Home Owners Association Hates Fun, Sues 4-Year-Old’s Family Over A Pink Playhouse
Oh, the home owners association. Every suburban-living home owner has a horror story about the HOA. They ask too much in fees. They care too much about paint colors and lawn decor. They are constantly trying to sucker people in to sitting on the board. Every couple of months there seems to be a frivolous lawsuit from an HOA that just forces me to shake my head and conclude that some people have way too much time and money on their hands. This month’s model is a Georgia HOA suing one of their members for constructing a pink and purple playhouse in her backyard for her 4-year-old granddaughter.
According to the bylines of the Mill Haven neighborhood in Augusta, Georgia, all sheds or detached garages must be painted the same color as the house itself. Becky Rogers-Peck has a brown house. But when she constructed a playhouse for her granddaughter Aubree, she painted the set in Aubree’s favorite colors. Hello, pink and purple playhouse. I’d like to add that my daughter is intensely jealous of Aubree at the moment.
As you can guess, pandemonium ensues. After months of arguments and kicking Rogers-Peck off the home owner’s board, the association filed a lawsuit to get the offensive pastel playhouse taken down. Or at least re-painted. And Becky Rogers-Peck has done what she can save her granddaughter’s playhouse. She’s letting people know just what kind of crazy she’s up against and asking for the matter to be closed before she has to hire an attorney to defend a playhouse.
Rogers-Peck is trying to be logical about this whole business. She’s reminding people that the playhouse is not visible from the road. She’s bringing up the very smart point that if you bought a playhouse from Fisher-Price it probably wouldn’t match the color of the house but few people would care. The playhouse isn’t a shed, it’s like a swing set or a trampoline. It’s something for kids to play on.
So far, her reasonable assertions have fallen on deaf ears. Or at least, her home owners association isn’t listening. Even while Rogers-Peck was taking her case to the Today Show, the board was standing their ground. Susan Bradley, the president of the HOA is firm, “We didn’t disapprove of the play house. We disapproved of the color of it.”
The approval… Every home owner loves the approval process, don’t we? I remember waiting six weeks to get a fence approved for our brand new puppies. And I’m not sure that we would’ve gotten approval for the privacy fence we wanted if our next door neighbor weren’t on the architectural board. She happens to think our daughter is adorable and I’m pretty sure that swung her in our favor, even though a six-foot fence isn’t normally allowed in our neighborhood.
I have no idea how the lawsuit will turn out for Becky Rogers-Peck. I really hope that little Aubree gets to keep her playhouse. I hope she doesn’t have to repaint it into a normal, boring house color like brown. The kid is four years old. She should be allowed to have a fantastical place to play.
More than anything, I think the moral of the story here is that home owners associations really are out of control. You better read those contracts carefully. Or better yet, move to the country like me where there is no point forming an association with people who live at least 20 acres apart! I’ll be as many multi-colored playhouses as I want pretty soon!