Jill Schweitzer

“If it hurts, it must be good for you”. Remember that one? Fortunately we got smart and realized that if it hurt it really was not good for us. Along the same lines of thinking is the other oft repeated canard which is that homeowner associations protect property values. “If your HOA makes you miserable and physically ill, is abusive, is grossly mismanaged, is secretive, etc. etc. etc., it is OK because it protects your property values.” This makes about as much sense as “if it hurts, it’s good for you.” Despite the fact that protected property values claim is totally unsubstantiated, we hear it over and over again.

Maybe it is time to get smart and to stop being so gullible. Next time you are told HOAs protect property values, insist on tangible proof. Preventing a neighbor from painting their front door red is not acceptable and it really doesn’t prove anything.

Joining us On The Commons this week is Jill Schweitzer. Jill is a Real Estate Broker in Scottsdale, Arizona where there are a lot of mandatory membership HOAs and condominiums. She is concerned about all the problems in these kontrolled properties and has taken it upon herself to try to understand what is going on. She actually put pen to paper and did the math. She tracked and analyzed property values in 10 condo projects in Scottsdale over a period of 10 years. Her findings are on her website hoasavers.com. It might come as no surprise that contrary to protecting property values, HOAs can actually devalue property. Tune in, we’ll talk to Jill about a myriad of problems that seem to be part and parcel of HOAs, find out why she decided to look into HOAs and what she is planning on doing to protect her clients’ property.

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3 thoughts on “Jill Schweitzer”

  1. What a great show! Shinning a spotlight on how the Industry Professionals we entrust to provide guidance and advice look at HOAs as ATMs. And they try so hard making homeowners and local authorities believe these matters are civil. What a brilliant $65b scam.

  2. Thank you so very much for your advocacy. For 14 years I have owned a condominium unit in Montgomery County, MD. Any community built after 1987 is required under local law to organize as a homeowner and/or condominium association.

    Homebuyers interested in purchasing homes in Montgomery County are rarely able to escape purchasing homes and membership in these fiefdoms.

    For the past 4 years, from my kitchen table, I have advocated on behalf of MD homeowners residing in homeowner and condominium associations by disclosing abusive and illegal collection practices imposed by associations and their management agents and attorneys.

    For a $236.71 debt I did not owe, my homeowner association, Norbeck Grove Community Association and its management agents, Todd Hassett, Jeff Gatling and The Management Group Associates and attorney, Torin K. Andrews and Andrews and Lawrence Law Group filed a time barred lawsuit against me in small claims court for $1,393.95, filed 3 illegal liens against my home for $6,045.85, repeatedly threatened to foreclose on my home, bragged about their collection actions against me during open board meetings and published the meetings’ minutes online, spent $5,147.50 in association funds to unsuccessfully collect the $236.71 that included the HOA’s appeal to the highest court in MD – Court of Appeals and obtained copies of my credit report twice from Experian without my prior knowledge, consent or written permission.

    After my unsuccessful efforts to obtain legal representation from approximately 20 lawyers, I decided to fight back on my own. The small claims lawsuit was dismissed, the MD Court of Appeals declined to hear the HOA appeal and years later the liens were involuntarily released without any payment from me.

    Then my true advocacy began as I set about my quest to publicly disclose the numerous ways homeowner and condominium associations and their management agents and attorneys violate federal and MD state consumer protection laws with their abusive and illegal collection tactics.

    1) As a result of my complaint, the MD Attorney Grievance Commission issued a cease and desist letter to Jeff Gatling and The Management Group Associates for their decades old illegal preparation and filing of lien documents against HOA and condo association members’ homes in MD courts without the required license to practice law. File No. 2012-UPL-2 Jeff Gatling, Respondent

    2) I obtained a $25,000 jury award against The Management Group Associates and Todd Hassett and Jeff Gatling, in their individual and personal capacities, for their illegal and unlicensed collection actions without the required MD state consumer collection agency license. Janice Fontell v. Todd Hassett, Jeff Gatling, The Management Group, Inc., and Norbeck Grove Community Association, Inc. U.S. District Court Case No. AW10CV1472

    3) As a result of my complaint, Jeff Gatling and The Management Group Associates settled with the MD Office of Financial Regulation for $60,000 for their illegal and unlicensed collection actions and illegal preparation and filing of lien documents. The Management Group Associates, Inc. MD Office of Financial Regulation Settlement Agreement CFR-FY2012-205

    I am currently involved in a highly contentious lawsuit against Torn K. Andrews and his related companies, Andrews & Lawrence Law Group, National Recovery and Investigations and Debt Assistance Group. Mr. Andrews represents approximately 100 homeowner and condominium associations. Whenever Mr. Andrews and his law firm obtain a money judgment against a homeowner, he will obtain a copy of the homeowner’s credit report from Experian, without the homeowner’s prior knowledge or consent and without a permissible purpose under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, using a trade name (National Recovery and Investigations) that before my lawsuit was not easily traceable back to his law firm. Mr. Andrews’ illegal procurement of credit reports were never disclosed in my association’s governing documents or as part of their collection policies or practices.

    Quite simply, homeowner and condominium associations are not defined as “creditors”, their assessments are not defined as “debt” and homeowners’ accounts with their homeowner and condominium association are not defined as “account” under the Fair Credit Reporting Act that would give Mr. Andrews and his companies a permissible purpose to obtain copies of our credit reports without our prior disclosure in the governing documents and our prior knowledge, permission and written consent.

    In many instances, Mr. Andrews may have obtained copies of homeowners’ credit reports when the 10 days automatic stay of enforcement prohibiting any acts to enforce a money judgment remained in effect.

    In closing, they undertook these actions to collect unpaid assessments from January – October 2003 that I had timely paid in full. However, if members speak up and fight back these associations and their agents will set out to humiliate, destroy and cause them great personal, professional and financial hardship.

  3. Thank you again Shu. I did want to mention that some insurance companies offer a special assessment rider…people in condos may want to check and see if they have that coverage and the terms thereof.

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