Barbara Stage

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Shouldn’t we be trying to simplify life?  With all the technological and scientific advances that have been made recently, we have the resources and the ability to really free up our time, allowing us to devote ourselves to our families and friends and on the things that make us happy.  Instead, we are being bogged down in layers and layers of red tape. If we did get rid of the things that really make no sense, would the abuses simply vanish and would we, in effect, create a kinder, friendlier environment?

Barbara Stage joins us On The Commons.  Barbara is an attorney in central Florida, where she represents homeowners as well as homeowners associations (HOAs).  The slogan on her website reads; “Protecting the rights of homeowners across the state of Florida”.  Barbara recently wrote a letter to the Florida Legislature advocating for greater oversight of HOAs and also for less costly alternatives to preserving one’s rights against their association.  We talk to Barbara about some of the atrocities she has witnessed over the years in Florida HOAs.  We find out what kind of advice industry attorneys give their HOA clients and we talk about HOAs refusing to cash checks from homeowners and sending legal notices to wrong addresses.  And that’s just for starters, there is so much more.  I ask myself again, what on earth are we thinking?

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3 thoughts on “Barbara Stage”

  1. Excellent interview!

    Barbara addresses several of the issues that our Kansas legislators have been looking at with HB 2557. In discussion this past week it was very clear the legislators did not have the level of knowledge about HOAs that anyone passing bills about HOAs should have.

    This interview was so informative, I decided to send the link to our Kansas Attorney General and some of the legislators that are involved with working on HB 2557. I pray they will listen to it.

    Many thanks to Barbara and Shu for this interview. I hope it will be one of many!

  2. Shu, Barbara, outstanding interview! It’s about time that the FL legislature and other states learn the truth about what goes on in HOAs and Condo Associations.

    Barbara is correct that many people who relocate to Florida from other states have no idea what a homeower’s association is. For example, when we moved from PA to FL in 2009, I was only vaguely aware that HOAs have certain rules that have to be followed to keep your property looking a certain way, and that there were “dues” to pay for certain amenities. I had no idea that the Board of Directors was a group of volunteers (or the developer if construction is still ongoing), and that those volunteers need not meet any personal or professional qualification standards. I assmed that HOAs were an extension of the local municipality or county, and not a private corporation with no oversight whatsover.

    I assumed my assessment money would be spent wisely and that maintenance of roads, sidewalks, “lakes,” and the small park would be done to the same standard and level I observed on the day we wrote the offer to buy our house.

    My assumptions turned out to be erroneous. What’s more, there was very little homeowners could do about it. We had to keep paying assessments, even though maintenance was not done consistently or even at all in certain less visible parts of the subdivision. Otherwise, we faced the risk of lien and foreclosure.

    Plus, I never imagined that neighbors could be so unreasonable or abusive. I was appalled when I witnessed shouting matches and vulgarities at some of the Board meetings. It got to the point where a security guard attended each meeting. But I guess that was mild compared to what goes on in some other Association-Governed Communities.

    People who live in more rural locations or small towns and cities don’t see many HOAs and condos where they live. In PA, for example, the condos are in Philadelphia and Pittsburge, and the HOAs tend to be located in the counties surrounding those two major cities, or in the Pocono mountain region where there are a lot of vacation homes and bedroom communities for people who commute to NY and NJ for work.

    That said, I see HOAs beginning to infiltrate small towns and rural areas, and that concerns me a great deal. It’s why I do what I do on my blog at independentamericancommunities.com

  3. You only have to experience the abuse to know what is wrong with the HOA concept. Thanks to all those who keep us informed!

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