Bruised, abused, mocked, harassed, dejected and frustrated, homeowners in HOAs have tried to fight back. They have been sued, fined, ridiculed, outgunned and left standing alone in a sea of their neighbors, homeowners like themselves too terrified to even talk to them lest they find themselves in the crosshairs of the HOA. Over the years I have talked to and witnessed some of these homeowners as they start an organization to fight the injustices of HOAs only to end up fighting amongst themselves. Their vision of taming the HOA monster evaporating into thin air. Could part of the problem be the lack of teamwork? Are they listening to each other or shouting over each other? Is the key to real reform as simple as listening?
John McGuire joins us On The Commons. John, a Virginia delegate has one of the most amazing and inspiring personal stories I have yet to come across. When all the odds seemed to be against him, John fought and earned one of the coveted spots as a Navy Seal, despite being told he couldn’t do it. Later he defied the odds again and survived a life threatening accident, learned to walk and to write his name – again. Incredibly none of what he went through in life convinced him he couldn’t do something. Being told he couldn’t do something was the impetus he needed to prove them wrong. John strongly believes in teamwork and like every good leader, gives credit to his team. I heard about John when he managed to help resolve a 20 year HOA horror story. We’ll get to know John personally and learn about his philosophy, talk about the problems in HOAs and start looking at different ways of dealing with the problems millions of American homeowners face nationwide.
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[30:00] “I talked to some lawyers, they said when you sign a contract to buy a house and you’re supposed to get a copy of the H.O.A. [documents] and read it. If you read it and you agree to it, then you sign it and buy the house. I’ve had lawyers say ‘it’s not fair that if you sign a contract, that we come in and legislate and change something that you signed’.” [30:22]
[36:15] “Having spoken to some folks involved, it’s kind of hard to write legislation to change something that somebody has already signed. That would be a bad precedent.” [36:25]
* sigh *
A contract is not simply an agreement between two parties, but an agreement between two parties that is legally enforceable. What is “legally enforceable” is the business of the government.
For example, an agreement between a bank robber and his getaway driver would not be enforceable; i.e., the bank robber would not be able to sue the getaway driver for failure to get away. “Your honor, I would have gotten away with it, if my driver had shown up with the getaway car at the time and place he agreed to”.
There is precedent for the legislature in Virginia deciding which contracts are legally enforceable. For example, “Va. Code Ann. §§ 40.1-58 through 40.1-69, Article 3.Denial or Abridgment of Right to Work.”, more commonly known as a “right to work” law, voids contracts that require employees to be a member of a labor union as a condition of employment.
§ 40.1-59. Agreements or combinations declared unlawful. — Any agreement or combination between any employer and any labor union or labor organization whereby persons not members of such union or organization shall be denied the right to work for the employer, or whereby such membership is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or whereby any such union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any enterprise, is hereby declared to be against public policy and an illegal combination or conspiracy. (Enacted 1947; amended 1970.)
§ 40.1-60. Employers not to require employees to become or remain members of union. — No person shall be required by an employer to become or remain a member of any labor union or labor organization as a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer. (Enacted 1947; amended 1970.)
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