Washington, DC: Banning speech close to home
About 20 percent of Americans live in communities regulated by a homeowners association (HOA), run by boards that, under state and federal law, have nearly unchecked latitude. They can declare speech prohibited and erode privacy.
And without a change in law, there’s not much that can be done about it.
I have learned about the overreach of such boards as a member of a cooperative housing association in Southwest Washington.
Like many neighborhoods in the District, Southwest is diverse and changing. This change has been reflected in a new mix of residents, including families, who want our co-op to adopt more transparent, proactive and professional management techniques. A group of owners, led by newer residents, organized informally to discuss these desired changes and elect board members who support them. These owners made clear they want to improve the community and its property values. They used fliers, e-mail and open community meetings to share their proposals for change. Everyone in the co-op was invited to join the discussion. Read more: