By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (CBS) – Kimberly Bois’ tiny front yard garden isn’t much to look at right now. But in a few weeks, it’ll be in full bloom, and every blossom will cost her dearly.

Even though she says her builder gave her permission to do a little planting, the current condo board now says she’s in violation.

They’re charging the Portsmouth, New Hampshire homeowner $50 a day for being so petal pushy. That fine has reached close to $6,000, plus the board’s legal fees.

“It’s just not a happy place to live anymore for me,” says Bois, who planted the small flower bed with the help of her mother, who has since passed away.

She says, “It just feels like we’ve been bullied and really all we wanted to do was have a conversation to figure out how this can benefit all of us.”

A new certified letter arrives every month, ordering Bois to uproot her garden and keeping track of her fines.

It got so bad, she contacted a Realtor friend of hers to talk about just selling the place that she has owned since 2008.

That’s when she got the real shock: the board put a lien on her townhouse for their fines.

Bois says the whole situation has, “gotten out of control.”

She even offered to pull up the flowers and pay part of the board’s legal fees a couple of weeks ago – an offer she says was refused.

The association’s bylaws don’t expressly forbid planting flowers on your property, Bois explains, nor do they explicitly allow it.

Board members have told Bois they just want all the units to look the same.

“Now we’ve gone down a rabbit hole that I just can’t seem to get out of and it’s very sad, and it’s upsetting,” she says.

WBZ reached out to the attorney who represents the condo association, but he did not respond our request for comment.

Comments (523)
  1. Always a liberal behind behind the control says:

    I’d ask Obama if ObabmCare allows for pedals on my grave!!!

  2. jstain says:

    I live in a neighborhood with an HOA. Presenlty on my block we have a home where the owner painted his entire driveway from house to curb.. Navy Blue. Thier mail box and it’s post are painted bright red. These homes are facing and on a gold course. One of the homes has a fence that’s more suited for a horse corall. There’s a home that emptied it’s garage contens and has it all stored in front on the driveway. There’s a car with it’s engine missing and parked wrong wheel to curb in the street.

    so according to many of you… that’s OK.. leave them alone, really?

  3. Lisel says:


    This is ultimately about AGENDA 21. If you do not know about this, please research it on the web. Agenda 21 is a UN agenda that goes straight to the local level, convincing mayors and planners to use their “neat little planning ideas” to create a “sustainable community”. It is a totalitarian, radical environmental agenda which is already being implemented willingly in thousands of local communities today. It seeks to completely eradicate individual (especially property) rights for the “good of the collective”. Find out if your local city is a member of ICLEI. These HOA’s are what is called a “soviet” (small s) of unelected officials who gain control through regulation. HOA’s were introduced in the US to acclimate citizens to being regulated. The ultimate plan of AGENDA 21 is MUCH, MUCH worse! Google anti-agenda 21 for some good sites dedicated to fighting it. There are some good youtube vids also. Everyone MUST know and fight A-21. It will be the death of our freedoms and country!

  4. Fish awhile says:

    It’s called arbitrary and capricious and is grounds for a counter suit.

  5. DawnJ says:

    Live free or die, eh? Seems to me that, if the bylaws don’t prohibit it, it’s not a violation.

  6. Mick says:

    If the lawsuits proceed, these Nazi Board members need to remember everyone knows where they live and who they are. This is pure abuse! Nuff Said!

    1. JP says:

      Mick where do you get off calling them Nazi? For what, gasp enforcing the rules get a grip.Oh great idea threaten them wow once a bully always a bully huh?

  7. stechatte says:

    New Hampshire: proof you don’t need high taxes to live under tyranny!

  8. dune dog says:

    Bottom line she does not own the land in which she planted the flowers – the article is misleading

  9. John Lindsay says:

    This is why I will never live anywhere there is a homeowners association. You subject yourself to the whims of authoritarians and intractable fools. They want the garden gone but when she agreed to remove it they still want money? They made the decision to spend their money on lawyers. Tough luck.

    This will end badly for everyone but the lawyers.

  10. TroyG says:

    When I read many of these comments, I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
    When you move into a community which has a HOA, you agree to their rules. More importantly, you agree to the rules which aren’t even rules yet!

    Sadly, you are a dupe, and really only get what you deserve.
    This isn’t the mean old HOA, this is stupid people who determine they will accept others telling them how to keep their property, and move right in. Then they complain about not being able to fly flags, plant flowers, and numerous other issues.

    The moral of the story is simple, if you move into a HOA managed/ruled community, you have given up many of your rights as a property owner.

    Frankly, it isn’t anyone’s fault but yours, just another example of those who would give up liberty for security deserve neither.

    1. Detective Mo says:

      More importantly, you agree to the rules which aren’t even rules yet!

      Therein lies the problem. They have a nasty habit of making new rules, and not making them actual by-laws, because that would require a homeowners’ meeting and, more importantly, a vote to amend the by-laws. They go about it so that they can avoid having these new rules/policies voted down.

  11. Tom says:

    You people who say this woman has lost her freedom or sympathize with her are idiots.
    The article clearly says CONDO board. This is not the same as a HOA, she bought a condominium. In owning a condominium she the unit she lives in and that is all. She owns the inside of the walls and ceiling and they own the outside of the walls and roof including the ground surrounding the building. She planted flowers in property that does not belong to her. She probably bought this property so she wouldn’t have to do yard work or shovel snow and now wants the perks of land ownership with out the work of land ownership. Sorry, that just doesn’t fly. If she wants to do some gardening she should do it in her own yard.. Oh, wait, she doesn’t own a yard!
    Get a clue people.

    1. TroyG says:

      Condo Board, HOA…same thing…both tell you what you can do on your property.
      Split hairs if you will, but a spade is a spade.

      1. Georgiasaraann says:

        Not her property TroyG. Your argument is wrong from the beginning. And yes, they can tell you what to do. Why? Because you signed up for them to do just that. And thank you so much TOM. The reason I am posting so much is to try to wake up folks to this kind of slanted news story. I have yet to have anyone refute my points. Other than the ususal name calling.

  12. Georgiasaraann says:

    What an irresponsible, incorrect slanted newstory. Look at the headline. “NH woman sued for planting flowers in her front yard” A lie from the very beginning. It was not her front yard. You all swallowed the lie. I can not believe you all want to kill the HOA, or post their pictures all over the internet. Plus burn the property, or destroy it in some way. You all have the nerve to call the HOA nazis, gestapo, scum, etc. You all are worse. You are like a mob ready to do violence to anyone who disagrees with you. I don’t care what your HOA has done. You signed up for it. Just like this woman. Your fault because you are no better at reading a contract. Let me make it simple. Bois does not own the land she planted on. She was notified by certified mail she was in violation. She did nothing. She got a lien put on her condo, legally by the HOA. Now someone, please, tell me why you have taken her side over the HOA? Do you not think the HOA has the right to their own property?

  13. Detective Mo says:

    The problem with these HOAs is that the things they try to fine you for aren’t in the by-laws. They make up the rules as they go along, imposing more and more restrictive “policies” rather than amending the by-laws as they should be doing. I used to live in one, and when the board found out my townhouse was on the market they tried to slap me with a $600 fee for re-landscaping the commons ground near my unit, claiming I had put in a hedgerow of willows — except that it was put in by the original builder, and had been there for 25 years. They dropped iit to $300 when I threatened to have the money held in excrow while the case got decided in court. In short, it was worth forking over $300 just to get the heck out of there, and not hold up the sale.

    The HOA was quite reasonable until a lawyer managed to get himself on the board, and figured that they could slap people with fees for whatever they wanted, knowing that they would charge the homeowner for their legal fees. And the lawyers they used would charge a couple of hundred bucks just to write a threatening letter. Given that, they had no reason to not pick up the phone and call they lawyer for every frivolous little thing, whether it was in the by-laws or not — like “too many potted plants on your patio” which can’t even be seen from the road. It got really abusive after about 20 years, so I sold the house and moved where there is no HOA. My realtor even told me that she couldn’t in all good conscience recommend that development to her clients looking to buy, and that other realtors were saying the same thing. At least I was able to sell it fairly quickly. The woman who bought it turned around and sold it 18 months later. Maybe she found out the hard way how oppressive the board had become. Worse than the board, though, was the woman running the management office like her own little fiefdom.

  14. Jon Lussier says:

    These comments have run a muck. How did we get from these flowers,
    to Mitt Romney, John Edwards and the President. GEEEEZ

  15. Detective Mo says:

    These commie community associations abuse the legal system to enfore rules that aren’t in the by-laws. They do it because they know they won’t even have to pay their own legal fees. Just because they can do something doesn’t mean they should. Maybe the board would think twice about it if they had to pay the legal fees for the lawyer they hired, rather than passing them off to the homeowner. The woman offered to comply with their demands to rip out the flowers, but nooooooo, it wasn’t good enough for the commie association.

  16. Rikits says:

    You live in a condo you need to go infront of the board to get permission to plant thats the rules. You want the freedom to plant what you want buy a house. Your at fault that your in a bind you didnt follow the Condo rules

  17. ANTI-CON says:

    Ahaa, folks sure do love their Condo’s but these Condo associations / boards, etc,.. seem more like there running an inquisition on owners who pay and pay and pay through the nose for the pleasure of Condo living,.. my advise is BUYER BEWARE !

  18. Frank says:

    So we are supposed to shed tears for this woman? We who have our homes and our own flowers – our children – destroyed by Americans like her every day?
    Whenever I see Americans suffering at the hands of other Americans, I draw a little more hope that there is indeed justice in this world, and look forward to the day when America will pull itself to pieces like a crab trapped by one leg, and the world will breathe more freely.
    This is karma – not your touchy-feely Hollywood version, but the inexorable laws of the universe. If you don’t like what justice delivers, do justice.

    1. mia says:

      Who exactly is she destroying? Your comment makes no sense.

  19. Skaperen says:

    You could publish the name, phone number, and email of the attorney. He’ll come to you, then.

  20. Danny Adams says:

    And this is why I don’t live in a neighborhood with an HOA. My front yard has flowers, a pine tree, and an apple tree.

  21. proctor says:

    perhaps asphalt is on the HOA landscaping policy. paint it green and paint pictures of flowers on the side of the building. Sell to low income inner city dwellers and laugh as you watch the whole area go to the dogs… It would be worth thousands to me to do that…. I would give a donation if you said you would do that!!!

  22. mia says:

    If it were me, I would counter sue. They can’t just make up a reson to fine. and the lien is unlawful. If the agreement does not forbid it, she can do it.

    1. Georgiasaraann says:

      Mia, you can not get a lien put on a property unless it is lawful. And please give the basis for the counter suit.

  23. Sara says:

    If they want all the units to look the same, maybe she could speak with her neighbors about also planting flowers in front of their units. There is power in numbers.

    1. Georgiasaraann says:

      So you want all the condo owners to have to do yardwork so this woman can plant on property that does not belong to her in the first place? Go look at any well done landscaping. It will be uniform and maintained. Not a series of chopped up yards.

  24. jpox says:

    Do these people really have nothing better to focus on than picking on a homeowner for trying to make her home more beautiful? More beautiful for everyone who lives there? Really? What idiocy!!

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  26. Come Clean Now says:

    You dishonor your followers NOT to reveal the name and address of this hellish complex and it’s administrators. Serve us in good conscience by sharing this information so that we may all be truly informed and warned!

  27. Ahn says:

    “The association’s bylaws don’t expressly forbid planting flowers on your property, Bois explains, nor do they explicitly allow it.

    Board members have told Bois they just want all the units to look the same.”

    Sounds like it’s time to start digging up ALL the yards to plant flowers. That would a) make them all look the same and b) be an improvement to the neighborhood in general.

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