Thank you for that Lady Snowdon. I can't think of an equivalent organisation to HOA in the U.K. but I was beginning to wonder how people in the land of the free had got themselves into a position where such draconian dictates exist..
They always start out mild, merely enforcing the things that the local government should be enforcing. But, I think the inherent problem is that people willing to serve on a board are either very conscientious or very officious. The officious people often take over and enact more laws and more laws. I have some friends in an HOA with a rule named after them. Their neighbor didn't like the color they painted their house. So, he got made a big fuss and got a rule passed that no one could paint their home anything but brown.
DD's Godfather lives in a gated community. Because of the gate, there is an HOA because it has to be maintained and staffed. There is also a rule that people can't solicit in the community. That all sounds very reasonable. Except that there is a woman on the board, who walks up to anyone seen working on a house and pretends to need work done on her house. Then she gets them banned from the community for soliciting. DH used to do home repair, but now he is a stay-at-home Dad. He will do work for this friend because they are really too vulnerable to have strangers in their house, but for no one else. The woman pushed so hard trying to get him to 'solicit' her for work that he eventually had to be rude.
Both of your examples are not the fault of it being a HOA, but the fault of people not being willing to stand up to bullying. My parents used to live in a HOA and there was a board member who tried to impose her will on people because she felt she had the power to do it. My parents and other neighbors got together and per the HOA guidelines were able to remove the bullying board member. It took some work but it was doable. If no one does anything, then the bully gets away with it. And that is, in my opinion, the reasons behind 90% of the complaints I hear about when it comes to a HOA - people not standing up to bullies or not willing to do anything to change extra strict rules.
There are no HOA's in the city where I live, and if we could move out of the city (my dh's job requires us to live in the city), I'd happily move into a HOA. Yes, there are some restrictions that I may not enjoy, but I also don't enjoy the horribly painted house across the street from us (garish colors and they used the wrong type of paint, so we can see the streaks), and neither did I enjoy when another house on our block was a single family rental property that had a revolving door of tenants and there were so many of them they were sleeping on mattresses in the living room. The city couldn't do much (though they did what they could) but a HOA could have helped a lot with that situation.