Texas Law § 204.004 lumps them together, but in practice Homeowners Associations and Civic Associations are two totally different things. HOAs are often in newer suburbs. Civic Associations tend to be in older developments. HOAs have mandatory fees and membership, and they can levy fines and foreclose on your house if you don’t pay. Civic Association fees and membership are often voluntary, and we usually do not have the power to levy fines or foreclose on your house. HOAs often govern with an iron-fist, dictating things like the color of your garage doors. Civic Associations typically take a much more laissez-faire approach. HOAs hire professional services to maintain streets or even pick up trash. Civic Associations rely on the City or County to do these things – which they’re supposed to do anyway.
The HOA Reform Coalition held a rally in Houston, Texas. You can read their platform here. The Texas Homeowners for HOA Reform also has a set of goals. If they got their wishes, HOAs would start to look and act a lot like Civic Associations. That would be to everyone’s benefit, and I support both of them.