There is a reason I start every show with, “You are now leaving the American Zone” and if you are wondering what I mean or why I say it you need go no further than this show to understand why.
In recent shows I have been highlighting the “blame the victim” method of dealing with the horror stories that grab the headlines. It is, of course, the homeowners’ fault that the “professionals” managers have absconded with the association funds. “They should have been looking over their shoulders, they should have asked questions” the HOA industry of professionals whine. And what happens when the homeowners do ask, “May I see the books and records”?
Joining us On The Commons this week are Sandy Schenkat and Rina Messler. Sandy lives in Arizona where she was arrested by the local police for swimming in the association pool that she paid for. Rina lives in North Carolina, also in an association, and she too wanted to know where her money was going. On the other side of the country was another police officer who was willing to take the word of a board member and arrest Rina. Tune in to hear their stories and find out what happened to these two ladies. And if you are curious as to what would happen if YOU, the homeowner wanted the police to investigate some funny business in YOUR association, call your local police department and ask them how they will help you, the tax payer, protect your property from embezzlement.
Whenever there is a problem with an out of control board, or another horror story hits the front page of the papers, proponents of involuntary membership associations remind us quite arrogantly that we “agreed” to the covenants, conditions and restrictions of the association. Again, this is simply another way of blaming the “victim”. It has to be the homeowner who is reneging on his or her promise, his or her contractual obligation. “If they didn’t like the ‘rules’, they shouldn’t have bought into the association” they say and add “they can move.”
Joining us On The Commons this week is Frank Short. Frank, an attorney and a long time advocate for individual homeowner rights has been following the HOA bills winding their way through the Virginia Legislature. What he found is quite shocking and disturbing. Several bills allow boards or the courts to amend declarations even when the homeowners have said, NO. The latest lament from those who feed at the HOA trough is that the homeowners really don’t know what is good for them and besides, they are so apathetic, they won’t approve a measure giving the board more intrusive and abusive powers. What the bills would do, if signed into law, would horrify you. Listen to Frank explain the bills and what they mean.
Three of the absolute worse bills are HB530, HB791 and HB690. FInd out who your Senator is and ask them to kill these three bills.
Have you noticed how all sense flies out the window when an involuntary membership homeowners association is involved? All of a sudden we fear anything that is not part of that uniform look and feel of a kontrolled kommunity. A different shade of blah can topple an entire neighborhood, an unapproved garden hose, dusty mailboxes, flags, rose bushes and pudgy pooches are all a threat to property values. An addition that doesn’t quite konform to the existing architectural guidelines will no doubt turn the neighborhood green with envy.
Oh, get real!
Joining us On The Commons this week are Maria and Sam Farran. The Farrans weren’t about to believe all the nonsense they were told. They did their homework, knew the rules and the laws and decided to fight back. After years of court room drama, they won their cases and were awarded attorney fees and court costs. However, there was a snag. You see, in the process, their HOA ran out of money and went bankrupt. But there is a happy ending after all. As Maria says; “We used to be a corporation that ran a neighborhood, we are now a neighborhood that runs a corporation”. I won’t ruin it for you so tune in and find out how they got their money and what happened to the association. You’ll love it.
How did they do it? Well, look for their new and improved governing documents On The Commons and yes, you may use them as a template if you too want to return common sense and a sense of community to your neighborhood.
News and Views About Homeowner Associations