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Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government Paperback – February 21, 1996
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In the county in which Houston, Texas, is located, over 11,000 foreclosure lawsuits have been filed by mandatory homeowners associations in recent years, the vast majority of them since 1995, when Texas law was amended (with the help of the CAI lobby) to favor the rights of mandatory homeowners associations. A standard pattern is the experience cited by a reviewer below: a few hundred dollars in assessments or fines in dispute, and thousands of dollars of legal fees -- all secured by a homestead. McKenzie's book is a good tool to use in trying to understand the trend and the alternatives.
The author outlines in detail the history of the advent of common interest developments (CIDs) in the U.S. He explains why this form of residential ownership has taken on like wildfire in the past four decades. And, what this imply for society at large and local governments in particular.
The author indicates that there were only 500 homeowner associations in 1964; but, there were more than 150,000 in 1992. Nowadays, a significant percentage of the middle class and upper middle class lives in such associations. The factors that drove this explosion in the number of CIDs are:
1) Land economics. Developers were able to significantly increase the unit and population density within their housing developments. This increased the supply of private housing, and lowered their costs, making them affordable to a much larger segment of the population.
2) Lower municipalities costs. As CIDs maintain a good part of their infrastructure and also finance some of their municipal services, municipalities' revenues went up due to rising property taxes. But, their costs did not grow as much.
The author makes an eloquent case that the local governments' acceptance of CIDs to boost their revenues more than their cost was a Faustian deal. This is because the middle and upper middle class is becoming increasingly disenfranchised from the remainder of the community.Read more ›
Privatopia puts in perspective the rapid growth of mass market CID housing, beginning as "homes associations" in the 1960s under the tutelage of the Federal Housing Administration and the Urban Land Institute. A professor of political science, McKenzie ably outlines the political and economic factors behind this trend and explains how policies adopted by state legislatures and local governments have quietly fostered the privatization of residential government into a multi-billion dollar industry.
This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand this quiet revolution in local government and a controversial subject that could be tomorrow's headlines.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having been subjected to several different HOAs in my home-owning life, I thought this would be an interesting look at the history of planned communities. Read morePublished 14 months ago by LegoGirl
This should be required reading for anyone who plans to purchase a home in a "planned community" subject to Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R's).Published 20 months ago by Leonard N. Rasmussen
I actually read Beyond Privatopia first, but this book provides the foundation. Privatopia provides the reader with a thorough understanding of why and how HOAs came to exist and... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Deborah Goonan
I reviewed this book many years ago when I bought it in the 1990's. My review is gone so I am now adding a new review. Read morePublished on July 2, 2014 by Quickbeam
The book shows that HOA concept is a contradiction in terms: a business with no profit motive, a government with no balance of powers and no accountability mechanisms, a non-profit... Read morePublished on March 22, 2012 by MT
Read this book while doing research on how to amend our covenants in my HOA. It is an extremely interesting history of Covenants and CID's and what their job in the housing market... Read morePublished on April 26, 2010 by H. CINDRIC
Outstanding book for anyone who happens to be passionate about government, American history and association management at the same time. Read morePublished on June 23, 2006 by Michael C. Walker