I’m so glad I found this forum. My non-gated HOA is considering installing security gates and becoming a gated community. A lot of people in my HOA are for this decision but there are others who are against it. I’m on the fence.
I was hoping you could shed some light on this issue and help me decide (and present my case if need be). My questions are:
1. How much will it cost to install security gates?
2. Are there any recurring costs I should know about?
3. Do gated communities really have lower crime rates?
4. Do gates affect the response times of emergency response vehicles and personnel?
5. Will this help increase property values?
Good questions here, hoa_newbie. I think a lot of people want to gate their community because of the ‘exclusivity’ aspect of it, but only a few really stop to think about the implications.
Obviously, there are some benefits. But there are also some disadvantages. When you decide to install gates, you are cutting off a lot of the public (free) services that you would normally have access to such as road maintenance and paving. Homeowners would need to pay for these as well as fixtures such as street lights, signs, etc. This will cause assessments to increase. In addition, the HOA will become liable for any damages or injury caused or that happens in private roads.
1. It really depends on the size of your community and the supplier. Not all HOA’s have the same needs, entrances/exits, and aesthetics. You should definitely obtain proposals and quotes for this so you have more options. For us, it cost about $80,000 to install.
2. Gate maintenance and repairs will cost you thousands of dollars every year. Vandallism is a huge problem too, at least for us. Since a gated community will convert public roads into private ones, you also need to factor in the cost of maintaining these roads. That responsibility no longer belongs to the city or county government. Plus you have to consider the cost of hiring someone to guard the gates.
3. I’m not sure gated communities have lower crime rates in general. Speaking from experience, we’ve had an increase in theft and break ins because I think gated communities give the impression that wealthier people live there when that isn’t always the case. If the gate isn’t guarded by someone, it might not reduce crime rates in your community.
4. Yes, we have had this happen to us on several occasions. Emergency personnel are unable to enter easily because of the gate code so someone will have to meet them at the gate to let them in. If you have guarded gates, this shouldn’t be much of a problem but it does create more expenses for the HOA (salary, insurance, etc.).
5. Not sure that it will for you since it can depend on your location. The homes in our HOA didn’t increase in value. On the contrary I think the homes in our community sell for much less than the ones in ungated communities.
Just my two cents. Good luck on your decision, OP!
We had the same problem 2 years ago and majority homeowners voted to put up gates. I can tell you right now that all that resulted in were a) SIGNIFICANTLY higher dues and b) annoyance.
Installation itself cost TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS and the annual maintenance/repairs added THOUSANDS more. People would forget their codes and passes which made it more DIFFICULT and FRUSTRATING to get through our morning commutes. Not to mention that it gave people a false sense of security even though I SWEAR I noticed more trespassers coming in and casing our homes.
I am a strong advocate of NO GATES and I advise you to do the same.
I know gates have pros and cons but you also have to consider the way your community is set up. In a previous HOA I lived in, we only had the one entrance/exit so putting a gate there gave us a big headaches. When the gate failed, we had no way of getting in and out.
If crime prevention and security are your main concerns… might I suggest swapping out the gates for security cameras instead? Having CCTVs in all of your entryways can help deter crime without the need to convert public streets into private ones.