Burglary victims facing lawsuit for adding bars to their doors

KENT, Wash. -- A Kent family added bars to their doors and windows after being burglarized, and they're now facing an unexpected backlash from the community.

After their home was burglarized, the Singh family couldn't stand the idea of being victimized again, so they took steps to keep the crooks out. Now, their homeowners association is slapping them with fines and a potential lawsuit.

The family walked into a nightmare last March. Their backdoor was shattered and their home was ransacked. Thieves went room to room, digging up cash, jewelry, electronic and more.

"I hear my daughter screaming. She tells me, 'Mommy, seems like our house got broken into,'" said Mrs. Singh, who didn't want her first name used.

She said the family hasn't felt safe since the burglary, so they decided to add bars to the doors and windows in hopes of regaining a sense of security. Before they could do that, they needed to speak to the homeowners association.

"I did speak with one of the board members, verbally. He said it was okay for us to put the bars up. He told us, inside, you are okay to put the bars up," Singh said.

The family had the bars installed and at the same time filed paperwork with the association. Their request was denied, and the family could now face a lawsuit and be forced to pay more than a $1,000 in legal fees and a $200 fine every month the bars stay up.

The property manager said they do allow bars on the backside of the house. Because there is now a security system in place, the property manager said bars in the front of the house were "overkill."

The Singh family says there's no such thing when it comes to protecting themselves and their home.

"As a homeowner, as a parent, I feel like I have my full rights to do what is best for my kids and my family. So I'm not taking those bars out," Mrs. Singh said.

The homeowners association has no specific rules saying bars aren't allowed on windows and doors, but the paperwork sent to the Singh family says the bars look "unsightly" and "detrimental to the neighborhood."