The History of Homeowners’ Associations

If you’ve ever wanted to install a privacy gate, but your Homeowners Association (HOA) has strict rules against it, you may be wondering how this bane came to be. There are an estimated 351,000 HOAs across America representing about 40 million homeowners. The group that many people despise actually came to be at a time when keeping a particular race or ethnic group out of certain neighborhoods was commonplace. When the 1960s rolled around, the U.S. was still in that postwar boom mentality, and suburban developments spread like wildfire. That’s when HOAs began to form as new communities were trying to figure out how they could keep the “undesirables” out without being sued. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was enacted under the Johnson administration, and that’s what started the ball rolling for the HOAs. Today, the focus of HOAs isn’t so much to ensure equal housing opportunities as it is for smaller and pettier things, like making sure nobody paints their house Barbie pink.