Private property rights should trump developer’s right to control communities

Why does U.S. housing policy allow developers to control the future of millions of property owners and residents in homeowners, condominium, and cooperative associations?

 

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

Check out my link below to today’s post from the Admin of the Build a Better Diamondhead Facebook page. Diamondhead, Mississippi, has been incorporated as a city since 2012, but the POA (Property Owners Association) still lives on. And the developer still has control over the amenities, to include the golf course and country club. According to the admin, a small minority of residents actually golf anymore.

The bottom line — the Diamondhead homeowner wants to know: why must the POA continue to exist, and why is the POA board ready to continue developer control beyond the expiration date of the CC&Rs in a few years?

But I’ll take it one step further.

City townhouse (unsplash.com)

 

My two cents — why do we, as Americans, accept the standard practice of putting real estate developers in charge of residential communities for any reason?

Personally, I don’t buy the argument that community control is necessary to protect a developer’s financial interest. A real estate developer should mitigate his/her own financial risk by creating a superb product and/or providing great services that consumers want. Housing consumers should not exist merely to serve and create substantial profits and revenue streams for real estate developers, community managers, and co-investors.

That is the tail wagging the dog.

I’m certain that Big Wigs in the HOA industry will call my view “radical.” But prior to the 1970s and 1980s, the current arrangement of local governments kissing up to developers for fear of being sued or forfeiting private community investment was considered radical.

Our country was founded on the Constitutional principle of private property rights. Early in U.S. history, settlers recognized that the opportunity to control one’s own destiny by owning a home and, preferably, one’s own parcel of land, provides unmeasurable freedom and liberty that allows individual Americans to thrive.

In a truly free country, property rights must belong to private individuals — not real estate corporations, not real estate developers, not HOAs, condo or co-op associations, and certainly not the government.

Somehow, our policymakers have lost sight of that fundamental principle.

 

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