Or home Owners Association; sometimes a necessity, but such can be a nightmare. Originally, an association of homeowners bound together by a compact to protect hoe values, perhaps as a reflex from the seventies.
To buy a home within a HOA one leaves many rights at the door so to speak. There was one case of a practicing Hindu I believe cited and fined by his HOA here in Northern Va for having a religious symbol inlaid in his home's driveway. The HOA cited him for having a driveway that does not conform to guidelines. Another homeowner in Maryland ran afoul during the holidays of having decorations deemed not in accordance with guidelines, which were never rally explained.
I too have run afoul of mine, having put a 10 X 12 foot wooden shed in my 1/3rd are, not asking 'Mother may I?' and being told there are not supposed to be such (bull hockey!) Others in my HOA have been sighted for having non-conforming doors- these are mostly contemporaries, originally built with an ugly, windowless slab for a door and people nowadays wanting a bit of light in their foyer and perhaps a window to see just who is out there. Likewise there are 'approved' house colors garage doors, the list sadly goes on and on.
Ignore them, yes, but then the HOA fine you and in the end it can put a lien on your home. In our monthly newsletter, I noticed a home in the cul de sac behind us has had that happen, for non-payment of dues. This is serious shit, for if anyone has a lien on your house for any reason, you can be foreclosed upon!
There can be an argument made for the necessity of HOA's, the street where I grew up on is a screaming example. One home with various vehicles in the yard in various states of disrepair, a roof that badly needs new shingles, but what I find most basically irritating about HOAs is that they are run on the premise that you the homeowner do not have the intelligence to determine what is best for your home. As I have said to many in my neighbors, no one in their right mind is going to paint the shutters on their home chartreuse and then decorate them with Disney characters. In short, those who run HOA's and they tend to be people with far too much time on their hands and an ego to stroke, don't believe in common sense.