Do HOA’s Hamper Voluntary Simplicity?

by Tammy Taylor~

*this post may contain affiliate links

 

I’ve never belonged to an HOA – all of my previous residences while living in the city were either apartments or tract home neighborhoods in middle class parts of town, so I have no experience with an HOA.  What I do have experience with is writing this little ole Simple Living blog (Ok, only for 3 years so I’m certainly no expert or anything, but…)  Topics on my blog include how to use simple effective methods to complete tasks.

You know, like one of my favorites – hanging our laundry under that beautiful blue Texas sky.   Solar power is free and (breathe deep) that wonderful aroma of sunshine that just can’t be replicated from a commercial product.  But more & more I get questions from people who live in an HOA area, people who say they’d love to do either this or that but can’t because of their HOA restrictions.  So I thought perhaps this might be a good place for a Q&A both to and from Home Owner Association members – share your experience.

Do you live in an HOA area? How do you practice voluntary simplicity while staying within the rules? Weigh in & help others! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Simple Life, HOA Style

I’ve always considered that you can walk that voluntary simplicity path wherever you are.  I’m so blessed to finally be living out here in the country.  Here I have so many simplicity options available to me, but t’werent always so.

In the past I’ve lived in either a multi-story apartment building or a suburban single-resident home.  But with each home I’ve lived in I’ve taken the steps toward simplicity that were available to me at the time.

A few pots of herbs could be grown on the balcony of my apartment.  And it was easy learning to make my own cleaning solutions.

Once I moved to a suburban home I could grow a nice-sized garden, use my retractable 2-line clothesline to dry my laundry.  I honed my skills in learning to cook more & more from scratch.

Now that I live in the county I’m able to plant a large garden watered only by rainwater that’s been captured & diverted to our underground cistern.  I can finally have a free-ranging flock of hens to provide both bug control as well as fresh healthy eggs.  And I’m even able use fresh milk from our own cows on occasion when making my own single-serve homemade yogurt in reusable 1/2 pint canning jars.

Each of my home locations offered different baby-step opportunities.  But again, I’ve never been restricted by a Home Owner’s Association’s rules.

Do What You Can Within HOA Restrictions

Sometimes it just takes thinking outside the box.  Some things to consider, just to get the creative juices flowing…

What HOA restrictions have you been able to circumvent to continue strolling down a simple-life path? Weigh in and help others! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Although I’ve already polled our Facebook Followersyou can help too!!  What restrictions has your HOA placed on you that you’ve been able to circumvent to continue strolling down a simple-life path?  Now this isn’t meant to be a HOA bashing session.  Just helpful hints to inspire others to go ahead & live the simple life within HOA restrictions…

Other than the things listed, what else can you think of?

~TMH~

C’mon by & sit a spell!  Come hang out at our ~TMH~ Facebook Page . It’s like sitting in a front porch rocker with a glass of cold iced tea.  There are lots of good folks sharing!  You can also follow along on Pinterest, Twitter or GooglePlus. If you’d like to receive an email each time a new blog post goes live it’s EASY to subscribe to our blog!

 

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16 thoughts on “Do HOA’s Hamper Voluntary Simplicity?

  1. Cindy Gill

    I would love to downsize; however, I have 2 chickens and the 55+ communities with the HOA’s are too restrictive. I love my girls and enjoy raising them, but I have more house than I need. It’s a shame that these neighborhoods are so strict. That is pretty much what is holding me back right now from moving. I’ve seen some nice homes that I like, but I don’t want to be under someone else’s rule.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve never lived in an HOA area Cindy, but from what I’m hearing many HOA’s are getting the message. Although they still restrict roosters, many HOA’s now allow a few hens. Fingers crossed you find the perfect fit for you. ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. shelley

    For a couple of years we lived in a neighborhood with an HOA and hated it! When we moved, a non-HOA neighborhood was an absolute must. Now that we live out in the middle of nowhere in the Texas panhandle, people just ask, “What’s an HOA?” and it’s wonderful!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      LOL Shelley. Although there are many advantages to an HOA, they’re certainly not for everyone. ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Carol@blueskykitchen

    Tammy, I’m loving this topic. We live in an HOA, gated community and there are pluses ~it’s gated, someone mows and blows your front yard, the mail boxes are kept painted and there are no RV’s or boats sitting out front. We had one BIG issue with ours about 6 months after we moved in: I’ve taught cooking classes out of our home for years and many people in this neighborhood had attended classes at our previous home and even more knew about it before we moved in. But someone (never to be revealed) didn’t like the fact that I had a business in my home and people came to my home and I had to give them the gate code. (Not like the FedEx, plumbers, friends, maids, dog sitters don’t know the code.) I had to go before the HOA board and plead my case. In the end, they just asked that I not mention a price for the classes on my website. No big deal, but it still put a bad taste in my mouth. I also don’t like the fact that I can’t ever have a garage sale, unless you are moving out of the neighborhood. I’m just venting! I like our neighbors and love our house.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ve never lived in an HOA Carol but I know there are many benefits to them. With the benefits come some downfalls though since not everyone will see things the same as their neighbors. BUT my hope is that we can open some dialogue so that HOA dwellers can share the benefit of their experience in how they were able to continue on their simple life journey even within the confines of HOA rules. Thanks for sharing your story. ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Next to Natural

    This is an interesting post, one that I’ve never thought of before! Thanks for sharing at Simply Natural Saturdays!

    Reply
  5. Pingback: Homemade Monday week 184 - Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity

  6. Carol

    I guess I’m the odd person out, but we would only consider buying a house that was in an HOA neighborhood. We appreciate that we don’t have to look at someone’s RV, boat or fixer-upper vehicle sitting on blocks. We live in a very large planned neighborhood where there are lots of parks, common areas, and walking-biking paths….these areas are all maintained by the HOA. I understand that some HOAs are very restrictive, and ours seems to have found a happy medium that doesn’t over-impose on the residents.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yea Carol – you’re JUST the type of person I was hoping would comment – a HOA resident! HOA’s have many benefits – beautifully maintained common areas along with all those benefits you mentioned. I’ve never lived in one, but I just know that there are easy ways to continue on your simple-living journey while still staying within your HOA restrictions. Of course cooking from scratch or using energy-saving measures are simple-living steps that anyone can take no matter where they live, but I’m interested in ways to work around HOA restrictions. Backyard chickens may not be an option but there are other options – I’ve mentioned edible landscaping and removable retractable clotheslines. Do you have any other tips for our readers? ~TMH~

      Reply
  7. Lara @MommyKazam

    An HOA was one of my deal breakers when we were hunting for our house. I am so thankful that we were able to find a house that we loved in the country with a little bit of acreage, no HOA, and proper zoning for farm critters. <3

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I know that HOA’s have some wonderful benefits Lara, but I’ve never lived in an HOA area and I really don’t understand them. From what I understand they can be restrictive but this post will hopefully be visited by a few HOA members who have been able to stay within the restrictions placed upon them while still living their voluntary simplicity lifestyle. I know edible landscape can be one way since edible plants are often beautiful as well, and hopefully a retractable clothesline wouldn’t be frowned upon since it’s only up when clothes are drying. ~TMH~

      Reply
  8. Judith C

    We’ve lived in both rural and urban areas. I personally would never buy a home in a neighborhood with an HOA. We currently live in a neighborhood without an HOA. Here in Allen we deal with cast off lawn debris and household items set out on the curb for pick-up. The city rules and regulations clearly state that you can be fined for leaving things on your curb if not on a pickup day. We have designated days for scheduled pick up. The neighbors never schedule pick up they just leave it on the curb. I guess they think the fairies are going to take care of it. I end up having to send cranky emails to the Code Enforcement to turn my neighbors in for the junk on the curb. The Code Enforcement team suggest that we form a neighborhood association. My response to that is that I pay my taxes for Code Enforcement to do their job and fine people who do not follow the rules, why should we pay for a group to come harass us about hanging our laundry on a line in our private back yard?

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Your experiences are the same sentiments I’ve heard echoed by others Judith. I’m sure HOA’s have many benefits, but oftentimes residents feel they’ve overreached their authority. I’m sure there are ways to work with an HOA to achieve balance of regulation vs simplicity, but I’ve never lived in an HOA and have no experience with such things. I’ve heard of one HOA member planting decorative edibles right in their front flowerbeds, and edible landscape is something I have always touted. –> http://txhomesteader.com/edible-landscaping/ ~TMH~

      Reply
  9. Texas Homesteader Post author

    They sound a bit restrictive to me as well Ken but like I said, I’ve never lived in an area governed by an HOA so I have no basis for comparison. I’m hoping that there are those who either currently or have in the past dealt with HOA restrictions and who were either able to work with their HOA’s to adhere to the regulations without causing a ruckus or found ways around them to still walk the simple-living path in their own lives. I know one reader wanted to change her HOA rules to allow backyard hens (with limitations of course) and they were able to convince the HOA to allow it for all. Surely there are many other examples of success? ~TMH~

    Reply
  10. Ken

    I personally would rather walk naked in a snake pit than live under an HOA. Oldest daughter lives under one in McKinney. Houses all look the same, you can spit from yours onto your neighbors. You know what I’m talking about. Fine for them, not for us! Regards

    Reply

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