Proponents of homeowner associations would have us believe that HOAs are “democracy up close and personal”. They insist the owners have more control over the neighborhood than they otherwise would and being neighbors, the leadership would be of the kinder, gentler variety than the further removed, less personal municipal government could provide. They’ve got part of it right, anyway. HOAs can be extremely “up close and personal” and that is not a good thing. As for democracy, it is almost nonexistent in kontrolled kommunities around the country.
Neighbors and community members can be a little too close for comfort when it comes to providing any kind of governance that is needed to run a development. Personality clashes, personal feelings and long standing friendships/animosities are more than likely to interfere with any requirement for fair dealing. This lack of neutrality and imbalance of power can make life inside the borders of associations a living hell.
Joining us On The Commons this week is Billy Martin. Billy lives in a townhouse development in Houston, Texas where his first battle with the HOA was over a flag. The issue wasn’t whether or not he had the right to fly the flag but a dispute over the placement of the flag. It went to court and Billy won. The judge agreed that the flag was on private property and not HOA controlled property. That, however, is not the end of the story. What happened next is terrifying. (See News Story) We will talk to Billy and find out what he discovered when he came home from a trip and found his house had been vandalized.