Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the nation. All around the major cities there are new housing developments whose builders eventually finish their work and leave behind a covenant which property owners sign on to which usually includes membership in a Homeowners Association, which charges some sort of small membership fee for certain basic services which it provides. Residents can vote on the board of the association and it has the power to make and enforce the provisions of the covenant and any additional rules which it passes for its members.
These HOAs are essentially micro-governments with very broad powers and with little accountability to anyone outside of the dominant voting faction in their neighborhood. Residents who are out of step with their neighbors or who run into problems with the rules of their neighborhood have few recourses if the HOA board decides to single them out for persecution, and punishment usually comes in the form of fines which may eventually lead to a lien being placed against the property and even seizure of the property.
You may argue that this is a consensual relationship and that homeowners knew they were signing a covenant and joining a HOA when they bought their property, but few of these homeowners are aware of the trouble they may be getting into and the kind of small-scale dictators they may be dealing with in a HOA — people with too much time on their hands and whose lives revolve around how tall your grass is and whether you have the right kind of flowers planted along your driveway. Sometimes it is government on the smallest scale which is susceptible to the greatest corruption and abuse of power, and HOAs seem to be breeding grounds for cliques and oppression of non-conformists by a narrow-minded majority.
Two recent examples here in Texas have made it very clear that something needs to be done to rein in the petty abuse of power which is being exercised far too often by Homeowners Associations in the many new neighborhoods which have grown up around our major cities.
In ultraliberal Travis County Andrew Clements has become the target of persecution from the board of the Falcon Pointe subdivision because of his politically incorrect career choice. No, he's not skinning animals in the front yard or building his own nuclear reactor. He's running an Internet business where no customers come to his house and nothing he does is visible to his neighbors. Yet he has been threatened by his Homeowners Association and prohibited from earning a living as he chooses, despite the fact that there were no rules prohibiting home businesses in the neighborhood at the time he bought his home.