At the age of 25, the man found himself as the owner of his family’s cherished waterfront cottage. This property had been in their family for generations, a beautiful spot on the shore of a medium-sized lake. However, this idyllic paradise was soon spoiled by a difficult neighbor and the HOA.
Over the years, the neighborhood had seen a significant transformation. Old friends and neighbors had moved away, and their homes had been replaced by modern designer-style houses.
Introducing the HOA
The dramatic changes that the neighborhood had seen also brought with it the establishment of an HOA (Homeowner Association). Reluctant to be involved, the man was conspicuously absent from it.
Clash Over Fishing
The man’s troubles began with his next-door neighbor, Sophie, a woman who appeared to be in her 50s or 60s. Sophie took issue with the man’s fishing activities on the lake.
An Attempted Explanation
One day, after a canoe fishing trip, the man encountered Sophie on his beach. She questioned the legality of fishing on the lake, and he explained the need for a $25 annual fishing license. After a brief conversation, he excused himself: “I said that I had to go as I had caught some fish and I wanted to start processing them for dinner as it was getting late”
The Letter of Environmental Concern
Two weeks later, Sophie resorted to a written form of communication. She sent a letter expressing her concerns about the environmental impact of fishing on the lake.
A Dismissed Appeal
Dismissing her appeal, the man discarded the letter into his recycling bin, deeming it unworthy of his attention. The matter seemed settled until a new development arose.
A Surprise Visit
During an afternoon gathering with friends at the cottage, an unexpected interruption occurred. The man and a friend heard a persistent knock at the door. It was Sophie, bearing yet another letter.
An Ultimatum from the HOA
Sophie’s visit was accompanied by a stern warning. She declared that diplomacy had failed, presenting a letter from the HOA. The man explained what happened next: “Admittedly I was a bit tipsy at the time, and in response, I laughed and called her stupid for believing the HOA can do anything before closing the door on her.”
Reflecting on His Actions
As he sobered up, the man found himself torn between his actions. On one hand, he believed he had the right to fish as he pleased. On the other hand, he questioned whether he could have handled the situation with a cooler head.
The Internet Chimes in
Concerned as to whether he had been too harsh on Sophie, the man posted his experience on an online forum. “Send her a letter, telling her that if she comes back onto your property, you will call the police and have her trespassed and report her to her HOA”, one responded. They humorously added, “Then, post a sign at the entrance to your property stating “No Trespassing – This means YOU, Sophie”.
As Sustainable as it Gets
Another commenter pointed out the ridiculousness of Sophie’s concerns: “It’s kind of ironic as an individual fishing for their own food in a canoe is about as sustainable as it can get”, they laughed.
A Relatable Situation
The man was not alone in this struggle: Someone wrote: “This reminds me of my friend who lived on a farm that has been in his family many generations. Over time, the land got developed into luxury subdivisions, and the new neighbors, who paid top dollar for pastoral homes fussed and complained about the sounds (and smells) of the animals on his farm.”
Bordering on Harassment
Among these amusing comments, one commenter took a more serious stance: “She’s bordering on harassment”, they stated. “I’m sure she’s lying as the HOA knows you’re not a member. They can’t do anything. Not only that, an HOA can’t control where you fish and how often. This woman is the reason a vast majority of Americans refuse to live in an area with an HOA.”
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