History can show us where we came from and how we got here. History is just as valuable when looking at the evolution of residential associations. While design and structure have played significant roles in their growth, so have enabling legislation and lack of choice. But what about the future? Wouldn’t history be a good tool to help us prevent the same mistakes that have led to the creation of some of the most harmful housing choices? If we look through our crystal balls what do we see? What is in store for American homeowners? Will sanity, respect and dignity make a comeback or have property owners lost the right to sovereignty over their own homes?
Bill Davis joins us On The Commons. Bill, a Texas attorney and frequent guest on the show, represents homeowners. Along the way he has encountered some of the most interesting, weird and bizarre situations associated with the wacky world of controlled living. Many of his cases and stories highlight the incredible absurdity of this form of housing. In addition to taking on clients, he is a frequent commentator on many public forums, discussing all things related to HOAs. He shares some thoughts about the new White Paper put out by CAI. We’ll find out if they are looking through the same crystal ball that Bill consulted.
I always believed that the government’s job was to protect its citizens. But, just like HOAs protecting property values, that too appears to be a misconception. Maybe the government’s real goal always was self aggrandizement and self enrichment hidden under layers of feigned caring. Perhaps I am only now beginning to realize that or maybe the corruption and gross government misconduct has reached new heights that it is no longer possible to sweep their misdeeds under the rug and pretend they don’t exist. Or has their callousness reached new heights? Surely, when presented with evidence that their constituents are being physically harmed, they would at least listen and take steps to ensure their safety.
Michelle Germano joins us On The Commons. Michelle is the lead plaintiff in the Chinese drywall class action lawsuit. Michelle bought her dream home – a brand new townhouse in a brand new development where she planned to live and work. It wasn’t long after she moved in that things started going terribly wrong. Appliances stopped working, electrical wires disintegrated, her house had a horrible odor that she couldn’t get rid of, her dog got sick and she got sick. She found out that her neighbors were also getting sick. Following a lot of sleuthing, she discovered the source of her ailments – Chinese drywall. She tried to enlist the help of her representatives, both at the state and the Federal levels. No one was interested! After repeated attempts to get Virginia legislators involved she received a call advising her to give up because the “condo lobby” (read CAI) owned condo legislation. Nobody in DC even bothered to respond. In a no holds barred, frank, detailed and emotional interview, Michelle takes us on a roller coaster ride of her life with Chines drywall, her condo association and the legislators elected to represent us.
Oh what a web we weave…. In the beginning the mass production of HOAs was designed to provide municipalities with free tax $$$. One of the deceptions most commonly used to convince housing consumers to buy into a residential association was that HOAs protected property values. In fact Declarations started with a statement that read ” The purpose of this association is to protect property values”. That was the first silk produced for the web. As time went on and the web grew bigger and thicker and more intricate, the problems and the issues multiplied. The flaws in the system were easier to identify and the country started trimming and tweaking the web they created. Their efforts not only failed but led to more problems and more complications. And the web continues to grow!
Deborah Goonan joins us On The Commons. Deborah is a homeowner advocate who learned all about the perils and problems in HOAs when she and her husband bought a house in one of Florida’s planned developments It wasn’t long before the warm and fuzzy feelings for their new home were marred by the flaws in the system. Since then she has been commenting on the various internet sites about the issues as well as hosting her own blog called Independent American Communities. As a result, she is up on the current stories and is frequently contacted by people who thought they bought into the American Dream but find themselves living the American nightmare. If we are going to nip and tuck away at this web, what are some of the major concerns that people have? We talk to Deborah about some of the latest stories out there and discover the 5 core areas that are causing the greatest heartburn for American homeowners. Will her list surprise you or will you agree with the issues homeowners find the most problematic? Tune in and find out.
It is getting almost impossible to get through an entire day without being accosted by bad news. Sometimes there really is nothing we can do about it. Natural disasters are out of our hands. Try stopping a tsunami, a hurricane or an earthquake. You can’t. Chances of people losing their homes in any of those scenarios are pretty good. But other “disasters” are preventable. I am thinking of the seemingly daily reports of condo and homeowner association fraud, embezzlement, theft, mismanagement and abuse that can also result in the loss of peoples’ homes. These are man made disasters, enabled by the government. Instead of protecting their constituents against these wrongdoings, or redesigning the HOA and condo concept structurally to prevent the abuses, they mandate them and turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the problems. They facetiously mock you for having “agreed” to the “rules”.
Jose Pazos joins us On The Commons. Jose, an award winning community manager in Florida, is not cut from the same cloth as many of his colleagues throughout the country. Jose and his business partners, own a management company with a difference. Transparency and accessibility seem to be high on their list of ” must haves” for their homeowner clients. We’ll find out how they do that. (it really is quite simple). We talk about laws that are unique to Florida and how those laws enable the taking of private units from their rightful owners. We will also find out about the many ways owners and associations are robbed and swindled out of their assets and rights. We’ll hear all about his idea for a condo fraud task force, how it would work and how it would be funded. We also find out why he considers himself the “condo police”. In his spare time, Jose also maintains a web page called Condo Receiver. If more people in the condo and HOA business had the integrity and honesty of Jose, we might actually get through a day every now and again with having to read about bad news.