The HOA model: How Not to Build a Community

Amitai Etzioni writes about ideals for a better community¹.

WE hold that law and order can be restored without turning this country into a police state, as long as we grant public authorities some carefully crafted and circumscribed new powers.

WE hold that people can live in communities without turning into vigilantes or becoming hostile to one another.

WE hold that our call for increased social responsibilities is not a call for curbing rights.

WE hold that powerful special-interest groups in the nation’s capitol, and in many statehouses and city halls, can be curbed without limiting the constitutional right of the people to lobby and petition those who govern.

The author summarizes:

“We suggest that free individuals require community, which backs them up against encroachment by the state and sustains morality by drawing on the gentle prodding of kin, friends, neighbors, and other community, members, rather than on building government controls or fear of authorities.”²

In the above, we can replace “public government” and “government” with “private, contractual government” and “HOA government” and the statements will be equally applicable, and more so since HOA governance lacks “some carefully crafted and circumscribed new powers”, as stated in the first paragraph above.

If you read the Community Associations Institute’s “Rights and Responsibilities”³, a term borrowed from the communitarian philosophy, we immediately come away with another view of community, one that solely focuses on and emphasizes the responsibilities of homeowners within their community. This document even fails to call for a homeowner’s Bill of Rights (see AARP Homeowner’s Bill of Rights,, leaving some 275,000 Americans subject to highly restrictive and oppressive contractual documents that give the homeowner very few rights — the right to vote and to enjoy the amenities, if any, provided he does not fall behind in his payments to the HOA. Otherwise, the homeowner is subject to covenants, conditions, and other restrictions on his fundamental freedoms, quite contrary to the communitarian statement above, “WE hold that our call for increased social responsibilities is not a call for curbing rights.”

The special interest HOA propaganda has made public government interference in your life the targeted enemy, in order to avoid any focus on the “built-in” tyranny of the local community government, the HOA. This propaganda implies that tyranny and interference by local government is what the homeowner had signed-up for, wants, and has voluntarily accepted.

The planned community model with its authoritarian government, the HOA, and supported by special-interest lobbyists for the profiteering of their members, while attempting to justify the oppression by co-opting the ideals and tenants of respectable, socially beneficial philosophies, must come to an end. The planned community model must be radically revised so it can coexist within the democratic form of government so cherished here in the United States. If not, it must be subject to “muni-zation”, or the equivalent of municipal government nationalization.

1. The Spirit of Community, Amitai Etzioni, p. 1 – 2 (Touchtone 1993). (Communitarian philosophy).

2. Id, p.13.

3. Rights and Responsibilities, CAI ( (Dec. 11, 2006).

Published in: on December 12, 2006 at 1:56 am  Leave a Comment  

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