I have never that USA would have something like Home Owners Associations. I mean, this is as close to socialism and Soviet Union as you can get and still have private property. Kinda.
An organization, that became pretty much mandatory in Austin. Or rather mandatory, unless you’re willing to live somewhere in the boonies. It took my friends a while to explain to me, how exactly could people agree to relinquish control over what you do with your own property to some “architectural committee”. You can’t paint your own house the color you want. Planting a new tree or removing an old one? No, can’t do! Installing solar panels or solar screens? Why, that’s treason right there!
Like any other “government-alike” structure, HOAs at certain point stop being used for the greater good, and just become yet another layer of bureaucracy — impossible or nearly impossible to get rid of, with outdated and weird rules.
Today’s bonus evil HOA news report comes from Frisco, TX — HOA in there managed to foreclose on a military family, sell their house for peanuts. And, surprise, the house was sold to “friends and family”, to people who knew when this $3201 sale was abut to happen, so that the house could be re-sold for about half the cost ($135k or so) but hey, if you buy something for 3 grands and then sell it for more than a 100 that’s all gravy right there. Add to this the fact that exactly 4 more houses were “processed” the same way via the same buyer and same company and you can see the pattern.
Now there are some questions — like what did the family not do to the tune of that initial $600 or so debt to the HOA. But overall I hope this will help to change Texas laws to reduce HOAs influence back to small local things, and not allow foreclosures and other neat little legal loopholes. Place liens, do the collections, but don’t allow such foreclosures outside of normal process, because process was invented to prevent abuses.
There always will be people claiming that HOA didn’t do anything illegal, that when you buy a house you agreed to follow all the rules and entered into agreement with the association and blah-blah-blah read your fine print on 10 pages. I’d say it’s just regular BS “gotcha” attitude. You know, you haven’t checked your cheeseburger for disclosure of where the meat came from, so even if it is not something person would expect in a cheeseburger, it’s your fault. Got treated badly and dishonestly by some company? You should have known better. Got ripped off by tax district? Your fault for not being able to talk them into reducing appraised value. Used car salesman ripped you off on a loan? Well what did you expect for now being professional at shopping for a loan.
Usually people like that work in those certain areas that seem to cause trouble of this sort (used goods sales, shady lending practices etc etc) and the only thing that stops them is when they become a victim of one of these “gotcha” situations.