The move into ‘private governments’
But I like my HOA
Most people who move into private Homeowners Associations do so because they like the apparent order, the neatness, the seeming peacefulness of the community. It’s only later that they learn how arbitrarily enforced rules and regulations can control almost every aspect of their lives. Not all Homeowners Associations are petty and dictatorial, but absolutely ANY neighborhood can take such a turn with just one local election. Voter apathy is a sad fact of American life. National elections generally attract 40% of the vote in off-year elections and 55% in Presidential elections. State elections see even less involvement by voters. By the time municipal and school levy elections roll around, voter fatigue reaches its zenith with some major funding and electoral decisions made by a tiny handful of voters.
One of the main purposes of a homeowners association is to maintain the common areas in a neighborhood like the parks and roads. The homeowners in turn are obliged to pay their dues to sustain these amenities. Often, these can be from $100 to $10,000 per year, based on the kind of neighborhood and their amenities. Moreover, not only do the residents have to pay their HOA dues, but they also are required to follow the rule book of the association.
Government? Or not government?
Get to know your neighbors
That used to be such wise advice handed out by law enforcement organizations. But times have changed, times have changed. These days it’s far more important to your safety and your financial health to get to know your neighborhood rules. (I continue to collect examples of such rules, so please feel free to contact me with new ones!)
Some New York co-ops don’t want just any itinerant artist in the building, only art projects officially approved by the board.
In some HOAs….no high heels. (understandable)