Have you ever heard of a neighborhood rule that’s left you scratching your head, wondering how it can possibly be true?
If so, you’ll probably be able to sympathize with Klaas and Dorothy Tadema, who were told they would be sued $100,000 – for something a little unexpected.
It’s not like Klass and Dorothy had intended to violate the neighborhood rules when they moved to Lago Mar, Texas.
Their home in Dickenson had been flooded during Hurricane Harvey, and were attempting to rebuild their lives elsewhere.
In November 2018, they decided to install flowerbeds on their property. To many people, a house isn’t a home without plants, and the Tademas felt the same way.
But by March 2019, the couple had received a notice from the HOA, saying that the new flowerbeds weren’t suitable.
In case you’re not familiar with the HOA (which stands for HomeOwners Association), many communities in the US have an HOA to help “maintain a clean and cohesive atmosphere in the neighborhood”.
In the Tademas’ case, they were informed by their local HOA that their flowerbeds didn’t meet the association’s guidelines.
The retired couple saw nothing wrong with the flowerbeds they’d installed, so they filed an application for approval.
Speaking to KHOU 11, Dorothy explained her reasoning behind their decision:
“I like pretty flowers. I like my yard pretty. It’s a shame that you have to remove something that I would think would ehnance the neighborhood.”
The application came with a $25 fee, but the Tademas thought that it was the wise thing to do to settle the matter once and for all.
But that application was rejected – and, in September 2020, a law firm filed a lawsuit against the couple on behalf of the HOA.
The HOA wasn’t seeking a relatively small compensation. They wanted up to $100,000.
According to this lawsuit, the HOA had attempted multiple times to communicate with the Tademas about their violations, but the couple refused to fix the violations or remove their flowerbeds.
The HOA is seeking a minimum in $3,000 in damages, which, according to KHOU, “represents damages for only fifteen days, despite the fact the Defendants’ violations have been or were ongoing for a period of more than fifteen days.”
As for the suit, it seeks $200 a day on top of this – but that’s not the worst.
One section of the lawsuit reads that the HOA is seeking “$100,000 or less” and non-monetary relief.
This is on top of attorney’s fees, as Texas property codes make it legal for HOAs to file lawsuits in order to enforce their rules.
The situation has soured for the Tademas, with Dorothy saying:
“I feel like we have no freedom here. We have to do what they want, or else.”
Unsurprisingly, the story has made a lot of people fired up online, with hundreds of people commenting underneath a KHOU 11 YouTube news report on the subject.
One person wrote:
“Just let the seniors plant pretty flowers. Good god.”
Others commented that the HOA should be banned in all 50 states or “eliminated by law”.
KHOU spoke to Mahiah Boatner, a representative of Principle Management Group, which manages the HOA, and she replied that “the company does not comment on pending litigation”.
Hopefully the Tademas can go back to enjoying what should be a peaceful retirement soon.
You can watch a video interview with the couple below.
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