Nearly 55 million Americans live in communities that are governed by homeowners associations, or HOAs. In exchange for dues, residents have access to neighborhood amenities like pools, parks and club houses. But more and more, HOAs are responsible for providing services and maintenance once offered by city and municipal governments – like trash pick-up and sewage system repairs. Many would agree that it’s good for residents to have control over these services, but as both homeowners and HOAs across the country suffer financially from the housing market collapse, it’s harder for property owners to pay their HOA fees and harder for HOAs to avoid bankruptcy. What is the role of the modern day HOA? Are they a positive resource for neighborhoods or are more of them living up to a reputation of tyrannical organizations? And how do communities handle the responsibility of self-governance? Host Frank Stasio explores the phenomenon of neighborhood governments with David Swindell, Director of the Ph.D in Public Policy program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Winston-Salem attorney T. Lawson Newton; Evan McKenzie, a professor of political science at the University of Illinois and author of “Beyond Privatopia: Rethinking Residential Private Government” (Urban Institute Press/2011); and Robert H. Nelson, professor of public policy at the University of Maryland and author of “Private Neighborhoods and the Transformation of Local Government” (Urban Institute Press/2005).
This program originally aired on July 13, 2011. For a link to the audio, click here.