Dear Grumpo Marx,
What’s the deal with HOAs?
PO’d in Peorio

Dear Pod People,
The “deal” with Homeowners’ Associations is that a group of resident owners come together to form a covenant in order to govern the condos, townhouses, gated community, hobbit village, or subdivision. The aim of the rules passed by this body are to ensure a certain aesthetic and standard of quality for structures, yards, and even behavior within the planned community. The HOA incurs monthly or annual dues to cover maintenance of the area. Some people love the idea of the safety, beauty, and protection of property values offered by the HOA, while others buck against “The Man” trying to tell them how to live on their own private property. That’s the deal. If you want more freedom at home have your realtor steer you away from neighborhoods with HOAs, but be aware, even the city and county have you rules you need to abide by.