Friday, February 25, 2011

The (mandatory) green grass of Privatopia

Homeowners who suffer from brown lawns are being told to dye their lawn green. If they don't, they are in violation of the homeowners association's rules and restrictions, and there could be consequences.

Neighborhood resident Bev McLain said, "We were very surprised that we would have to do this. I've never heard of dying your lawn green. This is our second notice; with the third they threaten to take you to court."
As the perfessor said, you can't make this stuff up. It really happens. Looks like another HOA -- this one in Arizona -- is going to get its turn in the harsh glare of negative media coverage.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just another isolated incident - affecting 100% of the owners.

I am reminded by a court's statements in a Texas case:

"Thus the law will not declare a thing a nuisance because it is unsightly or disfigured, because it is not in a proper or suitable condition, or because it is unpleasant to the eye and a violation of the rules of propriety and good taste, for the law does not cater to men's tastes or consult their convenience merely, but only guards and upholds their material rights, and shields them from unwarrantable invasion."

The HOA industry has strived to make anything eligible as a private nuisance based purely on the alleged aesthetic viewpoint of those that do not own the property. Also noted in a related case: "no Texas court has ever recognized a nuisance claim based upon aesthetical complaints and notes that, in fact, numerous courts have specifically rejected the premises behind such a claim.....the law will not declare a thing a nuisance because . . . it is unpleasant to the eye...sound public policy supports such a rule because notions of beauty or unsightliness are necessarily subjective in nature and that giving someone an aesthetic veto over a neighbor's use of his land would be a recipe for legal chaos." Rankin v. FPL Energy, (11th Ct Appeal - Aug 21, 2008)

Chaos, of course, is precisely what trade groups of management companies and attorneys seek to create for profit at the expense of the owners. If a court can speak to this issue in 2008, it is odd that courts have tolerated the HOA industry mantra at all. In combination with the clear utter economic failure of the HOA model, I think I smell the beginning of the end of the HOA empire.