it seems he had no choice in the matter, unless he actually voted yes and agreed to join the HOA (in which case, he made a contract and is obligated to its stipulations). But, if what the story hints at is true, and the governance of his home and property was essentially annexed by the HOA, then I think he ought to fight back. And, if justice prevails, he ought to win.

        Likely though, somewhere in the purchase contract of his home, there was mention of an HOA. Either that, or he joined the HOA by choice. If so, Mr. A4 is now paying the price.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ugh, home owners associations. Basically housewives and old people with too much time. Threaten them with legal action and they fall like a house of cards. I think the idea was thought up of by useless people with no real power. I can't describe in words how much I hate people that are a part of this.
        • 6 Years Ago
        City ordinances (including parking and needing parking permits in some areas) are often just as strict as HOA policies.

        Anybody ever watch The Riches (on FX)? Their neighborhood is just like this, 1000 rules about what's on their lawn etc. and rent-a-cops banging on the door every day.

        In this case it sounds like some stuck-up rich busybody housewives are running the HOA. But in the end this is what happens when people are politically apathetic and don't vote, they get screwed (by their HOA or by their actual city/county/state/federal government). If there are that many neighbors being terrorized, they should just hold a vote to dissolve the HOA and fire the rent-a-cops. Exercise your power, campaign, vote, and if you're too lazy for that, think about how much work it is to move!

        (In the meantime they could also buy/build some boots of their own and put them on the cars of the HOA council and rent-a-cops, and/or just start sharing a cutting torch and turning the HOA boots into scrap)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Simply amazing stories.

        Why do people accept these sort of policies? I used to think an HOA was an extension of living in a nicer neighborhood: one that has access to better schools, closer proximity to better health care, and generally higher property values.

        After living 3 years in Florida I've come to believe they are self-imposed restrictions on freedom that people who are completely scared of the world prefer over real liberty. I've had the chance to meet lots of people in HOA communities in FL and an equal number outside, of all ages and races.

        My sad conclusion is that the ones who elect to live in the most strict communities tend to be racist, religiously intolerant, homophobic, and generally so uptight they could eat coal and s**t diamonds! I've heard some of the most damaging words come from the mouths of children in these communities.

        Me? Id rather live in a scruffy neighborhood with mixed incomes, races and no property restrictions other than those the city imposes than live in an HOA-restricted community ever again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This story has been interesting! I moved into a non gated neighborhood over 10 years ago. My real estate agent said there was a HOA, but it was optional.

      A few years ago they start sending around flyers saying that 50% of the neighborhood had NOT been paying yearly HOA dues & that if we sold the house they would have a lean on property for back HOA dues.

      Thank God my ex was had a sister who was a lawyer... nothin' like a letter from a big law firm to put the fear of God into half-a$$ HOA that were too dumb to register with the county!!! :) :) I'm sure they would have progressed to boots & other B.S.


        • 6 Years Ago
        Even if the HOA "registers with the county" they can't alter your deed after the fact. If there isn't a restrictive covenant in your deed mandating membership in the HOA and adherence to its rules and bylaws, you can tell them to go pound sand.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The problem isn't always the HOA officers. My dad was the HOA president at our last house (not his decision), and the rest of the residents were absolutely HORRIBLE to deal with. It was actually the reason that we moved out after only living in the house for ~3 years.

      Bottom line is that any time a group of people try to tell another group how to do thing in their own personal life/on their own property, bad things happen.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks like all the neighbors should beat up the contractors... *evil smile*
      • 6 Years Ago
      i would have took a hacksaw to that boot and threw it in the street, then called the REAL police to tell them the rentacops were trespassing on my property and illegally diabled my vehicle, and press charges.

      If you were there before the HOA, you do not have to be part of it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      HOA are too often filled with nobodies who have no power and no control in the rest of their lives. They get themselves into power for the first time in the HOA and they become swaggering little Mussolini's.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Buy your own clamper's boot, wait for the clamper's van to be unattended. Clamp and throw away the key. Laugh while drinking a beer on your front step.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just a few horror stories from Britain
      It's worth reading

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/manchester/5400196.stm
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/humber/3667899.stm
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/6912761.stm

      westminster council in London run a competition for parking wardens - the one who'd issue most tickets would win a Vauxhall Astra (Saturn). Some council have quotas they had to reach each month... Britain's parking hell. Oh yeah, and it's 2 pounds (4 dollars) for 15 minutes in Central London.

      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a story like that, only 5x less intense and with a happy ending. I live in a gated townhouse community and own my townhome. The local police patrol through every night and I got a giant orange sticker slapped on my window while my car was in my driveway saying it was abandoned (because my registration had expired by about 5 days when May turned to June) and that it would be towed in 5 business days unless it was fixed. I left for France that day and just put the car in the garage before my taxi came, and when I got back the garage was open and the car gone. Now I know I should have fixed it but I didnt have time and thought my car would be safe inside my property. Anyway, I filed a complaint with the real estate company controlling the neighborhood and told them that my garage was opened by someone (police, towing company, i still don't know) and they busted their butts to pay my fee and fix the situation. How they got into my garage I don't know and someone is playing CYA with the situation because the only people with the codes are me and the real estate company.

      Bottom line, they fixed it and as long as it doesnt happen again I'm cool. Got my registration renewed so hopefully next year this wont be happening
        • 6 Years Ago
        C.W.: Why, by the way, does the real estate company have a code for your garage if you own your townhome? The entrance gate to the community, sure, but the code to open your garage? I'd never agree to that.

        When I took possession of my home, I rekeyed the locks and changed both the entry code AND the master programming code for the alarm. Just in case.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would have NOT been cool with that. I was stuck in a HOA in Tucson, and that was a non-starter when considering the next home.
        If something like that had happened, someone would have Hell to pay. Your car wasn't abandoned in the first place (it doesn't have to be registered if it isn't being driven on public roads), and opening your garage for it is straight B&E.
        F'in' fascist HOAs.

        • 6 Years Ago
        I second DKB, I would make them pay for every last pit of sorrow I felt when I opened my garage to find my car STOLEN. Get them to pay your HOA, and get the Police, or an attorney involved. That is f'd up man. You don't mess with other people's property. Not to mention, you're allowed to part an unregistered car in you garage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        WHAT??? They broke into your garage and removed your property without permission and the first person you called was the realtor? You should've called the cops and pressed criminal charges against everyone involved. Just because your registration is expired, doesn't mean you can't own a vehicle.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Wait wait wait... they STOLE YOUR CAR from inside your locked garage, and you're OK with it because they didn't charge you for it? How long were you without your car after your return from France? Whoever took your car from inside your garage is guilty of breaking and entering and theft of a motor vehicle. The fact that they returned it doesn't erase what they did, it just minimizes their exposure to your insurance company's lawyers.
          • 6 Years Ago
          It was back within 2 hours of me contacting the company. Luckily I assumed the tow notice was why it happened. They said that since alot of the townhomes are leased and not purchased (therefore the companys property) they enforce the rules rather strictly. Someone didn't do their homework on mine. They got my car back, no scratches, and waived the 50/month lawncare fee for the rest of the year so why should I push for more? They righted the wrong and everyone is happy, no need to SUE for a mistake?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mk excellent points and major geek, I'm in nny and loving my dairy farm neighbors because honestly I'd rather smell cow poop than suffer with HOA commies. I left a HOA and the final straw for us was a little note plastered to my door that stated because of my porch light on at night I was contributing to light pollution.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This article's grammar sucks!!!!

      Autoblog guys, remember people outside anglo places read you too, maybe they can understand some crappy grammar like that, but the rest of the world, non-native speakers surely can't :(
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