My wife and I have lived in a half dozen different neighborhoods over the years. Some with Home Owners’ Associations and some without. And the debates over HOAs have gotten really heated. The worst one was in Salt Lake City where the neighborhood was mostly people with horses. Someone came to our door and asked if we’d agree to sign up for a home owners’ association. It seemed like a good way to protect our property value and give you a path to a solution if things ever went wrong.
We’ve known some people who’ve had BAD experiences with out-of-control HOAs with rules that were ridiculous. So, I can understand the negative side too. At one point, we were putting our house up for sale (in a neighborhood with no HOA) and the very first property you see at the entrance to the neighborhood had been overrun by weeds for years and was absolutely falling apart. Shingles, shutters, fence and more falling down.. No grass or any kind of landscaping to be seen. Just tall, dry weeds and a house that you’d swear was abandoned. Total eye sore. That has to enhance your property value, huh?
In Salt Lake City, the HOA effort failed and the few people who LOUDLY opposed it moved away. Then there was a house that had been for sale for months that suddenly …sold. The new residents were what they called a halfway house for “troubled youth”. They made threats to some of the neighbors that would make hardened criminals cringe.
One of my coworkers here got a nasty-gram from his HOA that his lawn had too many weeds. I’ve read stories of HOAs objecting to the size of Christmas light bulbs you put out when decorating for the holidays. Authority in the wrong hands can go to someone’s head. “Your doorknobs don’t meet the code of the HOA”. I read about a vegan family that ran the HOA and tried to keep neighbors from barbecuing.
At one point, we lived next to a guy who raced dragsters. He fired it up and I was in his driveway within a couple of minutes. He was sure I was there to complain. I told him I was a total gear-head and that racing engines are my favorite musical instrument. All good pal. Tell me about that engine!
Without an HOA, we were told someone could have sold one of the big lots our neighbors occupied to a feedlot where cows are stored waiting to be taken off to the butcher. Gee, what’s that smell? I’ve been asking a few people about HOAs because we have our first meeting coming up soon in our new neighborhood. What I’ve found is that it’s not the HOAs that are good or bad. It’s the people and how they handle them. The fun really starts when rednecks and yuppies are neighbors.