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Homeowner associations are a tactic used by real estate developers, money-grubbing parasites, and neo-fascists to get around doing any actual work in maintaining their properties and to create a semi-cult-like community. Many of these associations pass themselves off as a religion in order to gain tax exemptions and the right to declare a Holy War on all those who do not meet their standards and expectations. The modern day associations are populated almost solely by Yuppies who will demand your house be painted the correct shade of white (which is eggshell white).
edit Origin of Homeowner Associations
In the wonderful and wealthy late 1920's and early 1930's there was a worldwide collapse of the economy known as the Great Depression. During this time many people began to seek out new homes and developments for reasons that are not entirely clear, but are though to include: they were rich and prosperous, they wanted to have a nice summer home, they had made millions in the stock market crash, they lost everything by investing money in something even less tangible and worthless than money, they were tired of people jumping off of buildings and landing in their front lawns, and so on.
Many of these plucky and happy folks with no money left began to move out of the drab and grayish city buildings, and took on a new style of architecture that mainly consisted of creating small one room homes out of trash. These small rubbish heaps that doubled as abodes quickly became very popular as millions of people all over the world caught up with the new age styling and became impoverished. However, as the junk-and-debris style increased in popularity, people in the little communes where such architectural wonders were erected began taking liberties in the way they constructed and kept their homes. To put it shortly, they were making the junkhouses look like crap.
So, with encouragement from the American Nazi Party, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and other such reactionary elements; the first Homeowner's Association was formed. The association consisted of all people whose houses were built "correctly" and "architecturally pure" while rejecting all owners of houses that did not meet these standards. The association was then allowed to patrol around the community, knock on your door, tell you why your house sucked, and fine you some exorbitant that probably was greater than the cost of your home. Although the trash-house communes died out around the time people started to actually make money again, the homeowner's associations persisted.
edit Modern Homeowner's Associations
As the homeowner's associations are always featured in the more popular real-estate venues of the era, it is natural to find them mainly around condos where rich yuppies live. After the canonization of the homeowner's associations as holy councils in Yuppyism, a religion that revolves around Starbucks and L.L. Bean, they began to get a large increase in numbers. They fit perfectly well with the yuppie's ideals, as under their outer sugar-coating of liberalism and tolerance; they are actually reactionary, authoritative types who demand the conformity of all people they have to come in contact with.
It is very difficult to live in a development with homeowner's associations, as not living in perfect conformity and abiding by every regulation will result in a visit from one of the members. They'll walk up and knock on your door and say:
Hi, I'm Trent and I just wanted to tell you that your grass is 1.56 inches high, but according to regulation it's only supposed to be 1.5 inches high. I realize this is your first infraction, so the fine will only cost you about two-hundred-and-thir... Wait what's that back there? You can't have more than one display rack on your wall! I'm going to have to report this and...
By the end of Trent's little visit, you'll end up paying at least a thousand dollars in fines, but luckily for you this money is going to the GREATER GOOD which is Trent's way of telling you that you're buying his new car. Incidentally, there have been a large number of dead homeowner's association members who seemed to have somehow angered the resident of one of the houses. Studies are still being done to determine what caused this anger.
Homeowner's associations in the past only really checked to see if your house's architecture matched the "pure architecture" they had come up with. This was in no way biased or skewed by any of the association's agents and was not some sort of popularity contest with a thin facade of legitimacy thrown over it like a blanket over a dead hooker in the back of a politician's van. Not at all.
After much hemming and hawing and realizing that the Nazis had lost the war, most homeowner's associations decided to make themselves look a tad more legitimate by forming some actual code of regulations that should be followed. So they decided to add in as many rules as possible, because the more violations they could generate the more money they could get. In the end, most of the associations' rulebooks have more volumes than the Encyclopedia Britannica. The following is an excerpt from Volume 57 of the Wazelbang Homeowner's Association:
...no more than 8.5 inches and no less than 10.3 inches. 3.6.A.i: Lawn gnomes should be placed in pairs of three so that they form right, isosceles triangles except on Thursdays in which they are to be rearranged in an oblate spheroid upon the resident's lawn such that exactly one gnome touches the sidewalk. 3.6.A.ii: Failure to rearrange the gnomes as indicated in section 3.6.A.i when moving from Wednesday to Thursday or Thursday to Friday at the exact moment the day changes will result in a fine that will be separate from the fine given simply because the gnomes aren't in the right order to begin with. 3.6.B.i: Defecation upon another resident's lawn should...
and so on.
edit Criticizers of Homeowner's Associations
As hippies tend to dislike most overly idiotic rules and regulations, the vast and incomprehensible rules of a homeowner's association do not appeal to them. They believe that people should live as they want, and that is not how a homeowner's association works. In a recent interview, the president of the Kinderfleisch Homeowner's Association stated that: "We purge the Earth of every hippie we can find and build boring real estate on their graves." The president of this association also throws stones at non-whites before going to Starbucks and talking about the need for equality.
The AARP and Liberty Medical sent their walrus/spokesperson/angry-diabetic Wilford Brimley to one homeowner's association where he verbally eviscerated them for various reasons, most of them being that both diabetics and old people can get pretty damn ornery. Directly after the verbal thrashing, Brimley proceeded to physically eviscerate one of the members and eat his pancreas. After looking back on this event, the reporters agree that you should not provoke Wilford Brimley.
Anyone with half a brain generally criticizes these backwards organizations because, well, they consist of backwards, stuck-up, pompous snobs that think the best way to move forward is to stifle creativity and breed intolerance in little stagnant communities like mosquitoes breed in stagnant swamps.