Homeowner’s Associations can list many positives all designed to protect your property values and promote goodwill among neighbors:
· Well maintained lawns
· Houses painted in pleasing colors
· Neighborhood swimming pools and walking trails
The Kansas City Star interviewed Dawn Bauman, the senior vice president for The Community Associations Institute (CAI), which represents HOA’s in court and in the legislative arena, says homes associations create better communities. “They safeguard the neighborhood from degradation and preserve the nature of the community, said Dawn Bauman…. When issues do arise, Bauman said, “The majority are a misunderstanding of what their governing documents say.”
The CAI strongly disputes that HOAs are a significant problem, pointing to a national survey it commissioned that indicates homeowners love living in them and have good relationships with their boards.
The March 2016 survey of homes association residents by Zogby Analytics found that 87 percent of residents rated their overall community association experience as positive or neutral. Sixty-six percent of residents — down from 78 percent in 2005 — said their association’s rules protect and enhance property values.
But an online survey by the Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest, formed in 2015 to take on the industry and prevent HOA abuse, found just the opposite: 70 percent said they had been involved in a difficult-to-resolve dispute with a condo or homes association, and 84 percent said a lack of transparency and poor communication was a “very serious problem.”
Critics Say Governments Let HOA’s Take Over:
As local governments struggled to keep up with the costs of maintaining their infrastructure, HOA’s started taking on some of the burden. They created private streets, private sewer and water systems, their own water detention ponds, lakes and recreational facilities, golf courses and other amenities. To do that, a homeowner’s association had to function as a private government. And cities wanted HOA’s to take over because that lessened demands on their budgets.
“Robert McKay, Lee’s Summit director of planning and codes, said handing over some power to HOA’s eases the burden on local government. “We have a lot of code enforcement that we do,” McKay said. “They are kind of our self-policing group, so we like them. We would rather have the subdivisions regulating themselves than the city having to come down on them.” The city (Lee’s Summit) has no problem with an HOA that is more restrictive than the city, he said. “Of course,” McKay said, “we can’t deal with the resident that says, ‘Well, they’re being over-restrictive,’ because you bought into the situation.”