Our founding fathers felt strongly enough about protecting our right to express ourselves, share our thoughts and tell our stories that they included it in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, also known as The Bill of Rights. The importance and the benefits of this right can’t be overstated.
Dr. Gary Solomon joins us On The Commons. Dr Solomon, a professor of psychology has studied the effects of residential associations on the homeowners. I asked him specifically about “gag orders” and how they affected families and especially the harm that is done to the children. He had some interesting insights on how HOAs are “muting” their members. We dig beneath the horror stories and try to understand what goes on underneath it all. Dr Solomon has written extensively on this subject. To access all his work simply Google HOA Syndrome.
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Neighborhood get-togethers can build a sense of community. But we don’t need an HOA to do it for us! Part of the problem is that too many grown adults — especially older adults and retirees — buy into the “active adult community” concept sold to us by certain real estate developers that make Billions of Dollars selling homes and/or condos in master planned communities. There’s simply NO reason that social groups and activities need to be tied directly to the title/deed of one’s home, with mandatory membership and assessments and fees (and double taxation) for the physically built environment. Yet the industry keeps selling housing consumers on the “lifestlye community,” leading people to believe that the best way or ONLY way for people to connect with one another is by way of facilities and management connected to a mandatory HOA.
As for “full disclosure,” I agree 100% that’s needed. It’s the basis for my blog, and the reason I have spent the past 5 years documenting the financial risks and recurrent social problems of association-governed common interest developments. Slowly, those of us who keep talking about these issues are increasing awareness nationwide.
Yes, denial is often a problem until the housing consumer learns from first hand experience, or perhaps through the experience of a loved one. But at some point, when public awareness becomes widespread, denial won’t work anymore.
State laws that require pre-sale disclosure forms or letters are a complete joke. I call it SELECTIVE disclosure. And the so-called “disclosure” a buyer receives before closing sale on the property is TEMPORARY, because the terms of the governing documents (the “contract”) can change anytime after the home sale is final.
In HOA-ville, there’s simply no guarantee of private property rights, espeically if they get in the way of collective HOA property rights. Opportunistic of self-interested HOA developers, board members, an agents/vendors exploit the loopholes and weaknesses in state laws all day long.
One solution, I believe, is to completely disconnect ownership of private property from restrictive covenants (deed restrictions), recreational amenities, and organized social clubs.
Gut or eliminate covenants and restrictions on private property, support public recreational opportunities, and bring back voluntary membership in social clubs.
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