Letter Re: Solar Panel Restrictions are Another Reason to Hate HOAs

This television news segment was disturbing: Should HOAs restrict solar panel use? They cited “architectural standards.”

The family made the mistake of challenging the authority of the homeowner association (HOA) to pre-approve all changes (including tone of roof shingles, type of planted grasses, whether or not RVs can be parked on your property, et cetera) and impose their notion of right and good on you and your house, at your expense. HOAs should reduce the market value of a house by 40% at least, IMHO, for anyone contemplating surviving a grid-down, phones-down, plumbing-down situation.

Why would anyone subject their home to such meddling? Cheers, – Karl K.

JWR Replies: I’ve always advised my consulting clients to avoid buying land inside a HOA. The typical restrictions on livestock and gardens are ridiculous. Those alone is reason enough to avoid HOA-ruled developments. I started warning about HOAs and CC&Rs in the early days of SurvivalBlog, such as this piece from 2005: Zoning Laws, HOAs, and CC&Rs as Criteria for Choosing Your Retreat Locale. Parenthetically, I also included a cautionary description of HOA busybodies in my latest novel “Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse”. In that fictional description, the HOA committee had to be pushed out of control in order for large scale gardening to commence.

The bottom line: I honestly believe that it would take a full scale socioeconomic collapse for most HOA committees to even consider loosening their “visible from the street” appearance standards. So even in the midst of a 1930s-style depression, you’d be under their thumb.