HOAs Very Mixed Bag

The theory behind creation of homeowners’ associations, (HOAs), was that in areas with nonexistent or relatively minimal building codes, a neighborhood could create a peer-level regulatory body which could create binding deed restrictions approved by majority vote to keep home building, repairs, remodeling, repainting, landscaping and other visible structural activities within generally accepted standards so goofy folks couldn’t build a fence out of hub caps or old truck tires, replace a leaky roof with black tarpaper, or paint their house with red and purple stripes or do other things which might seriously violate a consensus idea of what would be hideous. But, in reality, HOAs are at best a very mixed bag because they tend to become dated, and very political and agenda driven, frequently bureaucratic and cumbersome and in many cases so autocratic they can impede and unduly harshly restrict more than help. And, in Texas they have astonishing powers so they can by no means be disregarded. Violating HOA rules and deed restrictions can mean expensive law suits, fines and other penalties and even foreclosure and eviction; and compliance can mean delays, added expense and serious inhibitions of creativity and artistic expression.

All this matters because in many areas of Greater Houston, cumbersome, confusing, contradictory and similarly problematic HOA rules and deed restrictions are inhibiting rebuilding and repair work on homes damaged or destroyed by Harvey. For instance, in Meyerland, the Meyerland Community Improvement Association, an HOA, has delayed the start of a new house a couple who has lived on the same lot for 43 years who want replace their old house, which was so flooded in Harvey it had to be demolished. But, the rebuild is frozen because the HOA has 22 sets of conflicting section rules which are so incomprehensible that compliance is virtually impossible. So, the couple waits as the months pass. And, the HOA’s response? Sorry… rules are rules!

If you find yourself in a serious fight with your HOA, please consider calling us. We can assist you in resolving your issues in a reasonable, cost-efficient manner.