This Is What A Libertarian America Would Look Like: The HOA Edition

And ‘HOA’ stands for homeowners associations. Darksyde reports (boldface mine):

What is a homeowners association, you ask? HOAs often create themselves out of whole cloth, usually in neighborhoods where there was no previous HOA, where they pass rules making it compulsory to pay them fees so they can enforce whatever rules they dream up. Some are helpful. Others go on to boss everyone around, dictating what folks can do on their own property down to the most bizarre and arbitrary detail. It’s interesting here to note that some members of the board I’m writing about today are said to be staunch conservatives who, presumably, deeply believe in limited government. Except when they’re given a sliver of power, at which point Big Government is just swell….

But let me tell you a little bit about the amazing roots and admirable character of the lady getting hassled by this particular HOA. She is deeply, genuinely motivated by an overpowering desire to help people. After college she volunteered full time to man a crisis hotline for battered spouses, abused children, and the clinically depressed, often in the dead of night. Over a period of years it’s a statistical certainty that she saved at least dozens of lives and improved countless more. She then became a parole officer, compelled to help those less fortunate being railroaded by a system rigged against the poor and the brown. During this time she singlehandedly raised a child, who is now a junior at MIT on an engineering scholarship.

…that life took a tragic detour two years ago when she suffered a full-blown seizure out of the blue. The grim diagnosis came back after the first MRI: Glioblastoma, a.k.a brain cancer. It was an aggressive set of tumors and she was given only three to six months to live. But occasionally, some people beat those dismal odds.

Two years of hell followed including four surgeries, several life-threatening trips to the ER, long hospital stays, massive corticosteroid doses including one round of induced diabetes leading to ketoacidosis, specialized chemo, and radiation. She emerged in terrible shape, wheelchair bound, barely able to feed herself, her left side paralyzed for life.

But she survived and she beat it, so far!

…The neighborly thing to do for anyone in that condition, should they not be able to wrestle their empty trash can past the garage door one cold, rainy winter morning, would be to knock and politely ask if there was anything you could do to help. You would think people would consider it a privilege to help such a wonderful person. Instead, Mr. Nosy fined her. She calmly explained her circumstances, and all that apparently did was mark her for extra scrutiny.

She has been fined twice since for the same thing. Between meds and copays and durable medical equipment upkeep, this homeowner can barely make ends meet on her social security disability of barely over $1000 per month. That is her sole income.

This is inexcusable. Anyone who made it through kindergarten should know better.

Moocher. Believe it or not, this isn’t even the worst example of HOA overreach:

66-year-old Joseph Prudente had to do some time in the local jail because he couldn’t afford to comply with a court order, obtained by his HOA, that required him to sod his lawn. “It’s a sad situation,” Beacon Woods Civic Association board president Bob Ryan told the St. Petersburg Times about Prudente’s fate. “But in the end, I have to say he brought it upon himself.”

A pensioner with a limited income, Prudente had to stay in jail until the sod job was completed. “He’s in prison for God knows how long because we can’t afford to sod the lawn,” his daughter, Jennifer Lehr, told the Times when her father entered jail. Luckily, some outraged people in his community—including a county commissioner—fixed up Prudente’s yard, thereby lawn-caring him to freedom. [St. Petersburg Times]

But freedom isn’t free. Apparently, it costs around $50/month.

Something about “Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob” comes to mind…

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2 Responses to This Is What A Libertarian America Would Look Like: The HOA Edition

  1. Felicis says:

    “HOAs often create themselves out of whole cloth, usually in neighborhoods where there was no previous HOA”

    It is worth noting that HOAs are often created by developers (your vote as a member of the HOA is determined by how many properties you own…) to ‘maintain house value’ until they are all sold off. Some of the fees go to maintainance (especially in condominiums) that are not covered by taxes, but that is less the case in exurban settings.

    Certainly, we need some big government to step in and limit just what an HOA can do – for example, no-one should have to lose their home due to HOA fees.

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