The GEICO Insurance TV commercials featuring an over-the-top HOA rules enforcer named Cynthia who takes a chainsaw to a noncompliant mailbox are hilariously satirical because they ring a bit too true. Community associations have a negative image in the minds of many for perceived over-reach in their enforcement measures. Unfortunately for associations, this stereotype is exacerbated by occasional media reports about HOAs and condominium associations being hit with numerous complaints from unit owners about their overly stringent enforcement and collections practices.
One such article, which appeared recently in the pages of the Star Tribune daily newspaper, focused on the disputes taking place between homeowners and their HOA’s board of directors at the Heritage Park community in north Minneapolis. It chronicles how the association regularly sends violation letters and collects fines for what some residents see as minor infractions, and it includes an example of a homeowner who was ordered to remove parts of her garden or the association would do so and bill her for the cost.