Monthly Archives: September 2014
Do Homeowners Associations Go Too Far?

Thinking of putting up pink flamingos in your garden? Or hanging the laundry out to dry?

You might own the house, the garden and the lot, but if you’re one of the nearly 50 million Americans living in communities run by homeowners associations, you may find you don’t have the freedom to do everything you like on your property.

Homeowners associations are nonprofit organizations that manage the common areas in a housing development. They have rules that can be strict, and critics say that enforcement of those rules is increasingly turning neighborhoods into battle zones.

“The level of frustration in associations is escalating and in some cases, going through the roof,” says Evan McKenzie, a political science professor at the University of Illinois who has written a book about homeowners associations, Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government.

“The problem is when they go to ridiculous extremes, when they become neighborhood tyrants.” McKenzie adds.

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