Category Archives: Abuse

Larry Fletcher

There is a rumor out there that 9 out of 10 owners in homeowners associations are delighted with their living conditions.  Apparently the Community Associations Institute has a hard time believing those numbers as well because they seem to be commissioning a new survey every year or two – just to make sure, I suppose.  The statistics and the numbers are, well, quite incredible but they must be true, otherwise we wouldn’t be reading about them in in every article about HOA horror stories.  

The folks I hear from are not the deliriously happy homeowners the pollsters seem to unearth every year or so.  I hear from people who are being terrorized, bullied, demonized and abused by a housing scheme that is beyond repair.  I talk to people who are terrified of going home, of answering the door or the phone or picking up their mail.  Perhaps that explains why they are not represented in all these happy surveys?  The sorry fact is that HOAs are ruining a lot of lives and destroying a lot of people.

But there is strength in numbers and sometimes that can be a beautiful thing.  
 
Joining us On The Commons this week is Larry Fletcher.  Larry and his neighbors decided they didn’t want to be harassed and abused by a board president with too much free time on his hands and a passion for writing threat letters and issuing fines.  So they went to court and challenged the fines and the nit picky violations and they won their case.  In the process they got a kinder, gentler president.  But that did not guarantee that theirs would be a happy neighborhood forever after.  They realized they were one election away from having another tyrant at the helm so they set out to ensure that they would always have a real sense of community where neighbors cared for each other and celebrated together.  You will LOVE their story and what they did to get there.   You will also understand why Larry sounds like such a cheerful chap.

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Ward Lucas

The most effective way of breaking up a larger concentration of power is to “divide and conquer” or “divide and rule”.  And one of the easiest ways of doing that is through the use of fear. It is no secret that many HOA homeowners live in fear.  The statutory powers associations have been given across the country puts the owners at a huge disadvantage.  And associations have been known to use, and in some cases, abuse those powers.  
 
Sometimes all it takes is making an example of one homeowner in a neighborhood to ensure that everyone toes the line without any problems.   That is the Fear factor.  But do the neighbors have a duty to get involved or should they just roll over and hope things blow over soon?
 
Joining us On The Commons this week is Ward Lucas.  Ward is an award winning investigative journalist who found himself tangled up in the HOA web.  So what does an investigative journalist do when he thinks something smells bad?  He investigates associations and when he discovered that he was not alone, he wrote a book called Neighbors at War.  He then started a blog by the same name neighborsatwar.com  We’ll talk to Ward about his book, his blog and get a feel of what is going on around the country.  We’ll also talk about what it takes to stand up to the neighborhood bullies and why, even though there are more homeowners than association employees, the homeowners are losing the battle.  

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Barry Silver

The dictionary has many definitions for the word “home” but to me home is that safe place we all go to recharge our batteries, be with those we love or enjoy the solitude those 4 walls provide.  It is a place that is uniquely our own.  Houses, apartments, hotel rooms and units can all look alike, but much like fingerprints and snowflakes no two homes are ever exactly alike.  In a world that seems to fear individuality and promotes uniformity, a home has even more importance than ever.
In our brave new world of cookie cutter dwelling units, crammed into modern day  kommunities ,  more often than not the heart and soul of what we once called a community is gone.  In addition to all looking alike and living alike we now also are expected to be alike.  
 
Joining us On The Commons this week is Barry Silver.  Barry, an attorney who practices in Florida, has spent his career fighting for the rights of individuals, including homeowners in HOAs. Currently Barry is working with several homeowners in a particular association where the owners are being evicted from their own homes.  These owners are paid up, they do not owe any money so it is not a case of “mooching off their neighbors” as proponents of this dysfunctional housing scheme would use as an acceptable reason for this barbaric behavior.  They are, however, elderly so they are vulnerable. Their alleged “crimes”, and the reason they are being evicted are petty, absurd and ridiculous.  We’ll talk to Barry about these homeowners, what they are being targeted for and where they are now. 
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