Gated communities are increasingly popular. A gated community is a collection of homes that are accessible only to residents and their guests with a wall surrounding them and a gate on roadways in and out. This set-up has a variety of pros and cons that should be taken into consideration by buyers and renters considering them.
Pros of gated communities
One of the biggest advantages of gated communities is the high safety standards they offer. At their best, no one apart from residents and their guests is allowed in. Security guards monitor the property 24/7 which is a deterrent to many thieves which is not to say crimes don’t happen there at all. It’s just that they are safer compared to normal houses. Some of them will even have guards patrolling the area and CCTV cameras at major entrances, exits, and perceived security hotspots.
Slower vehicle speeds in the area also make it safer for pedestrians in general and children. Overall, this sense of security is highly sought after and valued. The monitoring activities and restriction of strangers give residents a sense of privacy.
Greater sense of community
Another key selling point of gated communities in a world that increasingly isolates and atomizes us is the sense of community they provide. The controlled access and associations like Homeowners Associations (HOA) prioritize building and strengthening relationships among the residents.
Block parties, community yard sales, end of year children’s parties among other friendly events are common occurrences within gated communities. Socializing is easier with people you meet at various community events which provides an opportunity to meet people and make friends.
Variety of amenities
Different gated communities will have different shared amenities available to the residents. Amenities may include swimming pools, private parks, children’s playgrounds, dog parks, hiking trails, jogging and bike paths, exercise facilities, golf courses, and tennis courts.
Solicitation discouraged or blocked
A great pleasure of living in gated communities is the fact that solicitation is discouraged or even expressly blocked. This means you never have to worry about a pushy door-to-door salesman or other type ringing your doorbell to sell you things or get you to complete surveys.
High property values
Well-run gated communities are clean and well-maintained which translates to high property values that may even increase over time. Properties in gated communities are regularly more expensive and continue to increase. This makes them a safe financial investment.
Cons of gated communities
Living in a gated community may require joining a Homeowner Association (HOA). This means paying fees to cover the cost and maintenance of the shared amenities, security, and management fees. You will continue to pay the fees for as long as you live there or have a house there. While this adds a cost to living there, the argument can be made that the amenities enjoyed match the fees levied.
Gated communities oftentimes have rules that residents must follow. The rules vary but may include limitations on external paint colours on walls and gates, restrictions or rules related to hosting parties, and even keeping pets.
This can however be viewed as a pro because they maintain a certain standard of living ensuring peaceful co-existence among neighbours. Things like hosting parties may not be expressly forbidden instead requiring permits ahead of time or just simply notifying your neighbours before the event with details about how long you expect it to go on and so on.
While society has spoken and unspoken rules governing behaviour and our interactions, it can be especially grating to have to abide by such rules in your neighbourhood.
Residents of gated communities can feel like their privacy is violated on account of all the monitoring happening including but not limited to CCTV cameras.
Elitism and exclusionary
The exclusionary nature of gated communities is appealing to people. Other people however say it creates a sense of elitism, which breeds residents who are snobbish and pretentious.
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