|This interview was recorded and broadcast earlier.
Byron Hanke is largely credited with being the grandfather of what we often refer to as “homeowner associations”. But this concept of homeownership includes condominiums, co-ooperatives as well as fee simple single family homes. As I started looking at the bigger picture of HOAs, I wondered about the origins of the concept. I called Byron Hanke several times and talked to him on the phone. He never agreed to be interviewed but was generous with his time when it came to talking one on one. In October of 1999 I got a call from Lincoln Cummins, one of the three founders of CAI and its second President, inviting me to a summit to be held at at Anne and Byron’s house in a place called “Scientists Cliffs” in Maryland. Scientists Cliffs served as a model for HOAs.
Lincoln Cummings joins us On The Commons this week. Linc has been involved from the very beginning so has a unique perspective. He takes us on a trip down memory lane to the very early days of association housing, introduces us to the people involved and talks a little about the thoughts and plans they had. We’ll find out whether or not their ideas materialized as imagined or whether some things went astray. We’ll also ask Linc, hindsight being 20/20, if he could go back to the very beginning, would he do anything differently.
One of the most oft cited benefits of living in the US has always been the right to own property. Having a roof over one’s head and being able to provide a safe and happy home for one’s family has been referred to as the American Dream. Imagine, a house in the middle of a yard, surrounded by a lush green lawn, fruit trees, flowers and room to play with the kids, grandkids and pets. It doesn’t get much better than that!
So when and how did the dream go so very wrong? When did it become such a nightmare? When did the homeowner stop being the architect of his property, the pilot of her own destiny, the author of his or her story? And when did she or he become the hunted and the target in this insane war in the neighborhood? What is happening in our residential developments is sounding the death knell for what some believe to have been a greatest experiment in freedom.
Bill Davis joins us On The Commons. Bill, an attorney in Texas, defends homeowners caught in the middle of the insanity that seems to have become very much part and parcel of “living the American Dream”. He knows and understands the legal structure of deed restricted developments but more importantly he also knows their limits. Join us as we discuss some of the torture tactics used to bully a homeowner and the far reaching consequences of the actions of these abuses. We also hear the incredible facts in one case that highlights what can happen when neighborhood thugs are given unfettered power to browbeat and bully a neighbor.
A common occurrence for newly elected legislators is requesting help from their constituents who are homeowners in mandatory membership Homeowner associations. The stories they hear seem unreal and they have no idea where or how to start or even whether any of it is true. Several years ago one such legislator, Representative JULIO Robaina of FLORIDA set up meetings across Florida, went around the state, and met with the owners to find out what the problems were. The stories he heard repeatedly were the same stories I heard from people around the country. He would then join us On The Commons and tell us about the abuses that were going on. With first-hand information about the issues and ideas from the owners themselves, he sponsored the legislation, which some passed only to be canceled later on but, not all of it. And here we are, years later, the same stories, and abuses continue. At the request of the current legislators, Julio helped draft legislation for this year that was completely ignored by the sitting legislators. This year the focus was on the Surfside condo collapse and how to prevent it from happening again. So once again, nothing will happen.
there will be no real relief for the owners and the people who benefit from this dysfunctional housing concept continue to gain, with no oversight from the government that allows it to continue.
Julio Robaina joins us On the Commons. Please tune in to learn how He is keeping his promise to protect the homeowners.