Sign squabble ruins HOA community

by Walter Olson on February 11, 2013

In Fairfax County, Va., outside Washington, a court-ordered trustee has ordered the sale of the Olde Belhaven association’s “pleasant square, with its trees and benches, [which] had in better times been the site of community picnics and Christmas festivities.” The association was put on the road to ruin by a dispute that began over a complaint that a sign in a homeowner’s yard was 4 inches too high. It escalated into costly litigation, and “as the case ground on, the HOA increased dues from $650 a year to about $3,500, mostly to cover legal fees.” Courts sided with the dissident homeowners, and hundreds of thousands in legal costs sank the association’s finances. [Washington Post]

{ 5 comments }

1 Leafs004 02.11.13 at 5:25 pm

After reading the article, it sounds like these two sides deserved each other.

2 mjs 02.11.13 at 7:37 pm

Remind me again how access to the Courts in this frivolous instance serves any purpose?

3 No Name Guy 02.12.13 at 1:03 pm

One has to learn how to climb down. Lawyers don’t like it when folks climb down – they earn less money.

In the end, who was the only “winner” from this? The lawyers.

4 DensityDuck 02.13.13 at 5:36 pm

What’s wrong with this? I see a strong defense of property rights ending in a victory for the property owner and the worst possible result for those who illegally skulk around and try to suppress free speech. Yay Libertopia.

5 David Schwartz 02.14.13 at 2:20 am

mjs: What’s the alternative to access to the courts exactly? Do you make all HOA’s unenforceable? Do you let HOA’s do their own enforcement? The problem is not the legal system, it’s that both sides kept doubling down. I particularly blame the HOA because they were doing so with other people’s money and ignoring their own rules.

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