HOA

HOA reformers grow in number, and here are a few

The Enclave at Harpeth Village in Nashville, Tenn., notified the Meekers of an HOA violation because the standard blinds were taken down and replaced with curtains. Last October, 3-year-old Camilla Meeker got tangled on the cords of the blinds and was nearly strangled. The Meekers immediately took down the blinds the night of the incident and days later put up curtains.
The Enclave at Harpeth Village in Nashville, Tenn., notified the Meekers of an HOA violation because the standard blinds were taken down and replaced with curtains. Last October, 3-year-old Camilla Meeker got tangled on the cords of the blinds and was nearly strangled. The Meekers immediately took down the blinds the night of the incident and days later put up curtains. jledford@kcstar.com

These are some of the groups and individuals around the country who are seeking reform of homeowners associations.

▪ Neighbors at War

The blog of Ward Lucas, retired TV investigative journalist, author and homeowners’ rights advocate: www.neighborsatwar.com.

“It is so risky to buy into these places. You are basically becoming the guarantor on all debts, loans, lawsuits, settlements, liabilities, construction defects and disaster rebuilds. The minute you sign on the dotted line, you are not buying a piece of property; you are buying a bunch of risks.”

▪ On the Commons

A weekly radio show hosted by Shu Bartholomew, a homeowners’ rights advocate who discusses HOA issues. The website is www.onthecommons.us.

“I can’t think of anything more horrendous, more disgusting, and more abusive than giving one neighbor the power to fine another neighbor .… There’s no adult supervision there. Nobody holds them accountable.”

▪ HOA Warrior

The website of Shelly Marshall, homeowners’ rights advocate: www.hoawarrior.com.

“People do not realize how dangerous it is to be in an HOA. You can lose everything for something you have zero control over.”

▪ HOA Syndrome

The website of psychotherapist Gary Solomon, a retired psychology professor at the College of Southern Nevada who believes that living under constant stress in an HOA can cause a psychiatric condition: www.hoasyndrome.com.

“What does this do to people? They become nervous, anxious, agitated, suffer sleeplessness, headaches, they’re unable to focus or concentrate, can’t handle going to their mailbox. They’re afraid of any envelope that has anything to do with the HOA. One thing leads to another, and the next thing you know, you have a full-out war.”

▪ The HOA Detective

A blog sponsored by founders of the CRC Report, a financial due diligence service for those buying in condo or homeowners associations: https://hoadetective.com.

Carson Horton of Capital Reserve Consultants: “The problem with HOAs is there are two principal overriding issues that drive this thing. One is they’re being managed by amateurs or people who just happen to buy a home in a HOA .… Then on top of that you have the overarching problem of nobody is concerned with the long term .… The last thing in the world they’re worried about is contributing to the reserves to pay for a new roof in 20 years.”

▪  Coalition for Homeowner Protection and Reform of Homeowner Association Laws

Website of Jim Lane, North Carolina homeowners’ rights advocate: http://www.nchoalaws.org/NCHOALaws/Home.html.

“If I tried to run any business the way I’ve seen HOAs run, they would all be bankrupt.”

▪ Independent American Communities

Blog run by Deborah Goonan, housing consumer advocate: http://independentamericancommunities.com/.

“If your HOA fines you, they add interest, late fees, collection costs and attorney’s fees, which could be thousands of dollars. That could triple or quadruple the original amount. In some cases, people have their homes foreclosed on for what amounts to like 1 percent or less of the value of their home.”

▪ The Privatopia Papers

Blog of Evan McKenzie, a national housing expert and professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago: http://privatopia.blogspot.com/.

“Nobody reads the fine print. They don’t understand what they’re getting themselves into. This private government really has authority. They really can tell you what color you can paint your mailbox.”

▪ HOA Q&A

Weekly column of Donie Vanitzian, an arbitrator and mediator, published in the Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/search/dispatcher.front?Query=donie+vanitzian&target=all&spell=on

“I’ve been there, I’ve lived it, I’ve walked in homeowners’ shoes. Their pain is real and it cannot be minimized. The motto for the industry is ‘show me the money,’ and the motto for the homeowners is, ‘I thought I bought a home. I never thought it would be like this.’ ”

▪ Citizens for Constitutional Local Government

Founded by George Staropoli, a Phoenix homeowners’ rights activist. Website is http://pvtgov.org/pvtgov/.

Homeowners associations have established a “New America contrary to that of The Founding Fathers, and one that has not only changed the physical landscape across America, but the cultural, social and political landscapes as well.”

▪ Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest

A consumer advocacy organization that seeks to educate those living in HOAs about their rights and responsibilities. Website is http://www.chppi.org/.

Board member and real estate broker Sara Benson: “The concept of shared living was in theory a good concept. But they didn’t take into account that you’re actually going into business with owners that are strangers that are largely untrained … and they’re going to balance a budget for an association in the millions of dollars?”

▪ HOA Corruption

Nevada-based website that focuses on HOA issues. Created by Jonathan Friedrich, a former member of the Nevada Commission for Common-Interest Communities and Condominium Hotels. Website is https://sites.google.com/site/hoacorruption/.

▪ Cyber Citizens for Justice

Florida-based property owners’ advocacy organization. Website is www.ccfj.net.

Judy L. Thomas: 816-234-4334, @judylthomas

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