June 4, 2024 at 11:55 pm

HOA Wouldn’t Let Him Plant Sunflowers In His Yard Because They Were Too Tall, So He Read the Fine Print And Planted Something Truly Corny

by Matthew Gilligan

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance/Unsplash/@geromebruneau

Oh, boy, it’s yet another HOA story from Reddit that’s sure to make you roll your eyes…

But then you’re gonna laugh because this story has a pretty hilarious ending!

Read on to get all the details.

Won’t let me plant sunflowers? Fine.

“Client walks into the office and asks us for a contract review. He then hands over an HOA contract. Before slogging through a whole HOA contract, I asked him what he was hoping to accomplish.

They explained what was going on.

“They want me to dig up my sunflowers.”

“Your… sunflowers?”

“Yes, I planted a row of sunflowers outside my house. They pranced by and said that sunflowers are not allowed per the contract I signed. So I want you to tell me if that is true or not.”

“Sir, before anything else I need to tell you that this will likely be an hourly fee bill. HOAs are notorious for dragging things out. So these could quickly become expensive sunflowers.”

“I don’t care. This is America and I should be able to plant sunflowers.”

If you say so!

Still thinking he wasn’t that serious about sunflowers, I asked for a three hour retainer. He immediately pulled out a checkbook and paid for four hours. So I buckled down to review the alleged anti-sunflower clause.

Just for reference, the sunflowers he wanted to plant were really big (5 ft) and all along the front of the house. It was a very substantial amount of sunflowers.

The contract did indeed contain a clause, with a very thorough list, on which plants were and were not allowed to be planted. The list had just about every plant I could think of, in alphabetical order (think apple, banana, cauliflower, dill…). Sunflowers included. Corn was not included, which becomes very important later.

Quick legal point – if you write ‘no dogs allowed’ it is normally assumed that you are talking about all dogs generally. If you write ‘no labs, golden retrievers, or poodles allowed’ it is normally assumed that all other dogs are allowed.

Sometimes a not great attorney will write a super long list to pad hours (read: charge more) instead of just writing ‘no plants without prior approval’ or something.

Here’s the deal…

I called the client back in for the bad news. In explaining the above legal point, I let him know that the HOA got a raw deal from whoever drafted the contract.

“No can do on the sunflowers. But if it makes you feel any better they were probably overbilled by whoever wrote this contract. Pretty shoddy work too, they even forgot to write down ‘corn’ but they included nonsense like ‘dragon fruit’.”

“So yes to corn, no to sunflowers?”

“I didn’t really check the contract for corn. But it’s not prohibited in the plant section, so probably?”

“Excellent. That’ll work.”

Now what’s he gonna do?

I thought he was oddly happy with bad news. Then two or three weeks later he came in with a picture of his house.

What happened? This guy drove out to the country and bought obnoxiously large and ugly cornstalks. He promptly planted them where the sunflowers had been.

When confronted by the HOA he told them (paraphrasing) to suck it. The contract lets him plant corn. Then after some negotiation he agreed to take the corn down, in exchange for permission to plant sunflowers.

Now we are friends, he is still a great client, and he lives surrounded by a ridiculous moat of sunflowers.”

Here’s how folks reacted on Reddit.

This person shared their thoughts.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

Another Reddit user spoke up.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

This individual was impressed.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

One Reddit user is not a fan of HOAs.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

And this individual had a lot to say.

Source: Reddit/Malicious Compliance

He showed them!

Take that, HOA!

If you liked that post, check out this post about a woman who tracked down a contractor who tried to vanish without a trace.