Free Speech in an HOA? Forget About It

A fundamental right most Americans think they have is Free Speech. It’s a bedrock of the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment is so ingrained in the minds of Americans that most would swear that their freedom of speech and religion cannot be compromised.

Welcome to the world of the HOA, where Free Speech and Freedom of Religion is trashed every day. There are high court decisions which are often quoted as giving the typical HOA the right to deny your First Amendment freedoms. Google “Twin Rivers decision” to find a significant State Supreme Court decision which essentially says you don’t have the right to inform your neighbors about your political beliefs.

Or Google “HOA Mezuzah” to find out what many HOAs think of Jews.

I could go a hundred directions with this. But the bottom line is that when you join an HOA, you are essentially sacrificing a number of your Constitutional rights in favor of “the collective.”

The HOA collective has the right to restrict your expression of religion, your political beliefs, your right to assembly, your right to due process, your right to bear arms. And that’s the nail point upon which many homeowners have crucified themselves, their families and their personal wealth.

Do you have the right to “be black and live in a white HOA?” Not necessarily, especially if there’s no federally backed mortgage involved in a home purchase.

Unbelievable? Google “HOA discrimination” to see a sample of cases where being black, disabled, gay, or a single mom have been targeted, stigmatized, sued and foreclosed upon.

There’ve been a few cases here and there where HOAs have been fined because of discriminatory practices. But those cases are rare. It’s much more common to see homeowners lose their homes when they happen to be black, gay, single, disabled or have young children.

Still don’t believe it? There’s a book coming out this summer which might open your eyes.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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