Yesterday’s WSJ had an article on the inherently hellish nature of homeowners’ associations (HOAs). Like so many things, the author notes that HOAs were born of good intentions but eventually move sideways and end up enforcing the reasonable along with the increasingly ridiculous rules with “equal gusto.”
She notes that HOA rules start out reasonable but quickly proliferate into the sublimely foolish. The people who are inclined to establish such rules often have undiagnosed psychological problems with their mother/father and hold extremely strong views on everything. And they believe that everyone else should be required to share their views. All of which explains why the author says she will never again buy a property governed by a HOA.
I would rather just live in a van down by the river, where at least no one tells me what color I can paint my van, what type of tires I need to have, or what size holiday décor I am allowed to hang from the rearview mirror.
She notes that it doesn’t matter what type of HOA is established they all end up in one in circle of Dante’s Inferno or another. She ranks them from Co-op boards, assigned to the ninth circle, to single-family HOA boards which she places in the fourth circle, astutely noting that
Like any humans given power over others, HOA boards inevitably get drunk on the stuff, so HOA rules and fees proliferate like perfectly fertilized weeds.
It’s strange that people easily grasp this inherent human foible when dealing with a microcosm like a HOA but entirely lose the concept when pulling the lever for politicians who are given ten-thousand times that amount of power over them. Odder yet, homeowners would never let people who didn’t live in their co-op/condo/neighborhood vote in the election of their board members but seem quite okay with anybody and everybody voting, sometimes twice, in their national elections.
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