Homeowners’ associations were supposedly created by Real Estate God to fundraise for and oversee neighborhood maintenance, and to help developers to efficiently manage and market their properties. But it often seems that their true purpose in life is to drive homeowners insane.

Governed by boards of directors—homeowners ostensibly chosen by their peers to represent the interests of their communities—HOAs are organizations that have become somewhat infamous for imposing arbitrary fines and liens on unpopular or “rogue” homeowners, making shit up as they go along, treating people unfairly, enforcing strict adherence to their rules, collecting fees, and acting irrationally or illegally. The people who sit on their boards are often petty, vindictive, utterly incompetent, and/or control-freakish. Regardless, anyone who wants to move into a housing development ruled by an HOA has to agree to follow the HOA’s rules—which can prove troublesome for anyone who’s even slightly individualistic, or simply laissez-faire about the color of their neighbors’ driveways.

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