Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.”     Milton Friedman

January 6, 2010

Find Out What Happens When HOAs Stop Being Polite — And Start Getting Real

by Brad Warbiany

Homeowner associations [HOAs] are a bit of a prickly issue for libertarians. On one hand, they are voluntary, so you don’t have to choose to move into an area that has one. On the other hand, they are common enough (and arbitrarily nasty enough in many situations) that it is a significant limit to purchasing decisions to avoid them. Further, choosing a home with an HOA does not necessarily mean that the HOA you move into will resemble itself 5 or 10 years down the road — it may be much more restrictive. Much like local control of politics and federalism, choice is better than non-choice, but at the same time when a libertarian sees an organization that infringes upon property rights, the libertarian bristles.

Occasionally, though, an HOA does something worthy of genuine outrage. Especially when they do so in a callous and inhuman manner, which is the case here:

Kimberly, a 6-year-old in the custody of her grandparents, is facing eviction by local law enforcement because her grandparents live in a retirement community. The child has lived in the house her whole life, as her mother is unable to care for her due to unspecified drug problems. Now authorities plan to remove the girl from the only home she’s ever known and place her in foster care with strangers due to a homeowners association policy.

Kimberly’s grandparents, Jimmy and Judie Stottler, have been unable to sell their home and move elsewhere due to the housing market crash. The Stottlers have even lowered the price from $225,000 to $129,000, willing to get completely hosed on the move just to keep their family intact, but no one is buying. The battle has been going on for several years, the better portion of Kimberly’s life, but the Stottlers are of limited resources to fight the situation.

That’s bad. But this quote (from the HOA president) is the truly callous part:

“No, the sheriff will. I will merely be the President of the Board who is trying to enforce the policies of our association that she agreed to when she moved in.”

Yes, you’re not the one throwing a six-year-old girl out of the only home she’s ever known, and the care of two loving “parents” who never expected a child to be thrust upon them to be raised because her biological parent had abdicated all responsibility. You’re not responsible, it’s all the sheriff — who just happens to be acting on the orders you gave him. What’s the life of a small child worth? Obviously not as much as your rules.

I’ve never understood how the acquisition of a little bit of power can seemingly remove someone’s sense of humanity. Maybe this douchebag never had it to begin with?

TrackBack URI: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2010/01/06/find-out-what-happens-when-hoas-stop-being-polite-and-start-getting-real/trackback/
Read more posts from
• • •

4 Comments

  1. They can’t make an exception for a little girl? Won’t they think of the children? That seems quite harsh.

    I think they should be sued for discrimination. How would it look if a home association made a rule that nobody was allowed to live in the community if they were over the age of 65?

    Comment by Peter — January 6, 2010 @ 5:39 pm
  2. Libertarian notions of ideal contract law enforcement aside, this kind of thing will probably get shot down in court sometime soon. Imagine if the policies of the association specified “no blacks” or something similar.

    Comment by tfr — January 7, 2010 @ 7:05 am
  3. Covenants can be amended…I would assume the grandparents attempted that route and were unsuccessful. If that’s the case it says a lot about their neighbors and HOA board.

    Comment by SC — January 7, 2010 @ 7:18 am
  4. [...] Find Out What Happens When HOAs Stop Being Polite — And Start Getting Real [...]

    Pingback by Power Corrupts — January 7, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

Comments RSS

Subscribe without commenting

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by: WordPress • Template by: Eric • Banner #1, #3, #4 by Stephen Macklin • Banner #2 by Mark RaynerXML