Category Archives: Pets

Judy Thomas

Symptoms are warning signs indicative of a problem.  These warning signs should be investigated.  Sweeping them under the rug and hoping they’ll go away is irresponsible.  Far too often that is the treatment of choice in the Homeowner association arena.  All the horror stories are symptomatic of deeper problems, and conditions that allow or even encourage the abuses to continue, unabated.  They are the results of flawed reasoning. The very people who should be concerned that their brand is defective and harmful to the owners are the very same people who flippantly dismiss every signal that all is not well.  Rather than preventing the horrors, the HOA industry blames and belittles the owners.  Their arsenal is made up of the same stupid excuses and explanations.  They  glibly refer to the hundreds and hundreds of stories as “isolated incidents”.  They have no credibility, they deserve no respect.

Judy Thomas joins us On The Commons.  Judy is an award winning journalist with the Kansas City Star who has written and published an amazing series of articles about many of the stories going on in associations across the country.  The main story, HOAs from hell: Homes associations torment residents they’re supposed to support   just touches on some of the many problems homeowners face on a daily basis.  The page also has links to other stories and video clips of some of the stories Judy ran across.  In an HOA no one is spared.  The color of window dressings is more important than a child’s safety and her life.  The color of a swing set takes on a life of its own and ends up costing the family a huge sum of money.  In one condo, an approved emotional pet was banned, causing the owner enough distress that he committed suicide.  Even a 91 year old great grandmother is not safe in one of these associations.  The elderly lady in this story is being charged $15 for every “letter” the HOA sends her notifying her that her garage door is no longer considered trim.  Aren’t Americans allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labor without being hounded and harassed by the neighborhood thugs?  These stories are real, they are not isolated incidents.  The same stories are repeated time and again all over the place.  You just can’t make these stories up.  If you have a story to share with Judy please send it to  HOA@kcstar.com

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Stephen Marcus

I must be a newer, more modern version of Rip Van Winkle.   Once simple and easy to understand ways of living and going about my business have become so complicated and incomprehensible.  Laws that must have been written by inebriated Martians have replaced common sense and common courtesy.  Who, in their right mind, would even think of some of the nonsense that is becoming an accepted part of every day life?  Take for instance pets in HOAs.  Once an absolute no for homeowners in residential associations, CAI appears to be not only softening its stand but also encouraging pets on HOAs.  Why?  Not only does this inquiring mind want to know but also so do many of our listeners.  

So we decided to find out just what was going on.

Stephen Marcus joins us On The Commons.  Stephen is an attorney in Massachusetts who has made a career of Community Association law.  He is the recent recipient of the Don Buck award, which is awarded for exceptional leadership in the field of community association law by his colleagues.  Yes, he is a member of CAI but that has never stopped him from always been generous with his time, willing to talk quite candidly about some the issues that have many of us scratching our heads.  So we ask Stephen what those pesky Martians have been up to lately and what changes are blowing in the wind, headed for America’s homeowners.  There appears to be a lot of activity at the Federal level, some good and some maybe not so good.  We also try to understand why pets are center stage – in a good way for a change – and will have an entire issue of Common Ground dedicated to them.  They will also be part of CAI’s annual convention in May.  Pets on parade in America’s HOAs?  Who would have thunk it?  Will your pet be featured in Common Ground? 

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