Re: The Tyranny of Homeowners Associations
From: R Philip Dowds (
Date: Sat, 23 Feb 2013 04:43:06 -0800 (PST)
HOAs have powers and duties similar to governments?  Omigosh, how did this 

Well, it happened because that's how we, the American people, wanted it to 
happen.  HOAs — or condominium associations, as in Massachusetts — represent a 
system of reciprocal rights and responsibilities that are meant to facilitate 
both segregated ownership of specific parts of a building, and also the use and 
enjoyment, sharing and maintenance of other parts (the "common" areas) of the 
building, by the community as whole.  Rules for HOAs are promulgated at the 
State level, according to the wisdom of each State's legislature.  Decisions 
about assessments, insurance, maintenance, rules of access, etc, are made via 
representative democracy, i.e., a "Managing Board" (or some such term) of 
member / owner / residents elected by their peers.  These, then, are your 

The false premise underlying this pseudo-problem is that the Managing Board is 
somehow "those other people" — people not like us, but who are meddling with 
our lives and our property rights in inappropriate or illegal ways.  But this 
is not correct: Those people are indeed us, and we (members of the HOA) can 
change them out if we want to.  In theory, this is true for elected officials 
at State and federal levels as well; in practice, however, dumping out 
incumbents is very hard in State and federal politics.  Not so in HOAs, 
however; members of the Board are shuffled around all the time, for a whole 
bunch of reasons.  Would that Libya and Syria could dispense with their tyrants 
so easily as HOAs.  If your HOA Board is obdurately tyrannical, maybe it's 
because you never go its meetings, and didn't participate in the last five 

Don't want to get involved in your HOA politics?  Well, good news:  This is 
America, and you don't have to live in an oppressive HOA community.  You can 
move to another one where your Board and your neighbors are more reasonable, 
and can be left to their own devices.  You can buy a single family home.  You 
can be tenant, hopefully in a unit owned and run by a kindly landlord.  Play 
your real estate cards right, and you can become a kindly landlord yourself.  
Lots of alternatives here.


On Feb 22, 2013, at 10:47 PM, Thomas Lofft <tlofft [at]> wrote:

> There has been a lot of discussion of HOA's and their authority and their 
> responsibilities as they may be required to perform by state law and whether 
> local cohousing community ethics might prefer dfferent options.This article 
> recently published in Planetizen offers one writer's perspective of the 
> Tyranny of HOA's and how local governance options may be incrementally 
> eliminated as state law infringes more and more upon personal property 
> rights. FYI:                            
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