CAI’s Fact Book claims that the current thinking in HOAs is that “Community means harmony – Governance means transparency – Business means sustainability” Sounds positively utopian, doesn’t it? For years proponents of kontrolled living have tried to convince us that associations are democracy up close and personal, that they give owners an unprecedented opportunity to influence their surroundings, that the members have a say in the decisions made by the collective and it goes on and on. If there was even a kernel of truth to any of this total misrepresentation of the facts, why do an ever increasing number of HOA detainees compare their associations to war zones? Why are more and more horror stories grabbing the headlines?
Over the years we have been warned the future of HOAs is in jeopardy due to the lack of interest by the owners. The complaints from industry leaders ranged from homeowners not attending association meetings to not caring enough to run for the board and not providing the necessary oversight to prevent all the embezzlement we keep hearing about. Now we are told that in those days of dire predictions for HOAs that the thinking was “Governance meant compliance. Community meant conformity.” We’ve come a long way to arrive at harmony and transparency, haven’t we?
So just how harmonious and transparent are today’s homeowner associations?
On The Commons with us this week is Stephen Smith. Stephen, a condo owner in Florida, decided to avail himself of some of that transparency that seems to be the hallmark of associations by asking about the reserve account and the need for a loan. After all, as a member he will be on the hook financially to cover all the costs and obligations incurred by the association. But apparently the folks on his board had not received the email about being open and responsive to the owners because he was given the run around. However, the incident occurred in a very harmonious setting, right? For a better understanding of the harmony that exists in associations, you can watch a clip of that meeting here. Be forewarned that someone just might try to tell you that it is an isolated incident but don’t you believe it.