By Ethan A. Huff
When Kimberly Bois of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, decided to make decorative shrub and floral improvements to a small patch of front lawn outside her condominium, she had no idea that her homeowners association (HOA) would sue her for phantom violations that do not exist. WBZ-TV in Boston, Mass., reports that Bois currently faces nearly $6,000 in fines for planting flowers in front of her house, even though the homebuilder had previously given her permission to plant them.
“It’s just not a happy place to live anymore for me,” said Bois to WBZ-TV during a recent interview. “It just feels like we’ve been bullied and really all we wanted to do was have a conversation to figure out how this can benefit all of us.”
But Bois’ HOA has reportedly done nothing but harass her during this entire process, sending her monthly letters about her violations. Since the incident first began, the HOA has fined Bois $50 every day, as well as billed her for its legal fees in pursuing her. The HOA has also put a lien on her condo until the fines are paid, which has prevented her from moving.
According to WBZ-TV, Bois has tried reasoning with the HOA, and has even agreed to uproot the flowers and pay $3,000, or roughly half of the fines levied against her. But the HOA has refused her requests, even though there is nothing in the HOA rules that prohibits homeowners from planting flowers in their front yards — in essence, Bois has done nothing wrong, and yet she is being pursued by her HOA as if she were a criminal.
You can watch a video report on the saga at the following link:
Sadly, Bois’ troubles with her HOA are hardly an isolated occurrence as HOAs all across the country have essentially devolved into vulturous, freedom-grabbing entities. In 2010, a Georgia man was fined nearly $7,000 after inadvertently repainting his house the wrong shade of blue and failing to correct it quickly enough (http://www.wsbtv.com). And in Louisiana, an HOA sued homeowners for placing a banner on their front lawn honoring a family member who died during active military service (http://www.foxnews.com).
Like the government and law enforcement, HOAs were originally intended to serve homeowners. But today, all three of these entities have largely morphed into enemies of the people, exploiting them rather than helping them.
Sources for this article include: