Homeowner’s Association Fines Resident After Car Leaves Penis-Shaped Outline in Snowy Lot
Fight the power.
Homeowner's associations: Generally awful, often evil. Now a comically serious board ruling a development in Tennessee with a frail fist has taken that reputation to new heights by fining a resident $100 after her car inadvertently left a penis-shaped outline in the condo complex's snowy parking lot.
This tale of misbegotten power and beautiful comeuppance comes from a woman named Kathryn, who shared her story with The Drive after venting about the bizarre experience on Reddit. Kathryn asked that we not use her last name, but she provided email proof of what might be the most asinine complaint we've ever read.
The trouble began early one cold morning in late January following a light snowfall overnight. It was barely a dusting, and Kathryn and her husband left for work and lived their lives like any other. But the next day, Kathryn was shocked to find an email in her inbox notifying her that she'd been fined $100 because her car had violated the HOA's rules on "displaying offensive images or slogans."
More ominously, the board claimed to have photographic evidence of the obscenity in question. Confused and annoyed, Kathryn pressed them for more information. Their response stands tall in the self-own hall of fame, along with the following photo.
"Your car, specifically the Honda, left this offensive image on the ground after you left," the email read. "I believe you will see why we have had complaints about it. One of our residents took the photo and reported it to us out of concern for our younger residents."
Finally, somebody thinks of the children. The picture shows a blob of clear pavement on the snow-covered lot where the car, a Honda Insight, sat and blocked the snow from accumulating. It's a weird sight; there are no tire tracks visible because it was still snowing when Kathryn and her husband left in the morning, which filled in the clearing's edges a bit where the pavement was colder before it stopped. If you squint, and if you're really looking for it, okay, it kind of looks like a strange representation of male genitalia.
Clearer is the fact that we never want to meet the person who made that report. Once Kathryn figured out what exactly the email was referring to—and once she stopped laughing—she fired off an angry counter. How could she possibly control the way the snow fell around her car? Didn't the bylaws state that offensive imagery had to be purposeful? She refused to pay the fine, threatened legal action, and received the following in response:
"We understand. We will not be pursuing this further, in good faith pursuant to the wording of the by-laws."
That's probably about as close to an apology as you'll ever get from an HOA without actually getting lawyers involved, so all's mostly well that ends well. For what it's worth, this isn't the first time Kathryn and her husband have tangled with their condo overlords. She also claims the board's former president arranged to have her car towed from the lot for expired tags when the replacements got delayed in the mail by one day. That story, along with a war's worth of other battles she's had to wage in her complex, can be read over at the ever-entertaining r/f**kHOA subreddit.
We've detailed other stories of neighborhood tyrants run amok, like the homeowner's association in California that attempted to fine residents for keeping their garage doors closed in a misguided effort to root out illegal living space conversions. This doomed quest quest to pin an unintentional penis drawing on a resident's car seems even more insane at first. But you know what they say: It takes one to know one.
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“If you’re offended, just lighten up. My goodness, it isn’t hurting anyone,” the owner said.