Escaping the HOA Hole

Suburban America is sinking into the Homeowner’s Association (HOA) Hole. About 24% of the nation’s population (about 63 million people) now live under the rigid strictures of HOAs.  According to some fairly recent statistics from PropertyManagement.com, there are:

  • 40 Million households living in HOAs
  • 351,000+ HOAs in the United States
  • 8,000 new HOAs formed every year in the U.S.
  • 24%+ of U.S. population is living in HOAs

HOAs usually have lengthy sets of rules and bylaws that are subject to the interpretation of either elected or un-elected HOA boards. These rules are generally called Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs).

Some people tout HOAs as “necessary to preserve the resale value of a house investment.” But I would argue that a HOA is the worst form of tyranny, because:

1.) It is almost always self-imposed. If you buy a piece of property inside of a HOA, you know it before you buy, and you become a party to that underlying contract.

2.) There is essentially no legal recourse for extracting yourself from the chains of a HOA, other than A.) Getting a majority of your fellow land owners to vote to abolish the HOA (very unlikely) or B.) You sell and your property, and move out.

3.) Inflation of HOA annual fees is often unlimited, and in many instances they have been increasing at greater than the rate of currency inflation.

4.) They represent another layer of “government” that is largely run by unaccountable private citizen busybodies with a general attitude and outlook on life that ranges between Nazi and Soviet.

5.) You often forfeit some of your due process rights.

6.)  Failure to perfectly abide by the HOA CC&Rs (which often can change) leave you open to legal attachment.

7.) A HOA’s set of rules is essentially “a moving target”. In many states, and HOA can change its rules post facto, however they please, as long as any rules do not contradict extant city, state, or federal law.

8.) If you sue your HOA, then you will indirectly pay for their legal costs, and your HOA fees will then rise, in subsequent years.

HOAs are Incompatible with Preparedness

My biggest objection to HOAs is that HOA restrictions are incompatible with family preparedness. More often than not, you will find that HOA rules will not allow you to:

  • Own more than a token number of livestock.
  • Keep pets of certain types or breeds, or beyond a certain number.
  • Erect a ham radio antenna tower.
  • Do large scale gardening.
  • Operate a home-based business.
  • Keep bee hives.
  • Keep older, easy-to-maintain vehicles.
  • Smoke or grow tobacco on your own property.
  • Have guests park their cars on the street.
  • Have any guests who travel in RVs.
  • Limit additions to houses or the construction of second residences. Thus HOAs are incompatible with large families or families that choose to care for their elderly parents.
  • Have tractors, RVs, and utility vehicles visible from the street.
  • Build fences tall enough to protect your garden from deer.
  • Store large quantities of firewood and other supplies because they restrict the number, size, and type of outbuildings. In some instances, firewood must be kept in a way that it is not “visible from the street”. (The horror!)
  • Construct a flag pole, or make your choice of flags to fly.
  • Post political campaign signs — often beyond a certain size, number, or date.
  • Have more than a set number or people attend a home Bible study or home church.

Even in HOA subdivisions with 10+ acre “ranchette” parcels, shooting guns and even practicing archery can be banned. So HOAs are also usually incompatible with the 2nd Amendment.

In 2016, The Miami Herald published a fairly comprehensive article titled HOAs from hell: Homes associations that once protected residents now torment them. Here is a quote from that recommended article:

“In northern California, one couple learned the hard way how far homes associations can go to collect late dues. The couple failed to pay the $120 they owed but said they had been sick and distracted and never knew about the problem until the association foreclosed on their $300,000 home and they received a notice saying they had three days to move out. The HOA had sold the home at an auction for just $70,000.

In Closing, My Advice

My advice is to avoid buying property that is inside of city limits, and/or inside of a HOA. Don’t fall into the HOA hole. Why bind yourself with CC&Rs when you don’t have to? Staying out of HOAs could prove to be crucial to your family’s autonomy and self-sufficiency.  As I mentioned before, HOAs are the worst form of tyranny, because you voluntarily make yourself a subject to their rules. So avoid them entirely! – JWR




80 Comments

  1. I bet this article gets lots of comments! HOAs—sometimes a blessing because there are some really bad neighbors out there; but mostly a curse. Get smart folks; always ask for a copy of the HOA rules before you even make an offer on the property and read it thoroughly. If there is a possibility of a questionable rule; move on to another property. Even if you are building a custom home on 10+ acres, make sure the developers/ builders have already developed the HOA covenants before you buy the lot.

    The only way to overcome a terrible HOA is to stack the board with with like minded people but even then it is a battle to change the rules, especially if you live within city limits. Sometimes even entire states (like California) have restricting covenants which apply to cities and county building codes. Do your research before you put an offer on the table!

    1. Which is not always possible. After a terrible experience at the local Town Board, a friend decided to form a group and run against them. Everyone she spoke to turned out to be worse than the Board members! By the end of the whole thing, I would ultimately have voted for the existing Board.

      Surveys show that the proportion of narcissistic and other personality disorders, depression, and anxiety are going up with each younger generation. Sad to read about, worse to experience in real life.

      However, around here, the local Planning Boards are becoming a giant, inescapable HOA. I read out local building department rules. Not as bad as many HOA rules, but not too far off, either.

    2. HOAs are scammers if they can take what you have they will they are scammers, they are full of greed they have to much power over your property when you are the one who is paying your mortgage they try to tell you what you can have on your property something is acceptable but some of these things is outrageous. They try to put HOA fees so high where you can not afford to pay and that’s how you end up losing your property. They are price gougers. They should not have this type of power over your property. The people should vote that out.

  2. Indeed. We don’t have a lot of HOA’s here but I avoid them like the plague. Doing my house hunt, if a property falls within one I move on. Having lived in a condo before, and dealt with that level of both tyranny and incompetence, there’s no way I’d subject myself to a HOA on my own property!

  3. One HOA in our youth cured us. Perfect example of the “cure” is worse than the “cold” ~ all the allure of an HOA crucible is the gold. And when the gold is put into the furnace the dross appears on the surface thinking they are above the gold. Only there for a moment before being scraped of and discarded.

  4. An Irony Curtain has descended across America’s neighborhoods. 70 million Americans are subject to the wretched political aims of communist regimes enforced by ruthlessly efficient capitalist means. Living in an H.O.A. means “вы выезжаете из Американского сектора” (leaving the American zone).

  5. Like anything else, you have good and bad HOAs. Since this is the USA you have the option to chose not to live in one. I personally like HOAs but I always read the Covenants before I buy and have never had a problem but have had the HOA stop violations that broke those covenants. When you live in a community with 80′ by 100′ lots neighbors can be a nightmare. I personally would like to live on a huge piece of property and not have to deal with neighbours but that is not possible. Much of what is in the article is true of preppers but then why would they buy in an HOA community if they want to do those sorts of things on an 80′ by 100′ lot?

    1. > “Since this is the USA you have the option to chose not to live in one.”

      Sort of like how workers have the option to choose whether or not to join a labor union as a condition of employment?

      Passing “right to work” laws – government regulation which would ban such contractual agreements – has been a high priority goal for conservatives and libertarians for decades. For example:

      (1) No person shall be required, as a condition of employment or continuation of employment:

      (A) to resign or refrain from voluntary membership in, voluntary affiliation with, or voluntary financial support of a labor organization;

      (B) to become or remain a member of a labor organization;

      (C) to pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of any kind or amount to a labor organization;

      (D) to pay to any charity or other third party, in lieu of such payments, any amount equivalent to or a pro-rata portion of dues, fees, assessments, or other charges regularly required of members of a labor organization; or

      (E) to be recommended, approved, referred, or cleared by or through a labor organization.

      (2) Any agreement, understanding, or practice, written or oral, implied or expressed, that violates the rights of employees as guaranteed by provisions of this chapter is hereby declared to be unlawful, null and void, and of no legal effect.

      As Ron Paul said, “Making workers pay dues to be represented by an organization they disagree with is hardly fair or just”.

      If the Republican Party were smart and principled * enough to replace “worker” with “homeowner” and “employment” with “home ownership” and “labor union” with “H.O.A. corporation”, they would be tapping into an incredibly large constituency – 70 million Americans living in H.O.A-burdened communities – that our political leaders have been ignoring for decades.

      * pause here for the laughter to die down

      1. Americans DO have the choice to NOT work at union establishments. It’s called exercising Liberty.

        As for HOAs, Americans have the same Liberty to chose to live under them or not.

        I agree with the author’s points. Actually the statistics would be higher if they included those living under covenants. Even in the mountains of Montana many large properties are under covenants.

        1. Choosing where I live is exercising liberty. When that Liberty is restricted to the point that I have no choice but to live in a Nazi concentration camp with nice furnishings, that’s not liberty. When you buy a house, you’re not buying into the neighborhood, you’re buying a house. HOA’s need to be declared illegal schemes that deprive people of their liberties, and thus criminal with death as an option for punishment for those who insist on creating one. The people before us fought Nazi’s and Communists, only to adopt their policies? I don’t think so. Use physical violence if you must, it’s the ONLY way things change. Too many people have committed suicide because of HOA’s. If I like a home, my money’s good enough, I don’t need any other contracts or third party Communist Manifesto’s to agree with.

          1. Anonymous, comparing HOAs with Auschwitz is ridiculous. The Jews did not volunteer to get on the trains. No one is forced to enter into an HOA community with a gun to their head.

            “Many people have committed suicide because of HOAs”? Prove your point.

            Before you build YOUR gallows you better check your covenants.

  6. > “Even in HOA subdivisions with 10+ acre “ranchette” parcels,
    > shooting guns and even practicing archery can be banned.
    > So HOAs are also usually incompatible with the 2nd Amendment.”

    Not only can H.O.A. corporations ban shooting, but they can regulate gun ownership. While I am only aware of a few that have actually done this, it is only a matter of time before Bloomberg & Co. realize that spending money to persuade H.O.A. corporations that banning guns in their corporate-controlled communities is a good idea.

    And what is the response from our side going to be?

    Since H.O.A.s are private corporations, they are no more bound by the Second Amendment than your employer is. And a lot – if not most – of us work in places where bringing a gun to work is prohibited; even if it is left in our car in the parking lot. But instead of getting fired, violating H.O.A. rules – including rules against gun ownership – can lead to arbitrary fines, liens on your property for the fines, and foreclosure to collect the liens. *

    It is what one former H.O.A. attorney called “‘repressive libertarianism,’ where certain people who call themselves libertarians invariably side with property owners who want to limit other people’s liberties through the use of contract law. Property rights (usually held by somebody with a whole lot of economic clout) trump every other liberty. The libertarian defense of HOAs is the perfect example. The developer writes covenants and leaves. Everybody who lives there has to obey them forever, even if they lose due process of law and expressive liberties. As private corporations take over more functions of government, this position could lead to gradual elimination of constitutional liberties” (Evan McKenzie, author of ‘Privatopia’ (1994) and ‘Beyond Privatopia’ (2011)).

    1. You are so right, Anonymous.

      Everybody who lives there has to obey them forever, even if they lose due process of law and expressive liberties. As private corporations take over more functions of government, this position could lead to gradual elimination of constitutional liberties”

      Constant vigilance is called for. Each of us is responsible to PAY ATTENTION! Big business can be as rapacious as big government when people are allowed to hide behind rules and titles.

      Carry on

  7. I live in a condo association. Worse than hell!! By-laws are enforced, selectively. Property is not maintained. Sprinklers don’t work. Grass absent in many areas. Clubhouse and pool are neglected or poorly maintained. Constantly asking for assessments and increase in maintenance fees. No way to see where $ goes. Board and management company frustrate owners who ask questions until they wear them down by either ignoring them or threatening them. The only recourse is to hire an attorney. You are essentially suing yourself. What a racket!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Gather like-minded members and have a coup at the next election. My first experience with an HOA was a Board that had lost touch with the community. We showed up with about 15 times the number of members that usually showed up for an election and voted every board member out. Out of control, HOAs are usually controlled by very few people. Often what they are doing is often a stilted interpretation of the covenants.

      1. We just tried to vote the bums out. A LOT of the same dolts who complained constantly about the current board voted all the incumbents back in. I just hope I can move out before the roof caves in. Literally.

  8. Oh, I have plenty to say on this subject.

    Worst neighborhood idea invented. It’s just a money maker for lawyers and HOA management businesses. Nothing else. If an HOA actually protected a neighborhood, that would be one thing. But all ours does is collect our money, then use it to harass neighbors.

    In 15 years, we’ve probably received a half dozen threatening letters. Move your pop-up camper that no one can see from the street; get rid of your herb bed lining the drive-way, despite a bee catastrophe; get rid of your kid’s college cars in the driveway, none of your business; no, you may not use metal poles in your new fence, even though we used them in the subdivision communal fence and so you can replace rotten wood sooner; your hailed roof must conform to this style; you must use approved colors to repaint your house, even though the builder and paint companies laughed at this one because paint colors are retired all the time; hide your trash cans, despite others being noticed all over the place; remove your mini white lights, Christmas is over, despite the very most expensive houses in our huge metropolitan city being replete with lights hanging year round. Sameness is most desirable in the HOA mind.

    NEVER buy in an HOA. They are akin to Nazis. Don’t fall in love with a house in an HOA, keep looking. It’s just not worth the hassle.

    There are plenty of non-HOA neighborhoods, in older areas as I’ve noticed. All our children live in lovely older neighborhoods with houses more expensive than our $400,000 house. And that’s Texas prices, not inflated, unrealistic California prices. You get a lot of house for that kind of money.

    Their subdivisions are visually more interesting with each home built individually. No ticky-tac, cookie cutter houses, where you can find your exact house replicated two houses down the street. Each one is unique with original elevations.

    Here’s my good news: Our place in the country is free of HOA’s, codes, and permits. It’s glorious. The only thing they care about is the new electric pole and new septic. Our kindly neighbor removed the fire hazard jumble of electric wires cobbled together over many decades and we ceased use of the scary cesspools. Life is good.

    Be ready, be informed, be happy.

  9. > “Some people tout HOAs as necessary to preserve the resale value of a house investment.”

    Ben Franklin said something about giving up liberty in exchange for the false promises of protecting property values.

    If H.O.A. corporations protected property values, it would have been obvious during the previous decade. Yet I don’t see the $90-billion-per-year H.O.A. industry producing any studies showing how the price of H.O.A.-burdened housing was insulated from the housing market collapse and Great Recession.

    There is very little – if any – empirical evidence to support what has been one of the biggest frauds perpetrated onto American property owners over the past 50 years.

    Earlier this year, a retired research scientist from Yale concluded that

    “The data show that HOAs are not protecting home price appreciation and they may be reducing it.”

    Leon S. Robertson
    “Are HOAs worth it?: A look at the numbers show they might not help home values”
    Green Valley News, 06/12/2019
    https://www.gvnews.com/article_990de320-8cb5-11e9-aed2-e381c4c65364.html

    Leon S. Robertson
    “Correlation of Homeowners Associations and Inferior Property Value Appreciation”
    Critical Housing Analysis, Vol. 6 No. 1, 02/17/2019
    http://www.housing-critical.com/home-page-1/correlation-of-homeowners-associations-and-infe

  10. I’m not sure why any “prepper” that wants a large garden parcel, livestock, campers, and a shooting range would buy a house in any neighborhood at all. We live in a neighborhood with an HOA that is otherwise considered a rural area. Because we choose to live within a reasonable distance to our jobs, we felt it was a good option and did in fact look over the covenants carefully before purchasing. In comparison, our previous neighborhood was closer to the city and had no restrictions. The result was a lot of junk in some people’s yards, cars on the street making it difficult to get through, houses on top of each other and just generally not nearly as nice. Our fees here were voluntary until just a couple of years ago and so many people didn’t pay them that just a few of us were maintaining the upkeep of our lakes and ponds which is required to prevent them being taken over by the county and then made public. These lakes are also stocked. It is a bird sanctuary also, so any shooting is restricted. Even if it weren’t, I’m not so irresponsible as to fire a weapon in close proximity to a residential area even though we have 3 acres. Other than reviewing building plans, our HOA is not very restrictive. Though with a small percentage of neighbors, I wish they were more so. It’s a quite area in general with things you see in the country such as horses, some cows, kids on 4 wheelers, etc. I’ve basically added everything to the property that I desire, from pool to storage buildings and fencing. I could plant a large garden, grow fruit trees and have livestock. Having said all that, I completely understand the apprehension to HOA’s. A few years ago we were renewing covenants and some language was proposed giving the HOA the right to come on your property looking for infractions. I quickly pointed out that anyone coming on my property without permission would cause me to violate the shooting of firearms section. That language was removed, the president was ousted and they’ve been mostly quite since. ; )

  11. > “I would argue that a HOA is the worst form of tyranny, because”

    You forgot to add

    (9) As a corporation an H.O.A. is a defective product.

    The purpose of a corporation is to protect owners, and their assets, from the debts and liabilities of the corporation.

    For example, let’s say you owned shares in Enron when it collapsed. The creditors of Enron could not go after your house, your car, your bank account, etc. to collect the debt that Enron the corporation owed to them. The only thing you would have lost was the value of your shares.

    Yet an H.O.A. corporation does the exact opposite – making the individual assets of the homeowners forever collateral to any debts and liabilities incurred by the H.O.A. corporation.

    That liability is not explicitly stated anywhere in H.O.A. governing documents. But it exists. And it makes it very possible for you to lose your property through no fault of your own. It does happen to people.

    see “Why There’s No Protection For Members When Community Associations ‘Go Broke'” (01/27/2010) by H.O.A. attorney Tyler Berding at http://bankruptcywontwork.blogspot.com/

    … owners are essentially liable for the association’s debts. “What?” you say. Community associations are corporations, and aren’t shareholders protected from corporate obligations? Isn’t that the whole point of a corporation?

    Yes, most community associations are corporations ― non profit mutual benefit corporations. But there is a major difference between a community association and the typical business corporation. With a typical corporation the investors’ (shareholders’) liability is limited to the amount of their individual investment. Community associations usually have something more ― lien rights to an individual owner’s separate interest, either a lot or a unit, and the personal obligation of an individual owner for his or her share of assessments. So if an association assesses the members and someone doesn’t pay, the association has the authority to place a lien upon the individual’s property and enforce that lien for payment through the process of foreclosure and/or to sue the owner personally to collect the funds owed. …

    That authority, extended to the association by way of CC&Rs recorded against each individual’s lot or unit has the effect of “passing through” the association’s obligations to the owners … individual lot and unit owners are not insulated from the debts of the corporation.

    A corporate bankruptcy filing essentially tells the world that the assets of the company are insufficient to meet its obligations to creditors. But, where the value of all of the real estate interests within the community can be accessed through the lien process to pay assessments, where assessments are backed by the personal assets of all owners, and where the association has a statutory obligation to assess, the property and personal assets of the owners essentially become the “assets of the company.” Collectively, these are likely to be more than adequate to pay any creditors. …

    1. >> “I would argue that a HOA is the worst form of tyranny, because”
      >
      > You forgot to add
      >
      > (9) As a corporation an H.O.A. is a defective product.

      and

      (10) Inequity of Legal Remedies

      a) For the sake of argument, let us stipulate that H.O.A. governing documents are contracts, since they are enforced as contracts. Whether or not they actually are contracts is a whole other discussion.

      b) The H.O.A. corporation can simply unilaterally declare that a homeowner is in breach of contract, assess a fine, file a lien on a homeowner’s property to secure the fine, and foreclose on the homeowner to collect the lien.

      “And in 33 states, an HOA does not need to go before a judge to collect on the liens. It’s called nonjudicial foreclosure, and in practice it means a house can be sold on the courthouse steps with no judge or arbitrator involved. In Texas the process period is a mere 27 days — the shortest of any state.” … “With the recession, foreclosure filings for delinquent HOA assessments in Texas have increased from about 1 percent of all home foreclosures to more than 10 percent currently” (NPR’s All Things Considered, 06/29/2010 at https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128078864 ).

      c) On the other hand, if the H.O.A. corporation violates its own governing documents (i.e., breach of contract) or even violates the law, a homeowner has little – if any – recourse.

      The homeowner cannot assess a fine agains the H.O.A. corporation to ensure compliance. Instead, the homeowner faces the burden – financial, emotional, time, opportunity costs, etc. – of filing a lawsuit against the H.O.A. corporation in an open court of law.

      While the homeowner will be responsible for his own legal costs, often up-front, the H.O.A. corporation will receive legal representation paid for by the homeowners.

      And if the homeowner is the prevailing party in court, what will he receive for his troubles?

      d) Also, in any legal action, the Directors and Officers of the H.O.A. corporation, H.O.A. managers, and H.O.A. attorneys are often indemnified by contract, provided with D&O insurance paid for by the homeowners, and protected by the corporate veil (i.e., not held personally accountable for actions of the corporation, since the corporation is a separate legal entity).

      The homeowner, on the other hand, has no such protections, and is completely exposed – legally, financially, etc.

      e) H.O.A. regimes in their current form result in an extremely gross and unconscionable imbalance of power between homeowners and H.O.A. corporations; and incredibly perverse and moral hazards for H.O.A. corporations to behave in the most sociopathic and anti-social behaviors.

      It is sad that there are a bunch of closet communists among us who like to exercise control and collective ownership over the private property of others.

  12. My brother had issues with his HOA in a condo. Nominally the dues were used to cover a blanket fire insurance policy and maintain the clubhouse/ pool/ grounds. The trouble came when developers paid off the HOA execs to try to harass people to leave so they could scoop up units to either rent them or demolish the whole thing and build much more dense apartments. The HOA was required to have meetings, but they would hold them on say, 2 pm on a Tuesday, until even the homeowners who could take off work exhausted their PTO.

  13. We’ve got to “toss in” with Bob here! He’s right… There are good HOAs, and there are not-so-good HOAs. Some are very good. Others are wretched. The same is true for professional property managers. Although there are many factors, one of these is the level of homeowner involvement (where “involvement” means a lot more than filing continuous — sometimes unrelenting — complaints). Many people live in HOA governed communities, but they don’t participate in HOA leadership. Meaningful participation by homeowners goes a long way toward curing many of the usual HOA ills. Communication is another area in which which there is generally room for improvement by all parties. This is not to discount or disregard the truly awful experiences some homeowners endure in their HOAs (some situations are just terrible), but hopefully it adds some perspective to the conversation. If the people who served in HOA leadership or property management were to post their own harrowing experiences here, there would be stories to tell. It’s also fair enough to say simply that a community with an HOA is not for everyone!

  14. It would seem to me that if you are buying a home “Private Property” in an area governed by a HOA you are signing a document, CCandR’s under duress and it should have absolutely no standing under the law. They should be sued for racketeering under the Rico Act by the federal government. This whole thing is a massive shakedown scheme. Uncle Guido would be so proud that so many Americans have been reduced to serfs.

    1. No one is forcing anyone to buy in an HOA community, thus also is no one forcing anyone to agree to the CCR’s. But if you voluntarily elect to purchase in the HOA community, then you also must sign off to agreeing to live by those CCR’s. There’s no one holding a gun to your head, the choice is yours!

      1. Consent is necessary but not sufficient. Any contract signed under malice or duress would certainly be void. Now I have yet to see a case of an individual being forced to sign an HOA contract under duress, that is, while being held physically captive, but Joe has a valid point: why should a contract that is inherently one-sided, exploitative, and/or oppressive stand? It certainly isn’t “loving your neighbor” to offer such a contract in the first place.

  15. A bit of advice when homestead hunting – ask questions. Your realtor may not know, or if they do know won’t divulge the fact that the property is in an HOA. I’m not certain which it was in our case, but we didn’t find out about this HOA until the closing, and then as an aftertought with the rest of the paperwork. By then we’d sold our home and our possessions were in a moving van.

    If we had known in advance, we wouldn’t have made an offer.

    We got lucky, of the 18 homeowners in our HOA, only 5 have built out here, and they habitually ignore the covenants. But like I said, just luck.

    1. Another bit of advice – always, always check with the County Clerk & Recorder for any documents filed on the property. They keep the official records of encumbrances – liens, easements, CC&Rs, HOAs, etc. Developers and realtors may sometimes give you “old” or “draft” copies of such documents. Don’t learn that one the hard way!

    2. In our state the MLS listing states whether or not there is an HOA and what the fees are. One page of the four in the standard seller disclosure form covers HOAs, so you would not be surprised here.

      I would caution you to beware of restrictive conservation easements as well. We ran across one where you cannot fire a gun, build a deck, or cut down a tree. It was so tightly written that it is probably illegal to pick a flower growing on the property and put it in a vase.

  16. I’ve been president and sole board member of my HOA for a few years. When no one in the community had any interest in meeting, even annually, I abolished the quarterly meetings. Now it’s just me and the management company dealing with all the issues. Over half of the units are rentals. I do as much work as possible to keep the monthly dues low, but as the management company becomes less and less responsive to issues, I am tempted to sell out of this apathetic community and leave them at the mercy of a property manager. I told management to ease up on compliance inspections so we would all have happier lives. People see me working around the place and assume I’m the maintenance guy. They complain about their problems and the CC and Rs. When one homeowner complained about not being allowed to post a For Rent sign streetside, I gleefully informed him that his mother had been president and charter member of the HOA and had likely authored the rule. The look on his face was priceless.

      1. Agreed. I’m tempted to run for governor of my state for the sole purpose to remove all HOAs and have a budgeted amount of a $100 per annum for someone in the community to manage work with homeowners. No more HOAs under the law to wreak havoc

  17. I used to live next door to a guy that had 17 junked cars scattered throughout the front and backyard, a couch in his driveway, a crappy old school bus packed full of random stuff parked along the street and a hodgepodge of yard sale type items filling in the gaps between the cars. This was all on a normal residential sized lot in an unincorporated community in northeast Washington state. I get that HOA rules are restrictive but living next door to a junkyard with no recourse was super stressful. I would have happily submitted to some HOA rules to avoid the daily eyesore next door.

    1. > “I get that HOA rules are restrictive but living next door to a junkyard with no recourse was super stressful.”

      This is a false dilemma.

      If the neighbor was causing damage to your property, or property values, you were free to file a lawsuit against him in an open court of law for damages.

      If there were restrictive covenants, but no H.O.A. corporation – the two are not the same thing – you would have been free to file a lawsuit against him for breach of contract (violations of the covenants).

      The problem is that H.O.A. corporations have the power to unilaterally assess fines, file a lien for the fines, and foreclose to collect the fines. This gives them – and H.O.A. management companies and H.O.A. law firms – an incredibly perverse incentive and moral hazard to engage in expensive and destructive litigation against property owners for trivial amounts and reasons (a common example is being fined displaying an American flag).

      > “I would have happily submitted to some HOA rules to avoid the daily eyesore next door.”

      How sad that you would rather give up your freedom than assume responsibility for taking care of the eyesore yourself.

      1. There are no damages until he sells, and gets less than going market value for his home. Good luck in then suing and recouping your losses. It doesn’t happen. If an HOA was present to begin with, the guy wouldn’t have been allowed to have a junk yard, and he wouldn’t possibly sustain the losses to begin with.

    2. > “There are no damages until he sells, and gets less than going market value for his home. Good luck in then suing and recouping your losses.”

      Why would Rob not be able to sue for damages if his house sells for less than market value due to the neighbor’s actions?

      > “If an HOA was present to begin with, the guy wouldn’t have been allowed to have a junk yard”

      You are making the common mistake of conflating an H.O.A. – which is a corporation – with restrictive covenants – which are the rules.

      It is possible to have restrictive covenants without an H.O.A. corporation. And far far better for both he individual homeowners and the community as a whole.

      If there are restrictive covenants that prohibit Rob’s neighbor from having junked cars on his front lawn, then Rob could file a lawsuit for breach of contract at any time.

      1. “It is possible to have restrictive covenants without an H.O.A. corporation.”

        I didn’t know this. I thought that an HOA was the entity that promulgated CC and R’s. Thanks for pointing out this difference.

    3. @Rob, without an HOA you can still sue your neighbor and force them to clean up all that trash in their yard. The Church in front of my house did this to their neighbor who had turned their land into a scrap yard over decades.

    4. Another option was to contact your township and have them do a drive-by. My brother in law got 30days to hide/remove all but 3 non registered vehicles or the township was going to take care of it (I think fines per day until legal)

  18. As an HOA president for my second term (grudgingly) our neighborhood is in a Crux because of so much community land that has to be maintained. We’re over 15 years into the existence of our neighborhood, with very few big issues having come up in that time frame. Sure we have the few neighbors that try to make their view the ‘right view’, but HOA or not, they’re always going to be there. We do however have a couple owners (and we’re a very small association of only 59 homes) that willfully would make choices that could (could being the operative word) make it less than desirable to live here, but they already due in the fact they refuse to pay HOA dues to start with but enjoy maintained common property, and alike, and are always the first to complain. Alas though HOA or not, these yours of neighbors are always going to exist.

    The one main thing our board does is constantly read about nightmare HOAs in order to keep ourselves grounded. If we read something that we would not want to be subject to ourselves, like enforcing the right to foreclosure and the nightmares that some HOAs put their members through, we push that as far back into the ‘arsenal’ as possible and hope to never use it.

    It’s too easy to take the illusion of power and become hungry with the actual act of it.

    I feel as if we and our neighborhood are fortunate, though there are some that will disagree, that the board are people first and our ultimate goal is just to ensure the funds necessary to keep they neighborhood nice are enough. In our 15+ years, dues have gone up less than $100 and haven’t been raised for over 5 years, here’s hoping to another 5 raise free.

    1. The key to your statement is “59 homes” try living in an HOA with 100s even 1000s of homes. That is where the friendly HOA president stops and the marxist tactic of property rights to owners to be abolished starts.

    2. I’m on the Board of a 45 home community. And share your sentiments. We’re not a gestapo, but we do have the fiduciary duty to enforce all the CCR’s, like them or not, for all 45 homes. Everybody signed on to them. And when we don’t enforce them. We hear about, just like we do when we do enforce them. I always advise, vote to change the CCRs, if you don’t agree with them? And nobody ever raises a finger. But man they scream when they get a warning letter or are cited. We don’t want to cite, all we want is compliance of the CCRs, that everyone signed on to. And if they disagree with them, vote to change them. It makes the Board’s job that much easier.

      But in Arizona the state legislature has continously passed laws tying the hands of HOA’s from being able to perform even the most basic forms or compliance or citations. And HOA members now can defiantly disregard any citation, and flaunt it in the Board’s face. We’re then backed into a corner of making it a legal battle, and getting a lien against the property to attempt to have them come into compliance. Something we never want to do on the 1st place, but the state legislature is now forcing HOAs to do now, to maintain any type of “law and order” and compliance in a HOA for those select few who think the CCRs don’t apply to them, or they disagree with them.

      1. > “But in Arizona the state legislature has continously passed laws tying the hands of HOA’s from being able to perform even the most basic forms or compliance or citations.”

        Which laws are those? I am genuinely curious.

        Thanks.

  19. In older neighborhoods, some HOAs dissolve. But the covenants remain in the county records. You would do well to check to see what the covenants are before buying a property. All it would take is a truck delivering your cargo container rolling into the neighborhood to prompt a neighbor to start hand-wringing and shout, “DO SOMETHING!” I would be most unhappy to have the HOA resurrected on my account.

  20. The idea around the HOA is to keep the “odd” people from infringing on your right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I recently moved to a non-HOA new development, Two of my neighbors on the street choose to not control the weeds on the strip between the sidewalk and the street. Literally the weeds are dense and 3-4 ft high. Three of my neighbors have trailers parked in their driveway all year. They extend past the sidewalk and nearly to the street. On the next street over there are a few neighbors with cars in front that have not moved since I have lived here, I assume they are not capable of running. With the development only a few years old I can imagine how it will be in a few more years.

  21. In a moment of ignorance I bought a house in an HOA neighborhood. For 10 years there were no real issues directed at us. Some neighbors had problems. For example one person in the neighborhood was doing a landscaping job at her place. During that time she was injured at work (broken leg). So not only was she out of work as she has a physically demanding job, but her project stalled during recovery. The HOA response was to start fining her. What a bunch of jerks! If they spent half as much effort of helping neighbors as they do on the quarterly inspections this would be a much better place to live. Here is a crazy thought, maybe we could have found half a dozen folks from the neighborhood to spend a weekend and help her finish the job instead of fining someone who had become temporarily disabled.

    In 2011 or so when the market was way down, several new people got on the board and have been on a campaign of terror since. When their workers caused some damage to my property, my complaints were met with threatening letters. Later when I complained that their new landscaping lights are aimed straight at my windows, the response was to force me to remove bushes that gave some sorely needed shade and privacy. The fine print is that the HOA can operate behind closed doors, no accountability is required, they are fully shielded from legal fees or personal liability. We contacted an attorney who said we were right and could probably win on those two issues but that we would be in the hole the entire time on legal costs as well as any ongoing fines to prevent HOA foreclosure while fighting it. Plus there would be no way to prevent future harassment aside from trying to get on the board. Screw that. I have a job to support my family. I’m involved with my kids and volunteer a ton of time in youth serving organizations. I try to help my immediate neighbors when I can. I have no interest in trying to get on a board with petty, small people, just to prevent them from being vindictive jerks. In the mean time we are instead putting some of the time that would be consumed in a legal battle into trying to prepare for a move. Never ever again.

    Even if HOA rules don’t seem awful, they can change over time. Our neighborhood changed the rules after we got here and the architectural control cabal is free to implement whatever new rules they want whenever they want.

    The unfortunate reality is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find housing that is not encumbered in this way. The around 25% number in this article is disturbing. But even more so, virtually all of the new development where I live is in HOA controlled settings.

  22. Yes HOAs can be total.misery. We have a BOL in one on an island. Our HOA includes the airstrip with daily FEDEX mail service, mail shack, long fishing pier with dock, a half mile of saltwater frontage for clamming and oysters. Deer hunting in the forests like our 7 hectares, community picnic area, water system, road system, a bay full of Dungeness crabbing and shrimping opportunity with the occasional salmon seems good. Several very vocal and obnoxious full time families make things annoying, but the $600 per year HOA fees seem worthwhile.

  23. What was interesting in our situation was that being an unincorporated neighborhood the same guidelines that governed a property that had 20+ acres also applied to our small parcel. Plus, the junkyard was a rental property and multiple complaints from several neighbors to the landlord (who was a county detective by the way) resulted in no changes whatsoever.

  24. Never trust your Realtor! They will tell you anything to sell a home. We fell in love with a beautiful home that has an HOA, but no fence for our dogs. “Oh, just write to the HOA it won’t be a problem.” We find out from our Insurance Company that there had been Sinkhole Remediation work done. “Oh, I guess we should have told you all that.” With time growing nearer for us to be out of our other home and we find out that we can’t fence in the property, we have to start looking all over again. We lived 2 1/2 hours from where we wanted to move to and we didn’t want an HOA. Our Realtor spent less time working with us than it took me to write this and we still ended up with an HOA and no fenced in back yard. We wanted an HOA so we didn’t have to paint, replace the roof and take care of the yardwork. So, we are happy so far with our HOA even though we didn’t want one, but not our Realtor and her inability to know the information about a Development that she is selling a home in.

  25. HOAs are enacted for one purpose only.

    To remove private property!

    Horace MANN and HOAs go hand in hand – the dynamic duo in reducing us to serfs. I was at my almamater recently The Ohio State University and they had a running billboard with phrases circulating to the 25,000 students on any given Saturday night at High Street… things like “Don’t have babies save the earth!” or “Politics are there for your own personal gain.” but one phrase struck me odd… “Private Property caused crime!”

    Thank about that! These dunderheaded marxists believe if we had no private ownership of anything not even a pencil and SHARED everything fairly all crime would cease to exist. WHAT!!!!! What about crime stated because of a depraved heart and you can steal working time from your employer which is a crime. NOT PRIVATE PROPERTY causing crime, but evil intent in your heart!

    The Marxists are already speaking this stuff into existence. My niece stated that the theme in college now is rural land owners must live in the cities and be monitored by the authorities. That rural land is for the BLM to manage not the private citizen. Farms are to be managed by the STATE! Sounds like Nazism to me!

    We are selling our rental home. Tonight we contacted an agent. Oh don’t worry this was well in the works… for these reasons:

    1) the first week we were in the home they sent us a $100 fine for having tinting paper on our garage door windows…..

    2) they sent it to our other state’s address which was on file due to the loan documents being signed in that address- hey we didn’t own the home yet and didn’t put the purchased home address on the document – makes sense….

    3) then they kept this up for 10 months and racked up $1000 in fines and put a lien on the home to take it.

    4) My wife wanted a line of credit and from her application results she said “Hey did you know there’s a lien on our new home by XYZ HOA.” You can image what happened the next few days…

    5) It cost us $1000 to remove the lien after we paid the $1000 in fines. Oh, it also cost us $2500 un attorneys and court fees. $4500 to the HOA plus the $600 for the year in dues and we are set back $5100 our first year.

    6) we’ve received 370 sheets of paper from this HOA over an 8 year period. That’s about one sheet every 7 days for 8 years straight..

    7) We have received many thousands of dollars in fines since living there for 8 years.

    8) We had a burglary in which $28,000 of tools and preps/supplies were stolen from our garage. The police officer who filed the police report stated we needed to tint our garage windows so the assailants couldn’t look in as that was the sole reason they robbed the place. Gee, what a great decision by the HOA in step 1 above.

    9) They now want a hearing set for Dec. 19 this month but we live a 1000 miles away and can’t make it. What will happen if we miss this hearing? It’s a hearing for bubblegum wrappers on the front lawn, back in July. I bet they get the house…..

    We are now getting an attorney on such short notice… many more $1000s of dollars..

    The last attorney we had, we fired her. She kept moving the court date and would show up in court for 30 seconds to do so and charge us $400 for that visit. They are all in bed together and there’s no justice. That attorney we had to fight for the underdog (us) was sitting next to the HOA attorney and talking the entire time to him until they called my wife up in front of the judge to relinquish our attorney from the case and take it over ourselves. Our attorney was making deals with the HOA attorney on another homeowner’s case on how many times to push their case so she could make more money.

    You will not win. The judge, attorneys, HOA boards, and even law enforcement are all in this together.

    THEY WANT PRIVATE PROPERTY REMOVED SO THEY CAN CONTROL!!! CONTROL US!!!

    I want to thank JWR for removing a post of mine a week ago where I was IN THE HEAT OF PASSION ON THIS TOPIC and said somethings that were spoken off the cuff and not well worded. Thank you JWR for removing my post! God bless!

  26. I’ve bought three houses, intentionally avoiding even looking at homes in an HOA. I’ve been careful choosing neighborhoods and neighbors. Lately I’ve been looking for a bug out location. At least one or two places were passed over because I didn’t like the look of neighbors. I have no problems with sheds, wood piles, extra cars, grill on the front porch, earth moving equipment, etc. as I will have my share too. I’m avoiding the locations where the neighbors use their lots as dumps, where anything no longer functional or even being used is just left where it stopped. My boss is a conservative. He runs an HOA. He complains about neighbors who keep extra cars on the driveway or street, that leave bicycles in the front yard, leave a grill on the side of the driveway, even side of the house, who don’t cut their shrubs frequently enough. It’s bad.

  27. I live in a 200 unit condo association. After the real estate crash in 2009, most owners left. The HOA has allowed investors to buy up properties, then rent to Section 8 tenants (Section 8 will pay the high rent). Now the community is 90% occupied by renters and it has caused many problems. The investors nor the renters care about the community. What can be done? I own my unit as the mortgage was paid off.

    1. > The HOA has allowed investors to buy up properties
      > Now the community is 90% occupied by renters

      Are the properties owned by many individual investment owners, or a few investment groups?

      If the latter, sell and get out as soon as possible.

      What happens in situations like that is that the investment group – which has a super-majority voting bloc in the H.O.A. corporation – will vote to terminate the condo association corporation, forcing the remaining owners to sell in order to convert the units into apartments.

      The sale price is often at below-market value, and the owners who are divested of their property are left only with the obligation to pay the remainder of their mortgage.

      This happens, and it is perfectly legal.

      For a textbook example see

      – “Condos Sold Without Owners’ Permission For 1/3 Their Value” at consumerist.com/2012/06/28/condos-sold-without-owners-permission-for-13-their-value/

      – “These People Had Their Condos Stolen By Developers, And There’s Nothing They Can Do About It” at http://www.businessinsider.com/these-condo-owners-had-their-properties-stolen-by-local-developers-2012-6

      In 2006, Florida Governor Jeb Bush vetoed a bill that would make this process easier for the investment groups. As soon as Charlie Crist took office, the Republican legislature once again passed the bill and it was signed into law, with the predictable results that Governor Bush warned about.

      “… a group of investors who recently bought 80 percent of the condos in her development, Madison Oaks in Palm Harbor, Florida. The investors want to buy out the remaining owners and convert the complex into rental apartments, but they are offering far lower than the owners originally paid—and they may have the legal right to do it.”

      see “Florida Condo Owners Could Be Forced To Sell. Find Out Why” (06/10/2014) at https://www.cnbc.com/2014/06/10/florida-condo-owners-could-be-forced-to-sell-find-out-why.html

      There’s probably a reason condominiums were not legal for most of this country’s history, until the federal government began promoting them in 1960s. It’s as though our forefathers knew something about real estate law and property ownership that we have forgotten.

  28. Reading these comments had been enlightening. So many people defending HOA’s, and serving on the boards. Small, mini-tyrants, all of you, wishing to exert authority that you’ve no right to over free men and their property. Mel Gibson’s line from “The Patriot” comes screaming to mind. “Would you tell me sir, why I should trade 1 tyrant 3000 miles away for 3000 tyrants 1 mile away?”

  29. We have a weird situation in that we recently purchased a 40 acre parcel in northern WI as a potential future BOL. Turns out there’s an association for 9 parcels in the group. The association is supposed to take care of mowing the common driveway in the summer and snow removal in the winter so all members will have access to their parcels. I have been unable to get the association contact to respond to requests for both the annual bill ($150) and a description of the benefits. I am starting to suspect they are ignoring us since our parcel is the furthest from the road and they may not want to pay the local help keeping the drive open.

  30. My income is primarily based on a few HOA’s, I am the go-to Contractor that maintains the common areas of the neighborhoods. The playgrounds, parks, Fences, landscaping, wetlands, Irrigation Etc.

    Their money is good to be sure, But I find them a joke to deal with. Homeowner complaints about the pettiness of their rules always seem to find their way to me. Here are just a few,
    These were complaints in Just the last 12 months:

    Fined $100.00 a day for leaving the garbage can out on the street.
    Fined $100.00 a day for keeping your garbage can in front and not wheeled around back.
    Fined $50.00 a day for your garbage can being left on the sidewalk ( by the garbage company!)
    Fined $100.00 for Oil spots on your driveway, when you were told to clean them off.
    Charged $50.00 a day for parking on the street instead of in your driveway- (This one forgot to get permission to have a boat parked longer than the allotted 24 hrs)

    Charged $150.00 after having been told to remove a dead tree in the front yard. Its against the rules to have dead trees in your yard.
    A Lien placed against a property for inconsistencies in landscaping and a discolored lawn. The lien was lifted after the landscaping was brought up to specs, and the lawn was treated for a fungus
    Fined $3,000 to re-stain a wood fence, Homeowner was told repeatedly to redirect their sprinklers so as to avoid the ‘water stain arch’ on the common fence.
    Fined $5.000 for painting a house in a color and scheme not approved by ‘ The Board”

    Most of the people who chair these star chambers are self important and have a need for authority. But, I make a decent living off these freaks, so I don’t complain.

  31. Years ago residents always maintained upkeep on their property, HOA were unheard of, we stopped caring and became lazy. The idea of housing developers forming an HOA sounded perfect for the average white collar worker and our dues paid has placed millions of dollars back in the developers pocket. They didn’t form HOA for our benefit…..they wanted something $$$$$$$$$. They’re profiting big time from residents all across the U.S.. in our area they have been nicknamed “ The communists association”. It’s our fault folks! We allowed greedy corporations to control our life style.

    1. > in our area they have been nicknamed “The communists association”

      10 years ago I started using the term “communisty association”, a combination of ‘communist’ and ‘community association’.

      Given that H.O.A. corporations literally exercise collective ownership over the private property of individual homeowners, it seemed appropriate.

  32. I guess I am astounded that any reader or follower of this site, or any other devoted to preparedness/survivalism, would even consider purchasing a property in a HOA. I have never lived in one and have heard of all the restrictions that some people I know have mentioned and it sounds not desirable, to say the least. The fees, the covenants and rules are utterly ridiculous IMHO. So your neighbors may have some junk stuff and doesn’t cut his lawn with regularity. For that you are willing to surrender your property rights to what is usually a group of power hungry HOA board people? Sheesh.

  33. Anon:
    And this would be skin off your nose, how, exactly? Other than looking at them, how is your perception of aesthetics more important that another’s right to park whatever they want in their own driveway?

    IMHO, no one should be able to tell anyone else how or what they are “allowed ” to do on their own private property. We already have many, many times more laws, regulations, and “guidances” than we need. Our Founding Fathers would be already at civil war stage long since.

    1. In theory you are right. But where does their right to be a public nuisance end and when it begins to make my property resale value go down what is my recourse. The things I stated were irritants nothing more. They are irritants even if you believe the constitution gave you the right to be a jerk to all your neighbors. I cannot do anything about them and I have no intention of trying to. I assume their lack of caring would prevent any reasonable agreement between us anyway. My only purpose in pointing out their lack of nieghborlyness was to illustrate why some people do indeed seek out HOAs.

      1. Try talking to your neighbors. Be nice and excited about them. The communities should be run by 1 Corinthians. Go talk to your brother, if he doesn’t listen talk to him with many brothers (neighbors having the same issue), if he doesn’t listen excommunicate him. That means communities need to work on relationships with their neighbors. When I grew up we had block parties and everyone was there from the neighborhood and you could leverage that relationship standing to your favor and the community. In addition, when I grew up everyone stayed in their homes till death and there was no “resale value” as they were there for the long haul. In other words, we knew Mr. and Mrs. Pickard had that junk fence with that bull dog behind it. We didn’t care they were our neighbors and everyone in the neighborhood didn’t care as they were there to stay not “resell” for profit. Today everyone moves around and then needs to create that “resale value” which doesn’t boat well with Fly-by-Nights in the neighborhood to get rich.

  34. Sometimes the compromises that are often the cornerstone of a marriage lead to buying a house in an HOA neighborhood – don’t ask me how I know. Before we signed the contract on a lovely home on 2 acres in an “acreage community” I pointed out to my dear wife the section of the covenants dealing with annual fees (and the board’s ability to “adjust” them) and the power of the board to “impose” assessments “as needed”. I stated that we were, in effect, signing a blank check. My dear wife reminded me of how paranoid I am, and how I don’t trust anyone. Furthermore, “they CAN’T just MAKE us pay extra money” became the battle cry. It was a nice neighborhood, had room for a workshop – my wife was a suburban gal…I folded like a portable solar panel.

    Well…after six years of a fairly invisible board, now the dues have gone up 40% in the last 2 years (we have no major amenities – no pool, no clubhouse, no tennis courts – just a park with a small lake) and we are being assessed $2000 for repair to the roads (gated community) and we’re told “the State” is requiring a $1.5 million repair of the lake dam, so more to come. I am trying to bite my tongue – “I told you so” would only underscore my lack of manliness and wouldn’t solve the immediate challenge. So, I’m reassessing my retirement plan. Of course, trying to bail out with these problems looming would severely deflate the expected value of our property. We’re stuck.

    I’m not arguing that HOAs are bad or good (though I would prefer independence), just be aware of your liability under the covenants – it can be much more than annoyance about how you mow the grass! TWO LESSONS TO BE DERIVED: 1) Don’t believe the seller’s agent when they say, “Oh, there is a reserve fund for road repair. Don’t worry about that! (silly!)”. SEE IT IN WRITING! 2) Don’t know if this kind of thing exists, but if you can’t avoid living under an HOA, try to find some written limitation of dues escalation rates and maximum assessments per year. Anything is better than signing a blank check!!

    Wish me luck!

  35. I will NEVER again buy a home that is included in a HOA, and I will never buy a home with an easement offering access to neighboring properties. Thank goodness we were able to sell without losing money. Do thorough research on easements and CC&Rs before you buy. Even if no HOA exists you might be very surprised at what restrictions might be enacted against the use of your property and who has access to cross your land.

  36. > In 2016, The Miami Herald published a fairly comprehensive article titled HOAs from hell: Homes associations that once protected residents now torment them.

    Read the author’s follow-up story, “HOAs From Hell: More Horror Stories, More Fraud” (12/23/2016) at https://www.kansascity.com/news/special-reports/hoa/article122547749.html

    “In Georgia, a decorated Army veteran who lost a leg in Afghanistan is now ensnared in a battle on the home front — with his homeowners association. The HOA filed a lien on his house related to the placement of his trash cans.”

    And if that does not enrage you, keep reading

    “Meeker’s then 3-year-old daughter…choking on the cords of the style of blinds required by their homeowners association. The Meekers spent thousands on a losing battle with the HOA — even after the near tragedy, it wouldn’t back down on the requirement” … “the family unsuccessfully tried to fight the window blind requirement, spending $7,000 on legal fees, but last summer moved to a home that is not in an HOA”.

    I’m sure our resident closet communists – who advocate for control and collective ownership over the private property of others – will find a way to explain to us why this was necessary.

  37. I am NOT a fan of HOAs per se, but I have lived under a good one; one that fairly and consistently enforced the rules. I could make a claim that none of my rural land owning friends could make. ‘There is not one thing that my neighbors can do to adversely affect the enjoyment of my home.’ I remember urging my parents to retire in such a community. Not everyone’s needs are the same.

  38. You people complaining about neighbors having weeds, junk cars, etc.:

    1. Who was there first? If you knowingly, voluntarily move next to a property you find offensive, you should have NO right to complain about it.

    2. If you think your neighbor’s yard is an eyesore, put up a fence.

    3. The only way you are free is if your neighbors are also free. If you trample on your neighbors’ property rights, don’t be surprised if your rights are trampled next.

    This stuff is a slippery slope. It starts out with the large stuff, like junk cars, and soon it becomes illegal to grow vegetables in your yard.

    If you believe in freedom and property rights, then you should accept that your control over property ends at your property line.

    Oh, and, for those so concerned about property values: your house isn’t an ATM. If you hate your neighbor for having a messy yard, you should really hate the banksters for their role in creating the Great Recession.

  39. We are recent HOA refugees having left a town house in DC for a single family home due to the tyranny and self serving nature of the HOA. Now we are in a little new community and it has already started — another tyranny and yes we are planning to move promptly in the spring to a NON-HOA home that will be cheaper, in a rural area, less convenient, but ALL OURS. Advice to all — when you read your Declaration and By Laws, just accept the fact that aside from outright illegal acts, your HOA board will adopt any rule or regulation it wants to after you move in and if you utter so much as a peep, they will adopt something special just for you.

  40. The main problem as I see it is that HOAs can do almost anything they want regardless of the CCRs or By Laws. No accountability. No oversight. The only checks and balances are to run for the board but then you are outvoted by others. Or to not live there in the first place but increasingly it is hard to find nice houses in non-HOA areas because they are required by cities and counties so the homeowners can pay for the storm water ponds or open space etc… The boards always change the rules and they can take your house from you. Or they can mismanage the finances or get into law suits which end up as special assessments for you which lower your property values worse than any Winebego because who wants to live where the HOA costs you?

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