Sunday, March 4, 2012 | 2 a.m.
From the web
A sampling of comments made online:
HOAs are needed due to the nature of this town of transient living, investors and more. Without the HOA, neighborhoods would not be as well-maintained, as some neighbors just believe a blank front yard with no plant life is easier on their life while bringing down the values of neighboring properties. A community is a shared collective of all neighbors being responsible, and it is a shame that it needs to be managed, but there’s no other choice. ... With over 3,000 HOAs, yes you will find problems, but as a sampling I bet you the corruption level is less than our local and state government here in Nevada. I bet you this is because it is the closest form of democracy to the people.
It really comes down to selecting members of the board of directors. If you have board members who are motivated by the opportunity to throw their weight around, you end up with “yard Nazis” who will suddenly decide to label a barbecue in your carport as “clutter” even after it’s been there for 10 years. On the other hand, you may be fortunate to select people who have a genuine interest in the community and the maintenance and improvement of common facilities.
— PISCES41 (Jim Weber)
HOAs are a necessary evil, sadly, especially now with the huge volume of home foreclosures and vacancies in Nevada. The challenge for these HOAs, and their members, is to keep the fees and fines reasonable as the communities age and require more maintenance and upkeep.
HOAs are just a microcosm of the community in which they exist. As in the country at large, over time the most vocal minority will be the ones on the board imposing their views on the rest of us because the rest of us won’t bother to vote. I’ve lived in HOAs that have run the gamut from kibbutz (a commune) to Boss Hogg vs. the Dukes (of Hazzard).
The only benefit to an HOA is that none of the houses in my development are painted purple. As if the value could go down any more. They say they have rules to protect our home values. So much for that.
We asked what you thought about homeowner associations. We were overwhelmed with your response. Here is a sampling of why people think HOAs are just a part of life, love them or hate them. As well, don't miss David McGrath Schwartz' "HOA 101", a great overview on homeowner associations in Nevada.
There are two broad goals which all association boards are expected to attain. First, they are to maintain and increase property values within the constraints of the existing market. Second is to ensure the quiet enjoyment of living in the community.
There are pros and cons to living in one of these communities.
Generally speaking, if you have a management board and management company that are tuned in to the needs and interests of the community and follow the governing laws, you should have a positive experience.
Otherwise, it could be a nightmare of an experience.
— Bob J.
The real damage (from HOAs) are the nuclear neighborhoods we have as a result. No basketball hoops means that kids are not outside, and the “no kids” concept is fully supported by some. All very sanitary and looking nothing like a neighborhood, except if you like nuclear neighborhoods.
Many older downtown developments have efforts under way to bring back “the old downtown.” While those efforts have been well received across this country, we have neglected our neighborhoods. Our neighborhoods are victims of a design that is failed and we have HOA boards that should figure out what a neighborhood is not.
— Ira S.
All HOAs are not created equal. We lived with one for 20 years where the homeowners ran the HOA and were of more help to the members than the current HOA, which has not dealt with the duties of the board but allows the management to do as it pleases regarding all matters. And do I hate it? You betcha.
— Doralee S.
HOAs are worthless but sometimes a necessary evil.
Most don’t follow the rules spelled out in the CC&Rs. Most board members are on power trips and feel they can run your life if you don’t comply with their rules (not the CC&Rs). HOAs will promise you anything and then not deliver what they promised. You want to be harassed? Just do something your HOA doesn’t like.
— Ralph D.
Nevada has perhaps the most comprehensive set of laws in the nation regarding every aspect of the HOA. I thought California was over-governed while I was there, but the scope of their laws pales in comparison. Although much of the law embodied in NRS 116 makes sense, much of it is ill-considered, over-reaching, and even contradictory. Every session of the Legislature brings some new law that is a knee-jerk reaction to some perceived wrong. Usually, existing law covers the situation, but a new law is added to the already lengthy statutes. And, we as volunteer leaders are required (under that very same NRS 116) to attest each year that we have read and understand all of the laws. I don’t believe a city councilperson is required to attest that they have read and understand every law that affects the running of a city government.
— Mike F.
Gated communities must provide maintenance and incur significant costs that are normally covered elsewhere by property taxes. This is clearly double taxation just for the privilege of having a community entrance gate. As a result, local government distributes the cost savings (tax reductions) across the entire population while the gated communities receive no additional financial benefit. The taxing authority benefits from no street maintenance costs. The developer benefits as a result of reduced standards such as no sidewalks, narrower streets and more space to build homes, and then up-sells the gated community aspect as if it added real security.
— Rick R.
HOAs are a necessary evil because they provide a modicum of normalcy that would not otherwise exist; car repairs in the front yard, and much more.
The biggest problem I have seen with HOAs is the fact that they often attract board members with nothing better to do. These board members then proceed to build a bureaucracy which will tend to make them personally powerful. Unless this really gets out of control, or unless the board members try to impress their sense of goodness and badness on others, this is usually no big deal.
The real culprits in the HOA situation are the “management companies” hired by the HOAs. There are a few that are well run, but most are not, so they wind up being a drag on the community.
— Dave C.
The homeowners who are happy with their HOAs are the ones no one ever hears from, just because they are happy — they can and do live by the rules. Then there are those who should not live in HOA communities because they don’t play nice with others.
In the real world, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil. In HOAs, those squeaky wheels are the few who cause the problems for the majority of the neighborhood.
HOA boards have a responsibility to their community as a whole. If a board is fair and applies the rules to everyone equally, everyone wins. Property values stay consistently higher in HOA communities than most of the surrounding areas outside the walls. There are occasions where areas in close proximity to established HOAs have added value because of the comps pertaining to real estate sales in the general area.
I do not want to imply that all HOAs are a blessing, because there are some that are known to be heavy handed.
Thank God my wife and I have never lived in one. We would not trade our experiences with HOAs for the alternative.
— Fredrick W.