Homeowners associations often have a terrible reputation due to some bad apples that overstep their authority and try to turn the HOA into some type of military regime. The true function of an HOA is for your benefit. It aims to keep the property values in your neighborhood up, along with creating a safe place in which you can live.
However, if you still feel like you want to avoid an HOA, then you may need to look a little deeper into the neighborhood. Trulia explains there are a couple of situations where there may not be an actual HOA, but where the neighborhood may still operate under something similar.
Community Development District
Unique to Florida, a Community Development District is similar to an HOA with a board and fees. However, the focus of a CDD is to fund larger projects for the betterment of the district. The fees you pay to the CDD will pay for local government projects, such as bridges and waste collection.
Remaining Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions are the operating rules of an HOA. If you are moving into a neighborhood that previously had an HOA, the CC&Rs may still exist and be in operation even though there is no formal HOA or board.
If this is the case, then homeowners essentially have control over enforcing the CC&Rs. What this means is if you make a neighbor mad, he or she could hold you to the CC&Rs rules. There really is no control over the power any neighbor has as long as they operate under the CC&Rs.