Homeowner Associations: Are They Getting Too Controlling?


If you live in a subdivision you probably belong to a homeowners association. It probably wasn’t a choice that you could make, it comes with the property. The homeowners association will make the final decisions on what you can and can not do with your new property. Every change that you want to do to your new home on the outside will have to be approved by them even painting the front door to planting a tree may need approval. And to be able to live there to have the association tell you what they want, you have to pay them monthly or yearly.

Homeowners associations are there to keep the neighborhood standards high. They are there to protect your rights so that your neighbor doesn’t paint his house bright pink with flashing lights all around it. But should they have the right to tell you that you have to ask if you want to install a birdfeeder on a tree on your property?

In subdivisions with homeowners associations sometimes they will tell you which cable company you are allowed to use, or if they want you to use Satellite television instead. They will limit your choices as a consumer. If you want to buy a truck and park it in your driveway, they can make you sell it if they’re rules state that you’re not allowed owning trucks, only cars and SUV’s. They are taking away your rights to choose simple things for your property that you are paying for.

There have been cases where homes have been foreclosed on because the property owners didn’t pay the homeowners fees, but their mortgage was up to date.

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Home owners, who want to add an addition on to their property must first get a building permit, then get it approved by the homeowners association. So whether the city says it’s fine to add an addition, if the board of directors for the homeowners association doesn’t like it, you can’t build it.

Home owners lose a lot of rights when there is a homeowners association in the subdivision. They want everyone in the neighborhood to have everything pretty much identical, you can not show your personality in your decorating outside, and even Christmas lights have to be pre approved before putting them up.

Subdivisions were fine prior to having homeowners associations, neighbors talked to people with yards that weren’t mowed and the problem was solved. Homeowner associations are given too much power and say-so for property that you own and are paying for.

They do have power to control your life as long as you’re in a neighborhood that has an association. Next time you buy a house, before signing on the dotted line, you just may want to check and make sure what the rules are for the homeowners association in that neighborhood. It just may make you change your mind on the property purchase.