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The Internet Is Once Again Coming Together Over Its Shared Hatred of Homeowners Associations

Aerial shot of a housing subdivision with tons of pools in backyards

Few things bring the internet together like our collective hatred of homeowners associations.

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Maybe HOAs have some redeeming qualities. I mean, they were created for a reason, right? (Spoiler: It was racism.) But mostly, they give us stories of power-hungry groups trying to micromanage every element of people’s lives, like this Am I the Asshole submission on reddit from someone who just wants to have three dogs instead of the stated limit of two:

First of all, kudos to that person for executing their canine Parent Trap plan so well that only one extremely nosy neighbor noticed. (Realistically, more people probably noticed but knew how to mind their own business about things that in no way affect them.)

Not only is this neighbor complaining on Nextdoor (strike one) to get the attention of the HOA (strike two) but she’s doing all of this over a dog (strike one million). What is her end goal here? To force this person to give up one of their dogs? That’s next-level awful.

HOAs are known for being a micromanaging nuisance, forcing residents to adhere to a strict code of tidiness. They can prohibit people from painting their houses certain colors or fine homeowners for not mowing their lawn or taking in their trash bins fast enough after pickup. They’re a nuisance but they also have a really sinister origin. They were created in the early and mid-20th century specifically as a way to establish and maintain segregated communities, especially in the suburbs. By being able to control who could buy a home, HOAs could redline Black people, Jewish people, and other marginalized communities out of their neighborhoods.

Today, HOAs’ power might be more relegated to microaggressions than full-on overt segregation, but they’re still about wielding power over residents for the purposes of “respectability.” At least they give us a common enemy to rally against, whether you’re part of the approximately 53% of homes governed by an HOA or just like seeing them rightfully dragged online.

(via AITA on Twitter, image: Avi Waxman on Unsplash)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.