When homeowners associations were originally developed it was mainly because they wanted to keep communities looking nice, maintain value in the surrounding properties, and enforce the CC & R's (Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions).
I for one enjoy living in an HOA, even though I still have my frustrations. For example, I wanted to have the exterior of my house re-painted to the same colors as my neighbor one street South of my home. To do this I have to submit a form, as well as the name of the contractor, paint colors, brand, etc. I submitted all of this over two weeks ago and still haven't heard anything. Despite the fact that I am the most impatient person I know, I have remained relatively calm. I contacted the office and after several attempts to get in touch with my community manager, an assistant of his returned my call and informed me that I will have to wait another three weeks for the next HOA meeting to approve my paint request. I wanted to scream! Being a property manager I understand that he doesn't make the rules, but it was still very frustrating.
Sometimes, in my mind (and the minds of a lot of my clients) HOA's become more interested in going on a "witch hunt" then helping to provide support for the owners that are paying their salaries. They scavenge through their communities in hopes of writing someone up on the most petty violation. This should be a major concern for home owners, and I won't be surprised if you see a major uproar in the next few years against HOA's. The power seems to have gone to their head!
Here's another example, in March we saw a ton of rain in the valley. Not just a day here and there, but it would rain 3-4 days consistently, take a short break and then rain 3-4 more days in a row. Combining this with the constant sun led to a major weed issue valley wide. Rather than drive the neighborhood and think that "wow, it has been raining for almost 10 days straight, so it must be hard to pick weeds right now" these HOA's used it as a way to once again "flex their muscle" and issue a huge amount of notices. During this period we received over 40 notices pertaining to weeds (we usually get about 5). The worst part is 5 of the properties had landscaping services on them. The problem is you can't landscape a wet yard!
I actually called a few of the HOA's personally and tried to explain that it would be impossible to pull the weeds, or at least very inconvenient. All but one of the HOA's got very defensive and were quick to point out that they could send a violation notice after even just 1 small weed pops up. Again they were quick to exert their power and put me in my place. The sad thing is that this has been my experience with a lot of the HOA's that I deal with on a regular basis.
I am worried that the only way these people will see the light is for communities to start removing them altogether. As much as they bug me s, I still believe that they are an important ingredient to the recipe for a great community. I just feel that they also need to have a better way of interpreting each issue that is both reasonable and fair for everyone.
For now, I am just forced to humbly call them and beg for there mercy so that my clients can stay out of their crosshairs.
Realtor, Property Manager, New Blogger