The Good, The Bad And The Ugly For Preppers Living In A HOA (Home Owners Association)

Rich M.
By Rich M. May 2, 2019 07:39

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly For Preppers Living In A HOA (Home Owners Association)

Home owners associations (HOAs) are becoming more and more commonplace. They are a way for neighborhoods to gather together and establish some standards of décor and decorum for themselves, so that the people living within the bounds established by the HOA can live in harmony. Once limited to communities of townhomes or condominiums, more and more gated and closed communities are started up with HOAs or form them once the neighborhood has been established.

On the most basic level, this is essentially a neighborhood government. Since there is no real place for that in our system of government , those who break the HOA’s rules aren’t committing a crime. There is no possibility of jail time, although there are often fines for breaking the rules. If the infraction is serious enough, the HOA can even force homeowners to sell their home and move.

The Good

Homeowner associations exist to provide a means of controlling annoying things that people tend to do, like leaving junk cars sitting on their property, allowing trash to accumulate and not cutting their lawn. If you’re tired of having neighbors who don’t take care of their home or who insist in painting it outlandish colors that turn it into an eyesore, a HOA might be for you.

Many times these HOAs also provide a number of amenities to the people living in the community. They might have a clubhouse which can be used for parties and events, a swimming pool or a golf course. Some provide exterior maintenance, taking care of lawns and exterior painting, especially in the cases of townhomes.

Property values tend to stay very stable in these communities, because you don’t have to worry about what your neighbors do. Or, maybe I should say, your neighbors won’t have any worries about what you might do. After all, you’re the prepper and they might think that some of the things that you do are a bit strange.

The Bad

You don’t have any option about joining a HOA. If you buy a home which is within the bounds of the HOA’s territory, which will be clearly defined, you are automatically a member, complete with having to pay your membership dues and follow their rules. So it’s a good idea to know what those rules are, before buying the home. You should also include a stipulation in the contract stating that you reserve the right to cancel the contract, if you are not in agreement with the HOA’s rules.

If you do that, don’t wait for the closing, when they will give you a copy of the rules. Rather, get your real estate agent to get you a copy immediately so that you can read them. Some HOA rules may restrict important things that you might want to do as a prepper.

What sorts of things would they be likely to restrict? Here are a few of the top ones we were able to uncover:

  • Growing large gardens (size may be restricted)
  • Planting fruit trees
  • Raising chickens
  • Raising any animals, other than dogs, cats and small rodents which are in a cage
  • Owning large dogs
  • Rainwater collection
  • Drilling a well
  • Installing solar panels
  • Installing a wind turbine
  • Building a fence or other barrier for home defense
  • How many vehicles you can own
  • Building any sorts of outbuildings

In addition to these restrictions, they will charge you a monthly fee for the privilege of belonging to the HOA. These fees can range from a couple hundred dollars, all the way up to $1,000 in the more luxurious areas.

The Ugly

Should things turn ugly, such as from almost any of the TEOTWAWKI events that we talk about in the prepping community, a HOA might provide you with a community that could help you survive. I don’t know of any prepping or survival HOAs right now; but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is having a community of people who could work together to survive.

Granted, this might end up being more trouble than it’s worth; but hear me out. In our society today, it is rare that people get to know their neighbors. In most neighborhoods, the advent of a major disaster would pit neighbors against each other, as soon as supplies started to run out.

But if you’re a member of a HOA, you’ll be a part of a community of people who know each other. That might work out a whole lot better, as you’ll have people who may actually listen to you about what needs to be done, so that you can all survive. While those people probably won’t have tools and seed to start planting; they will be able bodied people who can help, if you have access to a source of seed and tools.

The other option is to start ahead-of-time, working on the other members of your HOA and spreading the idea of prepping amongst them. There’s even a chance that you could get enough people on board with the idea, that you could make prepping a part of your HOA’s activities. If that happened, you’d be way ahead of living anywhere else, other than a pure survival community.

What Do You Think?

So what do you think about HOAs? Can you see a more effective way of turning one into a survival community? Can you see other advantages? Or is the HOA going to be more trouble than it’s worth? Let us hear from you, sharing your ideas and experiences with us.

You may also like:

Bullet Proof Home Banner NewA Prepper’s Guide to a Completely Free Stockpile

10 Things Cowboys Carried With Them in the Wild West to Survive (Video)

12 Pioneer Skills We Can’t Afford to Lose

How To Make Money Off Grid: Making A Living From Your Homestead

Please Spread The Word - Share This Post
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
Rich M.
By Rich M. May 2, 2019 07:39
Write a comment

42 Comments

  1. Wannabe May 2, 12:02

    What do I think? HOA suck. Will never be a part of one.

    13
    Reply to this comment
  2. Raven tactical May 2, 12:21

    Silly article

    Why on earth would you be a prepper and live in a hoa.

    It goes against the whole freedom and independence lifestyle

    Reply to this comment
    • Chuckster May 2, 16:56

      Some of us moved into a neighborhood with “reasonable” HOA rules BEFORE we came to the Prepper lifestyle. In this case I think it to be wise to get to know your neighbors better and ‘fish’ to see what kind of families they are but NEVER bring up the term “Prepper”; that is a cardinal sin that screams “hey y’all, when the SHTF you can come over and kill me for my food and water!”. Instead, one can help organize “preparedness” which may even amend HOA rules to say “In times of duress and hardship due to political unrest, martial lax and doing X, Y and Z will be permitted until such time HOA rules can be re-instituted by HOA voter majority.

      That makes plain, good sense for those of us already in a home with HOA bylaws enacted.

      Chuckster

      Reply to this comment
  3. Mark May 2, 14:39

    HOA’s have some good points, but if get a Lord over the people type you are screwed. I was in one likethat and it was hell on earth for 5 years. Overall they are not worth it. Go to the country!!!

    Reply to this comment
  4. Bill May 2, 14:58

    The “ugly” section does not seem too ugly at all since knowing neighbors and cooperating in the case of a community-wide emergency makes sense. I do think an HOA type community might be best for older people who have few survivalist skills, don’t want to have to develop them, and can pay the freight of a HOA. I know, who’s like this among this group? (haha). I know a woman who moved from a Sun City to a “basic” mobile home park who complained you couldn’t step out the front door without violating some rule…But then, there’s rules there, too, and that park had a nearby Neighbor from Hell it took over a year to evict. Be very careful where you move (see my book at Amazon on Moving to Small Town America). There’s a hotlink above to my rainwater collection article, fyi (in blue).

    Reply to this comment
    • Marco Cortez May 2, 23:53

      Are you a realtor? The diatribe you spout is nothing more than a positive endorsement of total control of the people that are able to afford to purchase and invade your space. Totalitarianism and racism is your motto. It’s NOT skin color racism it’s economic racism. White, black, or hispanic doesn’t matter if the HOA doesn’t like the sailboat, in your driveway GTFO!

      HOA’s are nothing more than your stupid neighbor outside at sunrise measuring the height of your lawn. Or perhaps, calling the cops because your dandelions are more than 6.35555341541 inches tall.

      Imagine that. A prepper willing to help others that don’t prepare. It’s okay, and I get it. In my case I have several neighbors that are loving and kind and deserve help. However, they offer nothing in return to extend my survival. I will help them on a temporary basis while the contents of my freezer melt and all the HOA folks are invited to join in my bbq (as long s they bring charcoal).

      But of course they’ll be nothing more than a hungry mob and according to Bob Marley: “A hungry mob is hungry a hungry mob.”

      Does your worthless HOA have a plan to feed hungry people that have no choice but to invade your neighborhood homes?

      I offing doubt it.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck May 3, 23:58

      Bill: You might be surprised to find that “older people” have more survivalist skills than you would imagine. For those of us who grew up listening to radio, using party line telephones, walking or riding a bike to school. playing mumbley peg in the school yard with our pocket knives during recess in grade school, spending the entire day except for meal times outside in the woods or playing war, shooting bows and arrows and bb guns from six y.o. or 8 y.o. with .22s at 10 or 12 and shotguns soon after and revolvers and rifles at 15 or 16, growing victory gardens, minding the stove for hot water and a myriad of other chores and activities that people my kids age have no comprehension of. Older folks have knowledge you haven’t dreamed of. Just read the posts of some of the older followers of this site. We may not have the energy or the strength of younger readers, but cunning and old age beat strength and youth hands down.

      As Ronald Reagan said, “I will not take unfair advantage of my opponent by mentioning his youth and lack of experience.”

      Reply to this comment
      • IvyMike May 4, 00:19

        Mumbley peg! I love you!

        Reply to this comment
      • The Ohio Prepper May 5, 19:59

        left coast chuck,

        You might be surprised to find that “older people” have more survivalist skills than you would imagine. For those of us who grew up listening to radio, using party line telephones, walking or riding a bike to school. playing mumbley peg in the school yard with our pocket knives during recess in grade school, spending the entire day except for meal times outside in the woods or playing war, shooting bows and arrows and bb guns from six y.o. or 8 y.o. with .22s at 10 or 12

        You could easily be describing me and my life, and I think too many ”modern” people, even those who attempt the prepping lifestyle, really don’t have the experiences you mention here.
        On the party line, you forgot to mention that it was also a phone with a dial, and recently there was a test (videos available online) where a guy told some millennials they would be given some cash if they would call him on his cell phone in the next 10 minutes, using a dial phone. They did eventually figure it out; but, their conversation on trying to use the old phone was hilarious and also a bit sad.
        BTW, while we don’t have a party line, we do still have a landline as one of our 10+ communications means and that phone will most likely continue to work when most people have no bars.

        Your mention of Ronald Reagan’s retort to opponent Walter Mondale in the 1984 debates: “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience,” hits the mark, since one should not underestimate we mature citizens, having overcome much that they have not, and learning from each experience.

        In one of the last job interviews I had some years ago I was asked to list some of my strengths, and with 27 years of engineering experience at that point, what popped into my head was ”Experience & Perspective” that apparently worked, since I got the job at the salary I was asking. While I can’t tote that barge and lift that bale like I did decades ago, I still accomplish a lot since I have a bit more money, less expenses, and a lot more knowledge and skill, so don’t count out the old people. Often that perspective is one of the most important things.

        I have not, do not and never will live in an HOA community or even in an urban or suburban situation for that matter, since I have seen too many people in those places where those who want to control become the Gestapo as someone else already mentioned.

        From the article:

        Many times these HOAs also provide a number of amenities to the people living in the community. They might have a clubhouse which can be used for parties and events, a swimming pool or a golf course. Some provide exterior maintenance, taking care of lawns and exterior painting, especially in the cases of townhomes.

        I haven’t had a mortgage for 20 years and already pay rent to the county as Real Estate Taxes, so why would I want to pay rent to another pseudo government agency. We still do most everything around the property from mowing to painting to basic repairs; but, for those things I cannot do, I have great friends and neighbors and in the case where I might have to pay a professional, that yearly tab is far less than the HOA fees. As for town homes or condominiums, they NEVER made sense to me. You essentially purchase an apartment for a large sum of money, and then continue to pay taxes and rent (err. HOA dues) LOL.

        You don’t have any option about joining a HOA. If you buy a home which is within the bounds of the HOA’s territory, which will be clearly defined, you are automatically a member, complete with having to pay your membership dues and follow their rules.

        That’s why even the mention of ”HOA” taught me to run away. In my case I have country acreage; but, even here with no HOA’s within 15 or more miles, you need to check things like zoning, easements, and mineral rights. There is a state highway that runs along my eastern frontage, and while I own to the middle of that highway, the state has an easement for the southbound lane. In return, they keep the road maintained and clear off all of the ice & snow in the winter.

        If you do that, don’t wait for the closing, when they will give you a copy of the rules. Rather, get your real estate agent to get you a copy immediately so that you can read them. Some HOA rules may restrict important things that you might want to do as a prepper.

        Your list is rather good; but, needs to add antennas. I’ve helped train and license quite a few new hams in the past years, and often they live in a complex or subdivision with an HOA and are hard pressed to get on the air. This has however, made many, experts at the stealth antenna, LOL.

        Should things turn ugly, such as from almost any of the TEOTWAWKI events that we talk about in the prepping community, a HOA might provide you with a community that could help you survive.

        I may just be an old curmudgeon; but, my perspectives on the matter are that people comfortable in suburbia with an HOA and no chance of a garden, are not likely to be of much use in an EOTW scenario, with the possible exception of some who may be medically trained, such as a Doctor, Nurse, NP, or Paramedic.

        Granted, this might end up being more trouble than it’s worth; but hear me out. In our society today, it is rare that people get to know their neighbors. In most neighborhoods, the advent of a major disaster would pit neighbors against each other, as soon as supplies started to run out.

        This is obviously the perspective of a city dweller. Here in my rural community, there are neighbors who live as close as 100 yards and as far away as 5 or more miles; but, we all know each other and our respective families, and often get together to help one another.

        In short, HOA’s are for people who cannot get along, and need some overarching authority to babysit their neighbors.

        Reply to this comment
    • TruthB Told May 23, 17:36

      I am an “older” person (71) and there is no way in hell I will live in an HOA (aka: Communist) controlled society. I like my freedom. Thank you very much !

      Reply to this comment
      • The Ohio Prepper May 24, 20:44

        TruthB Told,

        I am an “older” person (71) and there is no way in hell I will live in an HOA

        I’m a younger guy @ only68; but, I know oldsters who both like the HOA and complain about it. One guy is 74 and a ham operator who move from a big house in the country into a condominium complex with and HOA and a yearly upkeep fee. He now has to play games to use his radios and complains incessantly, even though we warned him.
        He says it’s nice to have someone else do the maintenance; but, when confronted with the fact that his yearly maintenance fees could have been paid to someone to do the maintenance on his rural property, he blows us off. I guess the truth hurts. We live rural and have been on this property for the last 35 years. I will leave here in a body bag; but, hopefully not for quite some time.

        Reply to this comment
        • Lisa May 25, 17:28

          I agree with you. I’m fixing up for long after my lifetime. Daddy was in his ninetys i have many years to go.

          Reply to this comment
    • Kris May 27, 02:04

      I live in a gated community with a HOA, and mostly love it here. None of my neighbors know I am a prepper Of course I don’t have chickens though.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Chick May 2, 16:17

    I understand the intent of a homeowner’s association, but I also recognize the bs that goes with them. I will not be a part of one, and I will not help people, after hurricanes and such, that cannot take care of themselves, because they chose to be a part of one, and not to be able to take care of themselves.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Bear May 2, 16:23

    I can see the reason for having HOA’s but as with everything they take it to the extreme. I would never live in one.

    Reply to this comment
  7. MrMMG May 2, 16:37

    @Raven tactical I agree with you that HOA’s are not conducive to an independent lifestyle. Some people like them for the services provided, especially retirees, but it’s not the place for a prepper. I would say this, just as I wouldn’t want an HOA in my neighborhood…those who join an HOA should understand what that entails, don’t complain after the fact. You signed your name, you live under the rules. As I said, not something I’m interested in, but if that’s what someone wants, they should go in with their eyes open.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Janeth May 2, 16:59

    HOA’s are run by the most incompetent individuals.As for it’s being a community government, that’s basically a communist totalitarian entity controlling your every move. We are selling our lovely condo because of our Gestapo, who wrote us up for having a hose connected to our outdoor water spigot (yes, really!) and for having brick paving within our 3 feet outside that was in the ground from the previous owners two years ago, and they are just now getting around to bitching about it. HOA’s are the absolute WORST,run by extremely incompetent because no one else wants the job. If you are an HOA board member, you suck, too. If you fart too loud here, that’s a write up. It makes me so angry I want to paint my front door purple to signify a witch lives here…

    Reply to this comment
  9. I don't hate my HOA May 2, 17:12

    I like this article, and I appreciate that the author points out the good an HOA is capable of.

    In our case, we have a parcel in an HOA and a nearby unrestricted parcel. The HOA parcel is good for living on, but is limited in size. The unrestricted parcel is more rugged, but is good for agriculture, shop space, and storage.

    Our HOA has a 1-page list of covenants that is very simple and basically asks homeowners for dues and help to maintain the common gravel road and not do anything too obnoxious or property-devaluing. The latest 3 people who have bought into the community are prepping-minded, and many of the old timers are scrappy and self-reliant. Members have chickens, goats, ham radio antennas, and farm their HOA land. It is not too large, at about 2 dozen members. It feels like this HOA will easily support each other in a disaster, and is growing more tightly knit over time.

    To help the rules to stay prepper-friendly, we are active in the HOA and encourage those of like mind to do the same. It can be challenging to find the right balance of OPSEC and openness, but we believe we can gain a lot of benefit from helping to keep rules to a minimum, and having neighbors that know us and look out for us instead of viewing us as mysterious outsiders.

    So, if you are considering property in an HOA, I suggest not rejecting it out of hand. Talk to the leaders of the HOA to see how it feels and how open it is to a self-reliant lifestyle. If you have an HOA in rural territory, it may have more of the good than the bad qualities.

    If you can also get some nearby unrestricted land, even if it’s not good enough to live on but would be good for prepping, so much the better, as it provides some insurance against the HOA taking a bad turn, which can happen despite your best efforts.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Ben May 2, 17:36

    HOA is not my cup of tea.

    Reply to this comment
  11. Nolan Conley May 2, 18:13

    Used to live in an HOA community. Hated it. I’m an individual and don’t do “group think” very well. Now I’m happy on my 2 acres and the only one I have to please is my wife. She’s our HOA now.

    Reply to this comment
  12. left coast chuck May 2, 20:38

    the one big problem I see with “group think” aka HOA, is that in the event of a major catastrophic event, yes, folks will want to come together, but then those who have will be expected to share with those who do not have. “We are all part of the group, share and share alike.”

    That may sound good in theory, but we all know from our experience that there are those who take and take and take and never have anything “to share” because they are takers only. If you live in a lower income HOA, they are the ones on assistance and never seem to be able to find gainful employment. (Good old predictive changed “gainful” to “painful” which probably is closer to the truth.)

    If you are in an affluent HOA, they are the ones who take an expensive cruise every year, vacation in some tropical area a couple of times every winter and, of course, manage a couple of ski trips every winter but never had money to buy food for storage because she “wasn’t a very good cook” so they ate out most of the time, except for occasionally barbecuing steak on the patio.

    But come the end of the world and you are going to be expected to share with the group, including the ones who never “managed to have enough money to buy expensive stocks of food, etc.” After all, it is only fair and right if you live in the group that you share with the group.

    My daughter owns property in an HOA as does my son because they live in the bluest part of the bluest state, the San Francisco area of the PDRK.

    As for me, thanks, but no thanks. I’ll put up with the neighbor who doesn’t keep his lawn looking like a major golf course. It may turn out that’s because he is busy putting emergency supplies away and learning new survival skills.

    Reply to this comment
    • TheSouthernNationalist May 5, 14:05

      Agreed, Id rather be happy living next to that sloppy neighbor and doing as I please with no interference.
      Also, certain types of shrubs planted along the property line grow very tall if one doesnt want to look at said neighbor.

      Reply to this comment
  13. Chuckles May 2, 21:38

    Our senior 55 plus is pretty liberal here in Yuma. We have rain barrels, my ham station, a veggie garden, even solar panels.

    No sweat, but it pays to check

    Reply to this comment
  14. Lisa May 2, 21:59

    Well I moved to a POA, Property Owner’s Association. I was very skeptical when I saw dues. What am I getting. Yes, I read the document carefully before I signed on my property. The dues are per year, per acre. Actually, they aren’t really restrictive. We have a mini “facebook” called nextdoor neighbors. Every so often we get the “snowflakes” complaining about a neighbor. Call the sheriff if you can’t resolve it. As for our animals, there are different standards for livestock vs pets. One snowflake was shutdown. trespassing is trespassing. you have no right to “inspect” another persons barn or animals.

    No rules on how many trees, yes, some restrictions on animal numbers, but rarely enforced; again livestock maintenance is not pets. I’m trying to fit in this rural setting.

    Reply to this comment
  15. IvyMike May 3, 01:10

    We bought into a working class community of starter homes on several acres 15 years ago. The builder didn’t want to maintain roads and streetlights so we voted on forming an HOA to take care of it. HOA lost, HOA went down like Sonny Liston in the 2nd fight, so we have no street lights and crappy roads, but it’s worth it.. For a few years we had some seriously irresponsible
    neighbors and a lot of properties junked up as people went into foreclosure, but the last 5 years property values have doubled, neighbors are more financially secure, and the place overall looks great, maybe a half dozen houses out of 120 that are still trashed.
    So far as an HOA fostering ‘community’, years ago I built outdoor kitchens at a Robson Ranch, the HOA there was headquartered in the Reich Chancellery Bunker, they actually had people who would go out in the middle of the night and secretly measure the chimney height of outdoor fireplaces we were building. They had to have a Deputy Sheriff at meetings to keep the old coots from throwing down on each other. HOA is by design an adversarial system, don’t think you could ever get one to create positive relationships in the neighborhood.
    Funny but true, there’s a nut to butt development near us that is having a raging debate on the Neighbors website over the Stars and Bars. The HOA bylaws there allow one to display a flag, and the current HOA President (be great if he was Pres. Davis) has decided that includes the good old Battle Flag.

    Reply to this comment
  16. Elaine May 3, 15:48

    They are loathsome! My daughter lives in one. Last year, they were told to ”resod” their lawn. This year, they need to ”restucco their house.” The rules are insane. NO storage sheds! I’m looking for a home and my first question is ”is there an HOA?” If yes, dealbreaker; no reason to look further! And then what gets me, is they get PAID to make your life hell! And frickin raises! The only ones I don’t mind is if they are for road upkeep/maintenance ONLY and the charge is minimal, and they actually keep the road up. It’s like, there are already WAY too many people you have to ”obey!” Feds, state, county, city! Don’t need frickin wannabe buttheads. I mean, they are like ”just because we can!” That attitude is not one I deal with easily! (not to mention voluntarily!)

    Reply to this comment
  17. TheSouthernNationalist May 5, 13:42

    Most folks that live in an HOA are “upper class” snobs that look down on the common folk so I doubt you will find much prepper material there.
    Better off to move to the country, get to know those neighbors and enjoy life doing as you please.

    Reply to this comment
  18. JohnD May 23, 15:43

    My wife wants us to move to Hawaii when we retire. It’s very hard to find a home for under $1M in Hawaii that doesn’t have an HOA. Are they mostly far-left-wing kooks there? It seems like it.

    Reply to this comment
    • The Ohio Prepper May 24, 21:01

      JohnD,

      My wife wants us to move to Hawaii when we retire. It’s very hard to find a home for under $1M in Hawaii that doesn’t have an HOA. Are they mostly far-left-wing kooks there? It seems like it.

      That is my understanding. My kid sister is retired Army, spent her last 9 years there in SOCPAC, and couldn’t wait to get back to the mainland. Their gun laws are horrific and since everything is brought in by boat or plane, very expensive.
      The climate is perfect for critters like termites, so everything is built with some form of concrete or treated lumber, all imported from the mainland and high cost.
      We vacationed there in 2008 for 10 days and had a great time, staying with my sister, who also acted as chauffeur and tour guide. It was a fun vacation; but, not someplace I would like to live. My sister now lives and works in Florida, where you can drive to the main land and aren’t surrounded by as much water.
      Prices are also not nearly as bad, since you are not quite the captive audience.
      OTOH, she had military friends whose last tour ended there and they simply retired and stayed.
      YMMV; but, that’s my experience and opinion.

      Reply to this comment
View comments

Write a comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*

Follow Us