Control of one’s home is one of the most fundamental understandings in the United States. When the country was a mostly agrarian society, people would spend hours repairing fences to protect their properties, regardless of how such property was obtained. As society progressed, people were still able to control the appearances of their homes. Unfortunately, fewer residents maintain their personal autonomy because of the way land use is currently being planned, i.e. moving towards planned development units (PUDs) instead of just real estate that people can purchase. Not being able to use front yards for food production when there are international food shortages demonstrates a lack of respect for the personal rights of homeowners.
Some homeowners’ associations (HOAs) have stipulations on types of grass and fertilizers which can be used, but the goal is uniformity, not attractiveness. When residents desire to express their own flair through their gardens, they have become more restricted due to what the HOA declares to be the most standard. When local government entities pass watering rules, residents are often frustrated by followup visits from HOA about their yards not being appropriately watered. It is discouraging to consider that even after one works hard to acquire financing for a home, a group of strangers could still ultimately hold the keys.
HOAs in wealthier communities often have stricter rules because of the expectation that people in upper echelons have the same standards for what is attractive. If a tech guru discovers how to jury-rig solar panels and reduce energy costs, that person could get sued by the HOA if the roof looks different. Wealthy environmentalists may be blocked in attempting to store rainwater unless they keep all of their storage containers in their backyards. The overwhelming message is that everyone can be individual, but no one is allowed to observe originality.
Money is the hammer which drives the nail of coercion in PUDs across the nation. If HOAs are unhappy with one’s choice of paint, the residents can get sued to enforce the agreement until they comply. If the HOA decides that one is too social and has too much company, the HOA could instill stricter parking guidelines at a meeting that prevent certain types of gatherings. Unless local government entities work to create rules against such behaviors, owning a home should be no goal for people with lower incomes.