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Why homeowners hate their HOAs

A new study says a large number of homeowners hate their HOAs. (Jin Lee/Bloomberg)

Whether you live in a condominium, townhouse or single-family house, chances are you have had experience with a condo or homeowners' association. Approximately 69 million Americans live in a home within a homeowners’ association, according to the Community Associations Institute, or about 21 percent of the U.S. population in 2016.

Americans have a love/hate relationship with their HOAs. Even among those who actively participate on the board, just 57 percent said they love their HOA, according to a survey by Thirty-three percent of those who have never served on an HOA board said they hate them.

The survey also found a generational divide: 52 percent of baby boomers love their HOA, compared with 31 percent of Gen Xers and 39 percent of millennials. One reason for the lack of love: HOA meetings are known for argumentative behavior. Those arguments are most common at condo association meetings, where 73 percent of respondents said they witnessed an argument, compared to 41 percent of townhouse owners and 55 percent of single-family homeowners.

Homeowners association rules governing exterior changes cannot be ignored

The rulemaking authority of HOAs are both loved and hated by homeowners. The top three most-hated rules include those applying to lawn appearance, parking regulations and pet restrictions. Yet at the same time, the three most-wanted types of regulations are about improved parking, improved noise regulations and requiring residents to clean up after their pets.

There is a gender gap when it comes to the most common complaints about living in an HOA. Men complained most about their neighbors smoking and being noisy, while women complained most about their neighbors’ lawn appearance, pets and home appearance.

To see the report, click here.