Tragedy of the Commons: HOAs

Homeowner Associations, or HOAs, are a sneaky way that fascism crept into our daily lives. HOAs are ubiquitus in most residential neighborhoods, and unless you buy an older home or build from scratch, its hard to escape them, since around 80% of new homes are built into an HOA.

The original idea behind an HOA seems to be a way for cities to dump the responsibility for maintaining small residential parks. Rather than have the city maintain it, an HOA would collect fees and do the dirty work. Even better, HOAs could enforce codes on everything from mulch color to weeds in your lawn, which would keep home values up as well as property taxes. From the government’s perspective, its a win-win.

For homeowners, its a total loss. HOAs have taken on a mind of their own, going so far as to foreclose on people’s homes and sell them at auction. We’re not talking just one or two homes. In Colorado, one HOA had filed 2,400 foreclosure cases against homeowners. Many of these followed a similar pattern: a homeowner gets fined for some stupud nonsense like weeds, and if they don’t pay up, the HOA tacks on legal fees and late fees. Once you reach into the thousands of dollars, it becomes almost impossible for a homeowner to pay it, so the HOA files a foreclosure case and attempts to kick the homeowner out and sell their house at auction.

Kicking someone out of their house for weeds in the front lawn and selling the house at auction. Read that sentence out loud and ask yourself how any person could stoop that low.

HOAs try to rip out perfectly good trees, beat people up for free speech, and even punish someone for having the gall to put out a dog treat dispenser. By far the worst problem is that the HOA tries to regulate your life while you’re in your own home. It’s bad enough dealing with morons at work, but at home? HOAs were one of the main reasons I built a custom home not in a community (which you can read about here).

HOAs don’t often get national media attention, but your HOA probably controls your well being a lot more than most national politics do (except for Biden-flation). These monstrosities need to be dismantled and destroyed. Some people are doing just that through legal means, like the Colorado legislature that is limiting fees and foreclosure cases. Many people are pushing back. When one HOA tried to stop a thin-blue-line flag, multiple neighbors began flying the same flag. As Stu Scheller likes to say “We can’t all be wrong.”

If you’re in an HOA now, I recommend getting onto the board and dismantling it on the inside. That’s what one of my neighbors has done. He has approved and expedited nearly every neighbor request for their property, making sure people can do whatever they want to their property. If you can’t do that, you should bring up HOA reform with your state representative, so that instead of debating what person to name the next highway after, they might actually make your life better. It’s a fight worth fighting, and unlike national politics, your voice can really make a difference.

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