I downloaded the free, fourth chapter, available from Ward Lucas’ book Neighbors at War! The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowner Association and read the first half. So far it proves to be a quick and compelling read.
Lucas opens this chapter (“The Ultimate Law of the Universe”) with the idea that great philosophers, mathematicians and physicists have spent their careers decoding the order of the universe, but so far that order hasn’t proved useful for ordering humans.
Homeowners associations are miniature governments, but Lucas argues that in the United States all local governments are still beholden to the Constitution and federal laws, but that HOAs are exempt. One example is that often homeowners are told by their HOA they cannot put a lawn or window signs in favor or a political candidate, even though that is a component of the first amendment right to free speech. He mentions that private shopping centers can’t turn away someone who is passing out political flyers or registering patrons to vote but an HOA can. So the question remains about why the rules don’t apply to HOAs.
I have a background in working in local government and a Master’s Degree in public administration, so I understand the history of the Constitution as well as bureaucracy. Governing people is hard, like really hard. No one has stumbled upon a painless system yet.
Lucas compares HOA governance to both dictatorships and religious cults, where homeowners are not allowed to speak out against their governing board. He admits his examples are egregious but not out of line with reality. His examples are what appear to be very unhealthy and unhappy HOAs.
What stood out in this chapter is the description of homeowners as an increasingly apathetic populace. There are many academic studies and political outcomes that have shown voter turnout and community involvement is at an all time low. There are companion studies that show that communities are stronger when more people are involved.
This is why we built the MaxHOA app, to give homeowners a voice in their communities, and make it easier for neighbors to band together to improve their neighborhoods. We’d really love for you to try it. For more information, contact email@example.com
Let’s build happy and healthy HOAs together.