Over the years we have been led to believe that people actually want HOA controlled housing. We have been told HOAs protect property values and provide housing consumers with access to amenities reserved for the rich and famous. Homeowners actually believed that their homes were worth more because there was a pool or a tennis court or a basketball hoop within walking distance. So without question, they accepted all the inherent risks, restrictions and extra costs associated with homeowner associations and jumped into homeownership with both feet. Over time American homeowners acquiesced and accepted all the negative nonsense that was part and parcel of this type of housing, believing it was inevitable. And gradually, because of municipal association mandates, housing consumers found they had no options. All that was available was tacky little boxes, made of cardboard, wrapped in plastic, stacked one on top of the other, and that became the “norm”.
Fred Fischer and Jill Schweitzer join us On The Commons this week. Fred has been digging through archives and researching local municipal zoning ordinances and discovered that there is more than one way to handle open spaces and amenities. Actually, he says you can maintain them publicly or privately, the former through special municipal districts funded by the residents who will benefit by the amenities through a special fee collected through mortgage companies, much like insurance and property taxes and the latter in the form of an HOA with HOA fees and dues. However the “private” way of maintaining common areas comes with a whole host of additional risks and unlimited liabilities that are in fine print.
Jill is a Realtor who would like to be able to provide her clients with a choice. As she tells me, no one has ever asked her to find them a house in an HOA, in fact many of my clients specifically request non HOA housing. So when Jill and Fred teamed up, combined their knowledge, skills and resources what they came up with was their aha moment. Together they put together a report, still in draft form, to educate and lobby for choices in housing. As they say, there is a better way of doing this while giving housing consumers a choice. Join us as we talk about the options and the many not so little white lies that have made their way into the legislatures across the country.