J. Patrick Sutton Cases & Issues Blog

HOA's and Freedom

HOA's are scary, and their trade group is even scarier.
Having gotten involved with some homeowners association issues and heard from clients how much they fear the power of HOA's, I started researching and getting involved in these issues. Another attorney invited me to a luncheon of the Austin chapeter of the Community Associations Institute (CAI), which appears to be an industry group devoted to the professionalization and centralization of HOA powers within a relatively small, highly-paid managerial class of property managers, attorneys, and consultants. The luncheon presentation was horrifying -- basically, a "professional" property manager reminding CAI members how to assert "control" over homeowners (and renters) and urging them to hire "professional" property managers to handle the messy business of controlling property owners. The presentation would have been funny had the pinheaded, ideologically-captive shill giving the speech not been so deadly earnest.

HOA's now command most new housing and a large fraction of all existing housing in the U.S. Their boards are magnets for the power-mad, busy-bodies, those with an ax to grind against neighbors, and those with too much time on their hands. These people make decisions directly affecting the freedoms and rights of their neighbors and yet typically have very few qualifications that would reassure anyone that their decisions are legitimate and disinterested. They sometimes enforce subdivision declarations / CC&R's / restrictive covenants far too aggressively and without regard to the human aspects of community-building.

Needless to say, I won't be joining the CAI, though as a practicing attorney it would be financially in my interest to do so. Most attorneys doing HOA work appear to be involved with or members of CAI, whose core principles are strict enforcement and almost blind adherence to the declarations / CC&R's / restrictive covenants that govern HOA's. It's a nice racket for those on the inside!
J. Patrick Sutton Cases & Issues Blog