Cons: Members could experience unfair practices

Tony Prokop is a homeowner in the Tuscany subdivision.

He will also be a member of the homeowners association that governs his neighborhood. Once the development is complete, he anticipates about 800 homes in the development, all of which will be part of one homeowners association.

That means there will be hundreds of members who will have an opportunity to weigh in on decisions and enforce the rules and regulations set up by the association.

In some cases, depending on the structure of the association, members have the power to place liens on a home for not following the rules and regulations, said Lee Swearingen, president of The Ron Brown Company.

Because most organizations are made up of a group of people who live in the neighborhood, they are also the people who have to enforce the restrictions, he said.

"No one likes being the bad guy," Swearingen said. "In some cases, you might see an abuse of power."

It's not typical but still possible, he said.

Phillip Stanley moved into a home in the Post Oaks subdivision about two and a half years ago. Since then, he said he hoped the regulations would be more clearly stated.

Once members find loopholes or ways around the original rules set by the homeowners association, it tends to weaken the effectiveness altogether, he said.

"If you're going to have an HOA, all the restrictions and bylines need to be clear," said Stanley, 59. "Once you open them to interpretation, then the original strength of the document is lost."

It becomes an issue of fairness by members of the organization in positions of authority, Stanley said. If one person builds something and another person cannot build something similar, then the rules and regulations are not being upheld.

He said he's happy living in Post Oak, where the membership fees are low and the neighborhood is peaceful and beautiful, but he said the rules need to be enforced.

"When applied correctly, they really uphold the values of the homes in the subdivision," he said.

There is no homeowners association in the Northcrest subdivision, and that's exactly what Ken Clark was looking for when he moved into his home in 1974.

He says there's no need to have an association there because the homeowners can maintain their property without having any problems.

"They (organizations) can be too political sometimes," said Clark, 85. "You have people who think that they can run the organization the way they want to."

He said while the associations can do both good and bad for a neighborhood, he's happy he doesn't live in one.

Pro: Practice maintains value of property, adds safety