Larry Murphree and Stephanie Krasowski

We have lost sight of the true value of homeownership in this country.  Traditionally buying property included a “Legal Bundle of Rights” that came with the deed.
Those “rights” included the rights of possession, control, exclusion, enjoyment and disposition  and were irrefutable.  As long as the tax man was paid and the banker got the mortgage money, the owners were the royalties in residence.  They enjoyed every bit of the rights they acquired when they got the title to their castles.  The concept worked well until mandatory membership HOAs were involuntarily foisted on American homeowners.  No longer does ownership guarantee any of those rights, no longer do governments protect those rights and no longer is ownership a thing of pride and dignity.  In the kontrolled world of HOA living, pride, dignity, security, control and individuality have been replaced by fear, terror, abuse, theft and ill health.

On The Commons this week we are rejoined by Larry Murphree.  You will recall that Larry, a condo owner in Florida, was cited by his HOA for having an “unauthorized object in his flowerpot” and was being fined $100/day for his transgression.  Yes, you read it right, the kondo kommandos in Larry’s little bit of heaven decided to come up with a list of “flowerpot rules”!  Author of condo flowerpot rules. Put that on your epitaph!  Larry’s 11X17 INCH flag violates the rules, offends their aesthetics and the uniformity of the look alike units.  As if that was not bad and stupid enough, the HOA attorney has started foreclosing to collect fines and legal fees.  in a power HOAs have commonly known as the priority of payment scam, legitimate assessments are diverted to pay the HOA attorney FIRST (wonder who wrote those laws?), fines, interest and other junk fees before making sure their share of the commons expenses are covered.   And as often happens,  there is nothing left the owner and the owner is behind in his or her dues. Time to foreclose and collect dues from “these deadbeat homeowners”. You can read more about Larry’s plight in his condo http://letmeflytheflag.com

What if you don’t violate a flowerpot rule?  How well are your Rights of ownership being protected?

Stephanie Krasowski joins us during the second half of the show.  Stephanie, also a condo owner in Florida, is fighting a much bigger problem than a stupid flowerpot rule.  In her case it is not stupid neighbors but a stupid government that made it possible for her and thousands of Floridians to lose their homes in what amounts to a hostile takeover.  When a law is enacted as a knee jerk reaction to address a relatively small issue without putting in adequate protections to protect the citizens and prevent a small group of people from using and abusing the law for their own benefit, the lives of many people can be ruined.  A law that allows 80% of the owners in a condo project to terminate the condominium, stripping the remaining 20% of the owners of their RIGHTS and rendering them homeless is a huge problem.  Exact numbers may not be available but it is known that at least 17,010 people have lost their homes through no fault of their own and another 1035 families are at risk of being victims of this particular scam.  You can read more about this disaster at http://www.cnbc.com/id/101746928 and sign Stephanie’s petition to save her home at http://www.change.org/p/floridiansact-against-condo-takeover .

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2 thoughts on “Larry Murphree and Stephanie Krasowski”

  1. Real estate development is very big business in the state of Florida, and home to the largest number of HOAs in the country (CA is a close second).

    Both of these cases come down to excessive control created for HOAs by Developers and Real Estate investors. These are the people who wrote the book on creation of HOAs, and who continue to “craft” and lobby for legislation that gives the illusion of democratic process, but, in reality hands over greater corporate control to HOA Boards, whether controlled by Developers or “elected” by owners.

    Real estate is “too big to fail” in states like Florida, where state and local officials and regulatory agencies allow the special interest groups to exploit and trample all over the rights of property owners and tenants, almost of whom live in some sort of HOA/Condo regime by default.

    While some HOAs are busy suing neighbors for unauthorized objects in flower pots, lawn ornaments, service animals that are “too large,” stealing garbage cans and towing cars parked on city streets for no reason at all — other HOAs are on the verge of condemnation because of unpaid utility bills, filth and deterioration, violent crime is taking hold in many struggling HOA communities, and golf courses are abandoned and overgrown in once-desirable planned developments.

    Any developer that wants a construction permit can now get it in two days, with no fear of meaningful environmental regulation. (see Tampa Bay Times reporting)

    While condo owners are being kicked to the curb, paid a mere pittance for their units, and left holding mortgages for homes they no longer own — the great state of Florida is building thousands of new luxury condominium units and townhouses priced at a half-million dollars and up. In several cases, non-HOA homes in older, modestly priced neighborhoods are being acquired and torn down to make room for this high end real estate. Many thousands of empty lots languish in unfinished planned developments started 8-10 years ago, yet new HOA developments are being approved on virtually any open land developers can find – including ranch lands and land owned by the Catholic Diocese.

    Florida desperately needs political leaders that serve the interests of the People, rather than the interests of wealthy corporate interests.

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