Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Tis a Pity She's a HOA

One of the more commonly reviled elements of the Soviet combination of bloodthirsty dictatorship and soul-less bureauocracy was their habit of charging the families of those executed by the regime for the bullets used by the firing squad.

Equally galling, it seems to me, (though not equally serious, I will admit) is the practice of giving money to a home owners association which will in turn bully you and threaten to fine you if you don't follow some set of "community standards" that was drafted back when your neighborhood was built. It's one thing for people to harass you about your house. But paying them to do so just seems wrong.

I searched pretty hard to find a neighborhood without an HOA when we moved out to Texas, but alas, unless you move out onto land away from the suburbs, they seem to be everywhere here.

All this springs to mind because I had to go to the annual HOA meeting last night. If they don't have at least 10% of the homes represented, they have to hold another meeting. And this was already their second go-around. So I went, and listened to an hour and a half of wrangling where old people (only one other attendee looked under 50) with too much time and bitterness on their hands complained about how there were people with old cars and boats in their driveways.

Call me laissez-faire, but I don't believe any degree of mutual harassment will raise housing values in our neighborhood of ten-year-old 1400-2000 square foot homes when they are building brand new 3000+ square foot houses for under 200k not three miles away.


Rick Lugari said...

HOAs are absolutely evil. I'd rather live in a cardboard box than be held hostage to a bunch meddlesome Nazis. At least it would be MY box...

Anonymous said...

You know, I saw that play in the library just the other day. I keep meaning to read it, if for no other reason than to be able to tell people that I've read it.

Amber said...

We currently rent in a condo community with an extremely viligent HOA committee. They are pretty amazing... you'd think they could come up with better ways to spend their time than counting the number of days since a car has been moved or watching to be sure everyone puts their garbage cans away quickly and in the correct locations. And woe to you if you let your grass grow too long or get a few weeds in your driveway cracks!

Luckily we've been able to lie low and avoid notice, but still I'm really looking forward to moving out of here!

Anonymous said...

Austin seems to be HOA-crazy in particular. My time in Dallas, I never lived in an HOA neighborhood, however they were older neighborhoods to begin with. I imagine if you venture outward some towards Plano & Frisco, you may see a higher incidence of HOA's.

I share your disdain for HOA's. They are a busy-body's paradise.

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Come to central Austin ... the neighborhood associations don't care what your yard or house look like, up to the point you actually abandon your home and return only weekly to leave food for the raccoons and assorted wildlife who are asserting squatters' rights in it (not making this up!).

You can even afford a house big enough for a large-ish family if you, like us, are clever enough to buy one with notorious foundation problems. And you find growing drywall cracks interesting rather than alarming.