|Cartoonist Garry Trudeau
is now making fun of the no-clotheslines rule that is found in all HOA
covenants across America. His daily satire reaches millions,
being as popular as Peanuts and Dilbert. Don't miss it!
The rules on clotheslines, basketball hoops,
lawn lengths and garage doors are at the center of the debate on
the legal power of some homeowners to control the lifestyles of their
immediate neighbors. Some owners argue that these rules support
property values and keep neighborhoods from turning into slums and
tenements, only attractive to low-lifes and hillbillies. High property
prices in turn keep out drunken, bottle-throwing wifebeaters, slobs, druggies
and, of course, black people.
Others argue that the detached, single-family
home is a castle and nobody else should have any say, not even the county
or city, in the decisions about lawn length and home color. Painting
your house polka-dot is a personal choice, like getting an abortion, and
no government entity, neighborhood Nazi, or HOA board has any business
telling you what to do with your life and your personal property, as long
as your not directly affecting anybody else.
That's the American Way.
But what about "property values"---the
mantra of the control freaks. "We need to preserve our property values!"
they scream at board meetings. Yeah, what about these property values?
Are there any other values that might trump "property values"?
In the case of attached townhouses and
condos, everyone recognizes the necessity of some degree of control over
common architecture and common areas. But it's time for developers,
owners, the CAI, and state legislatures to recognize that property values
are important, yes, but not quite as important as liberty. This nation's
founders recognized that liberty and property rights were inseparable.
Many naive home buyers watch their liberty disappear as they give their
property rights over to an idiotic HOA board. Then they wonder
what the hell happened.
We need a moratorium in each state on the
construction of HOA-controlled neighborhoods, so we can have some choice
in new housing once again. The effete snobs who want to live with
Neo-Nazi neighbors and the cretins on their HOA boards can choose to do
so, and we, the effete slobs who want to live in new houses next door to
auto-repair shops, chicken farms, and, of course, black people
can also have a choice.
That's the real American Way.
Michael Van Dyk is the founder of SHORN (Secure Homeowners
Rights Now) an advocacy group for homeowners living in mandatory membership
HOA's. He is a former member of the Advisory Council on Condominiums for
the State of Florida. He currently serves on the Advisory Committee
for the Center for Community and Condominium.
Living at Broward Community College, Fort