Homeowner Associations – A Dream or a Nightmare

By J.Lee


Homeowner’s associations (HOA’s) are the worst form of government ever created. They can be a nightmare for homeowners, but they are a dream for a control freak Board of Directors (BOD’s). What better way for a nosy person to get the scoop on their neighbors privacy? It gives them power to reward those they like and power to harass those whom they don’t.  They can make it so unbearable that it can become a fight or flight dilemma.

Some are ridiculously restrictive; they tell you what colors you must paint your house, where you can park your car, and what ornamental decorations you can put on your own property, including the American flag. Others are less restrictive, but are not uniform in their rules, granting favors to friends and board members.

Complaints to HOA’s about favors granted will go unnoticed for months or even years. On the other hand, requests to make improvements to your own property will be denied for reasons unknown; perhaps because someone on the board is your neighbor and simply doesn’t like you.

Abuses are rampant in HOA’s, because Board of Directors are often held unaccountable. They have the HOA attorney to hide behind or they are exempt from personal liability.

If an owner chooses to fight a corrupt association about an unresolved issue, they have to hire and pay for their own attorney. Those with limited funds often have no recourse. If they can afford litigation, there is no guarantee that they will recover their attorney fee as part of a settlement. Don’t forget HOA fees/dues pay for the BOD’s attorney costs.

BOD’s are very good at selective harassment and selective enforcement. Many BOD’s consider HOA fees/dues as their personal bank account. They use funds for self-serving purposes and enhancements for themselves or friends within the community.

All too often HOA’s are a cash cow for lawyers and property management companies.

Service providers who are sometimes affiliated with a property management company covet contracts with HOA’s.

It’s disappointing, because HOA’s should be a solution for those who want to downsize or no longer can or want to do their own maintenance or gardening.

Read the rules and regulations one by one, for any neighborhood you are considering moving to, and also, speak with people who live there. They are your best source of information to determine if you should move to where an HOA is controlling your living space.

If at all possible before you buy attend an association meeting to hear owner input, complaints and how the BOD’s respond. Perhaps the best decision of all is to relocate where there is no HOA at all, and no ridiculous restrictions on your lifestyle.





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