Complications an HOA brings to prepping

Where I am looking to buy a house either has areas without a Home Owners Association and the neighborhood is pretty run down or houses in an HOA that are nice and well kept. Looks like HOAs attract certain people and do their job at keeping up the curb appeal.

Now I am a person who will keep up their house. It will always be sharp and clean looking, HOA or not. And I want to live in a neighborhood with like minded people who feel the same way. BUT…. from what I am seeing, HOA’s also bring with them some not so friendly rules that would make me feel restrictive and also not allow me to prepare how I would like.

I asked my realtor to pull the HOA rules for two properties I was looking at. And just for an example, both site that only domesticated animals were permitted, which means I cannot have backyard chickens. And one said you cannot erect a tent on the property. I get it, no having loud and messy animals or turning your house into a dump with bunches of tents and temporary shelters. I see why they said those things, but at the same time that means I cannot even go practice camping in my backyard?

For those who live in an HOA, do you find it restrictive to your normal life and also to your prepping life?


  • Comments (9)

    • 6

      It’s a matter of priorities, perspective, and reading the tea leaves.

      I lived in a neighborhood with an HOA focused on aesthetics and keeping up home values. It was beautiful. But as I thought about events that would most likely visit my part of the world, that lovely neighborhood seemed artificial, unsustainable, and vulnerable. The homeowner rules were written in the before times.

      Where I live, not just drought but a permanently dry climate looms. There just won’t be water to keep up appearances like we used to.

      In addition, I’m not so optimistic about the stability of our economy. I’d like to have backup when the price of food increases.

      So I moved.

      My new neighborhood is messy. Weeds mostly. Some front yards completely covered with them. Lots of trees and shrubs desperately need haircuts.

      Of course my project is taking a lot longer than I anticipated. It’s an organic process. The land tells me, step by step, what I need to do next. In the meantime, it isn’t pretty, but I won’t get hassled while I build my sustainable little suburban farm.

    • 2

      I have lots of tents which I use from time to time in locations well away from my house.  That’s why I have them.  You HOA rule doesn’t seem unduly restrictive.

      I am in earthquake country and some day I might well be pitching a tent or two on my property.  I don’t think any rules against tents would matter then.

      You don’t need a tent to camp out.  I have done without many times.

    • 2

      We do have some housing developments in the UK that have restrictive covenants regarding what you can do with the exterior of the property and do not allow business use beyond a home office. Sometimes it just something small like keeping front gardens open plan, other times it might be a quiet enjoyment clause that means neighbours complaining if you even fart loudly. I wouldn’t like to live with what I consider to be oppressive rules and complaining neighbours.

      I live out in the sticks with no near neighbours, I own all the land around me and control the access road. I can keep all the animals I choose and no one cares if I make noise.

    • 4

      My HOA has a project in process to improve drainage and reduce our neighborhood’s flood risk. The HOA is doing substantial prepping on my behalf, and I’m happy to support that effort with HOA dues.

      We often talk here about the value of working together as a community. That’s exactly what an HOA is for. Instead of thinking about HOAs being good or bad, look for an HOA that you feel you can work with rather than against. Then devote some time to attending board meetings and making sure that your concerns are addressed.

    • 4

      Thank you everyone for the thoughts and perspectives. I should find one that isn’t too demanding or restrictive but instead increases the property value and maybe aids in my prepping in ways I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

    • 4

      Mike, good for you for thinking about this issue before you buy a home. In the past, I lived in a 12-unit condo complex with an HOA. I found 12 owners to be too few to have a decent pool of volunteer officers for the HOA board. Poor management ensued.

      In the more distant past, I lived in a large complex with 250 to 300 units. Those owners were able to hire a professional manager (maybe part time, I don’t know) to handle administrative matters. There was still a volunteer HOA board. The talent pool for the board counts for a lot. I found the housing development better than the smaller one in that regard. Best wishes in your quest.

      • 2

        I meant to type that I found the larger housing development better than the smaller one in that regard.

    • 2

      Another comment — Check for any restrictions on using the units as short-term vacation rentals. More restrictive is better for your quality of life.

    • 3

      Talk to the HOA president or board member(s) and ask what recent infractions they have had to deal with. My experience is that HOA rules are more about the spirit than the letter of the law–the rules are designed for the long term and interpreted that way. So our rules ban tents, drying items outside, etc. But no one has ever complained when I’ve dried my dog’s beds outside or let some towels air dry–the rules are just trying to prevent permanent clothes lines. Our rules ban tents but people put them up for parties, kids backyard camping nights, etc–the rules are trying to prevent long term tents staying up.