I know a lot of people hate HOA’s and in some cases that is warranted depending on the law. Where I live you must be informed before buying a house that an HOA exists and you must agree to abide by the bylaws and there are limits in state law to the HOA’s power. There’s no change, unless it’s your fault, that you could buy a house with an HOA where I live and not know it before you plunked down any money on the property. You can decide to buy or not based on what you read. I hear that other states aren’t this way. But, let’s take HOA’s OUT of this for a moment.
Even in a normal neighborhood without an HOA what is the criteria for telling a neighbor what they can’t do on their property?
I’ve had discussions on the libertarian pages where people said anything goes. I even asked “making toxic chemicals?” and they said yes, even that. I am hoping you all are more reasonable than that. I personally think that when the activity on YOUR property comes over to MY property then we have a violation of my rights and that’s something you can’t do. So, toxic chemicals are a no. What about a massive Christmas program that lasts 5 days and attracts hundreds of outsiders to the neighborhood? Sure, we could say that for just 5 days a year the neighbors could put up with it, they could, but they don’t want to. They don’t like the noise, the trash, the outsiders, the nefarious behavior some bring into the neighborhood.
The courts ruled that the HOA violated the resident’s religious rights. This is really because they added one sentence into their letter to the resident that mentioned it. I think that the HOA board members were trying to be politically correct and it bit them in the back-end. They wrote, “And finally, I am somewhat hesitant in bringing up the fact that some of our residents are non-Christians or of another faith. And I don’t even want to think of the problems that could bring up.” They hesitated to bring it up, and well they should have hesitated. By putting in that one line they opened themselves up to this being about religion.
But, even so, religious rights aren’t absolute either.
Your religious right to worship how you want doesn’t give you the right to violate the rights of others. You can’t include human sacrifice, child brides, forced conversion, and much more. So to say that this man does have a religious right to do this is dependent, to me, on whether or not his neighbors have a property right that he might be violating or not. If they do, then his religion can’t violate their right to their property.
Perhaps you have never had an annoying neighbor, perhaps you have, if you have then you know very well that such a person can mean that you don’t use to enjoy and use your property the way you want to. They argue they are just using their property how they want. Sure, they are, but we all know that rights aren’t absolute. This is true of religion as mentioned above, this is true of speech, you can’t slander or libel or threaten or extort. You can’t because doing so would violate the rights of others. So, playing loud music, creating toxic fumes, etc. mean someone else can’t use their property in the way they want and thus their rights are violated.
What about attracting others to the neighborhood though?
If someone has a party and that party gets out of hand most people agree that neighbors have a right to be upset. Some will decide to let it slide. I know I have depending on the circumstances. For example a high school graduation party at a neighbor’s house. That’s only going to happen once per kid. I can live with that. But certainly their party means I can’t sleep. Or it means I can’t go out in my back yard and relax in the quiet of the evening air.
What are your limits and what do you think the limits of rights are when property is concerned?
Jeremy and Kirsty Morris won $75,000 in a lawsuit after they claimed an Idaho Homeowners Association discriminated against their religious beliefs when they tried to stop a nativity event.