Academics may "fight so hard because the stakes are so low," but housing association tinpot dictators fight hard over high stakes indeed: the power to run your neighbors' lives down to the tiniest little detail. Here's a collection of seven insane homeowners' association rules, every one of them abusively applied, putting a lie to the old chestnut about not worrying about crazy rules because they'll never be enforced.
1. Thou shalt not plant too many roses
A Rancho Santa Fe, California, homeowners' association targeted Jeffery DeMarco for exceeding the prescribed number of rose bushes allowed on his four-acre property. When DeMarco balked, the HOA levied monthly fines, threatened foreclosure, and ultimately defeated DeMarco in court. After a judge ruled that the willful rose enthusiast had violated the community's architecture design rules, DeMarco was forced to pay the HOA's $70,000 legal bill -- and lost his home to the bank.
The Federal Election Commission has deadlocked on a complaint about an employer who coerced his salaried employees into donating to a PAC he had started; the three Democratic commissioners voted to take action, the three GOP commissioners voted against, and that means that nothing will happen.
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