The concept of the HOA grew the most in popularity following the growth of suburbanization the 1950s and 1960s. Since then, many suburban subdivisions are now either directly controlled by HOA employees (such as through a property manager), or contract with a management company. The HOA and its rules control the lives of all residents, and the HOA can overreach to such an extent that borders on the absurd.
Life in an HOA community can and do become micromanaged to a very great extent. If uniformity, conformity, and convenience are the most important values of a resident’s life, then living in a community with an HOA can bring many benefits. Property values in the entire community tend to be lockstep, and property owners can expect a certain level of maintenance performed to combat the lack of diligence by any one homeowner. Community amenities, such as recreational halls and pools, can improve the quality of life for residents.
The risk to micromanagement is that while great power requires great responsibility, HOAs can and do abuse power without any of its board members taking a shred of responsibility. HOAs are generally private entities run by board members. I shudder to think about the type of personalities who can be attracted towards contributing the amount of time and energy it takes to micromanage by serving on an HOA board. There are most certainly many civic-minded residents who take pride in maintaining a good community, but I also have dealt with many people with serious control issues who feel that being a petty despot as an HOA board member is their life’s calling. If folks of the latter type control a board, even the most inconsequential issues can become a nightmare. Do not just take my word for it; read for yourself real-life examples of HOA overreach: