Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Caveat Emptor, buyer beware, was once the watch word for housing consumers. In other words, do your homework and understand what you are doing because if you buy it you “own it”, all of it, the good, the bad and the ugly. Notwithstanding all the laws, allegedly protecting real estate buyers, “caveat emptor” is probably more applicable now than ever before. Real estate deals are no longer simply between the buyer and the seller, today there are many other interests involved in every transaction. The ever present HOA always rears its ugly head and inserts itself in the middle of the sales contract.
Jonathan Friedrich joins us On The Commons. Jonathan’s story should remind us to do our homework so that we know what we are buying. It should also warn us not rely on what we are told. Because Jonathan relied on the information provided by title company, it cost him thousands of dollars for HOA assessments he did not owe because, surprise, his house was NOT part of the HOA. Nice surprise but it cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars extricating himself from the HOA he never belonged to. He recently won a major legal battle and is rightly very proud of himself. But that is not the end of the story, he is now going to try to recoup some of the money he has spent to get this far. What he will never regain is the years of “fighting”to protect what is rightfully his. Tune in and listen to Jonathan’s story, in his own words. F ind out how he discovered the clue that led him on this journey.
Gone are the days when being a property owner meant having dominion over your property. With the imposition of mandatory membership residential associations and the restrictive covenants that are attached to the deed, homeowners have lost some of the most basic and fundamental rights of the use and enjoyment of their homes. Those restrictions range from something as basic and mundane as a choice of plants, to the approved shade of white for the interior window blinds to something a little more serious like having a fence to keep children and pets safe and even to having children and pets at all.
Are restrictive covenants and neighborhood Nazis the only threat to a property owner’s right to ownership?
Dr. Bonner Cohen joins us On The Commons this week. Dr. Cohen is a Senior Fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a position he has had since 2002. He is also a Senior Policy Analyst with the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow; and the author of The Green Wave. Dr. Cohen takes us on a trip down memory lane and reminds us of the advantages and opportunities we enjoyed in the past and compares them to the way we live today. He explains how and why, slowly, very slowly, rights, education, health, wealth and the way we live have been adversely affected. He very clearly helps us follow the laws, regulations and policies that have stripped us of things we once enjoyed and took for granted. The changes were gradual, the results were by design and we never noticed them until they were here. Is it too late or can we wrest control of our world back from the special interests? Listen to Bonner Cohen
An often cited benefit for residential associations used to be that they allowed the members greater control over their immediate surroundings. The other bonus they were promised was that collectively they would gain political clout. At least that was the sales pitch, along with the ever present promise of enhanced property values. It all sounded wonderful and in a perverse sense sounded sort of logical. But as we have learned over the years not everything works the way it is supposed to. In fact in the case of residential associations, the opposite is true. Not only don’t the members have control over their immediate surroundings but have lost sovereignty over their own private spaces. The existence of an HOA or Condo association is infinitely more intrusive and tyrannical than a neighborhood where the residents are on their own and allegedly have no control.
Jonathan Dessaules joins us On The Commons. Jon is an attorney in Phoenix, Arizona. As part of his practice he represents homeowners against their associations. He is one of a handful of attorneys nationwide who will only represent the owners and not straddle the fence hopping over to the HOA side when they feel like it. Currently his is in a class of his own in Arizona. He also has a blog where he discusses HOA issues and gives general guidance. It’s a great page to check out for quick guidance on some of the more common issues facing homeowners. We talk to Jon about all the usual HOA issues common to all American homeowners but we also talk about a long and protracted case that he recently won. His clients own a unit in an upscale condominium where the fees are in excess of $1,000/month. The condo shut the key card down, impeding access to the private unit and banned the use of the amenities until the owners forfeited a right they had. So much for having greater control of your immediate surroundings in a residential association.