A woman sparked a conversation about homeowners’ associations (HOAs) after sharing a recent clip on TikTok. The video, which showed the TikToker spray-painting her front yard’s dying plants in response to her HOA’s complaints, has gone viral on the platform, amassing 3.9 million views, 166,000 likes, and over 4,000 comments since it was shared last month.
HOAs are typically formed within communities or neighborhoods in order to set certain regulations, expectations, and standards for the maintenance of properties under their jurisdiction. In order to buy a home within an HOA, the homeowner automatically joins the association, pays dues, and follows the association’s rules—if a homeowner doesn’t comply, they might face harsh penalties such as fines or even legal action.
Defenders of HOAs feel that they’re helpful in keeping their neighborhoods well-maintained. Additionally, HOA dues can help cover the costs of communal services and amenities, like snow removal. However, critics say that HOAs exert too much power over their communities and that their rules are arbitrary and unnecessarily strict.
TikToker @brandylong490 appeared to fall in the latter of those two categories. In her video, she used on-screen captions to write: “When the HOA complains about your dead bushes and wants you to replace them.” She also included the hashtag f***off.
The footage shows the woman standing over a patch of lawn—specifically, an area covered with half-browning bushes. With a can of spray paint, she covered the browning leaves with a green shade. The trick is surprisingly effective and created a relatively natural-looking result, at least on camera.
While obviously humorous in nature, the TikToker’s act prompted a more serious debate in the comments section, with both HOA advocates and critics speaking out.
“Living in an HOA doesn’t even seem like real home ownership,” wrote @tacostellsecrets in a comment. “It’s basically renting with extra steps.”
“One of the many reasons I will never live in a HOA!” echoed @kristyn_022. “Pay all that money just to be told what you can and can’t do outside of your home.”
TikToker @lisamarie_781 went so far as to say that HOAs “should be illegal.” “You pay them money so THEY can control what YOU own. I will never understand.”
Meanwhile, @tankroomtroll noted that the exclusionary nature of HOAs “literally [exists because] of racism, prejudice and classism.”
However, proponents of HOAs also made their voices heard. On the other side of the debate, @lb75328 wrote: “The whole point of moving into an HOA is maintaining the aesthetic of the neighborhood. If you can’t, leave.”
“HOAs can be a mixed bag,” wrote @nedsterog. “But, I don’t want my home value in the toilet because of lazy neighbors turning the neighborhood into an unappealing dump.”
Newsweek reached out to @brandylong490 for additional comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.