Born in the UK, Paul now lives in central Florida. He has extensive experience of gated communities in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina.
Although living in a gated community can work out well for many people, others are seduced by the dream only to find that the reality is a disappointment. That's why it's important to consider the downsides, as well as the positives, if you are thinking of moving to a secured or gated neighborhood.
This article lists the 10 main disadvantages of living in a gated community.
The 10 Main Negatives of Living in a Gated Community
- High Prices
- Inconvenient Locations
- Restrictive Rules
- Social Isolation
- Security Issues
- Guardhouse Frustrations
- Gate Fees
- Lack of Civic Power
- Lack of Diversity
I will explain each disadvantage in detail below.
1. High Prices
Both buying and rental prices tend to be higher for properties within gated communities, when compared with their non-gated equivalents. HOA fees can also be fairly extravagant, because you are paying for the maintenance of the gates and general security. Things like the roads are private, so you will pay towards their upkeep. If there are leisure facilities, such as golf courses, swimming pools, and tennis courts, you will likely end up paying for those too. In short, you should be prepared to be hit by all sorts of fees and expenses.
2. Inconvenient Locations
Most gated communities are built in outlying areas with limited amenities nearby. There generally isn't much public transport, so you will need to drive some distance in your own car to experience the attractions of downtown areas, such as restaurants, stores, parks, sports, concerts and other arts events. It also means that even routine chores like going to the store can become tiresome. Local medical, dental, and educational facilities may also be limited.
3. Restrictive Rules
There are lots of rules to obey. These might include what color you can paint your house, how high the grass in your lawn can grow, as well as the types of vehicle you can own and where you can park them. Some people like the rules since they can help keep up the property prices, but if you prefer individuality and self-expression to uniformity, or just have a more laid back approach, you may well struggle.
4. Social Isolation
Gated communities tend to operate like islands since interaction with the people in the surrounding areas tends to be limited. That's part of the point of them, of course, but it can lead to a sense of isolation. Some gated neighborhoods have a strong sense of community, which can more than make up for any negatives, but this can't be relied upon. Residents who don't have family and old friends nearby can find it difficult.
5. Security Issues
The general perception of gated communities is that they are far safer and more secure than non-gated neighborhoods, but the truth is more complex. Putting up a surrounding wall or fence doesn't necessarily prevent crime. If the gate isn't protected by a security guard and instead relies on a keypad operated automatic system, that can be problematic too—security codes can easily become compromised when people are giving them out to pizza delivery and other random visitors.
6. Gatehouse Frustrations
It may seem appealing to have gates and guards to restrict access since they might deter unwelcome visitors, but it can be frustrating when you have to go through those gates every day. You may have to wait in a line just to get in or out, plus every time you have a family member or friend visit, you have to inform the guard just so that they can gain entrance. It can become tiresome after a time.
7. Limited Services and Gate Fees
A lot of gated communities will limit the time contractors can come work at your home. Some will even make commercial services ordered by the residents pay a gate fee (I've seen them as high as 20 or 30 dollars), these fees inevitably get passed on to the home owner.
8. Lack of Civic Power
The vast majority of gated communities are privately owned. That typically means that the developer make all the rules and the residents have very little civic power.
9. Lack of Diversity
It's not just the housing that tends to be uniform. The people who live in American gated communities tend to be wealthy and white. In many communities, the majority are also politically conservative. Retirement communities also have restrictions on ages. If you like social variation, or you don't fit in with the majority, then gated communities may not be the right choice for you.
Having a guard at the gate has advantages in terms of reducing crime, but it can also be uncomfortable to know that all the visitors to your home are being vetted and recorded. A degree of privacy is lost.
© 2018 Paul Goodman
Liz Westwood from UK on December 07, 2018:
The cost is something that I would have concerns about, as I wonder how much control, if any, residents would have over fees levied on the community for the upkeep of facilities. Swimming pools are great, but they don't come cheap.