Tyler Berding

Regular listeners to the show know that I have never bought into the notion that HOAs protect and even enhance property values.  When you look at all the moving parts in a house controlled by a homeowners association, in no way can I see how that could be the truth.  Professor Robertson, who was on the last show, did the research and found that HOAs not only do not protect and enhance values as claimed, but actually diminish the values.  Now that made a lot more sense to me.  But then I got an email from my friend Tyler Berding, an attorney in California, wanting clarification on what properties Professor Roberts based his study on. We are guessing they are single family homes, comparing similar sized homes with roughly the same square feet and amenities (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and other amenities, construction and location, one in an HOA and the other Free as a bird and not in an HOA.  But then Tyler reminded me of one of the big pitfalls in this entire HOA discussion and that is language.  We don’t use terms that are common to everyone.  Some people and places refer to them as common interest developments, others call them property owners associations, and yet others refer to them as condominiums, cooperatives, attached and detached housing and the list goes on and on.  I am beginning to think we have a modern Tower of Babel.  

Tyler Berding joins us On The Commons Tyler is a founding partner in the California based law firm of Berding and Weil.  Tyler and his fellow attorneys specialize in Common Interest development  law.  We talk about language and the differences in the different forms and styles of these dwelling units and then dive into construction.  Like I said, there are so many moving parts to a house in a homeowner association.  We don’t often dig in deep enough when discussing the issues in HOA/common interest developments/ condominiums, etc, etc. I still can’t see how a house in an HOA can possibly protect and enhance the value, regardless of what you call it. in fact given all the parts it makes more sense that HOAs strip the owner of so much more.  But regardless, I always enjoy talking to Tyler and learn so much from him.  Tune in, I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did.

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Stephen Marcus

It is no secret that I am no fan of residential associations, largely because people don’t always know what they are getting into.  And when they have an inkling and specifically ask for non HOA housing, none are  available.The decision is made by third parties who have a vested interest in imposing mandatory membership  associations on housing consumers.  

Granted, there are exceptions to every rule and some would argue that 55 or older communities might fall under that category.  For some people it is the perfect solution. Or is it?

When Collin’s parents died within 2 weeks of each other, leaving 14 year old Collin an orphan.  He went to live with his grandparents in Prescott, Arizona.  The Passmores, a couple in their 70’s, live in a 55 and older development where no one under the age of 19 is allowed. And now, a year later, 15 year old Collin has been told by the HOA that he has to leave because he is too young to live there.  

Stephen Marcus joins us On The Commons.  Steve, a Massachusetts attorney and long time member of the Community Association Institute represents condominiums and homeowner associations in Massachusetts.  While Steve is not involved with this heart wrenching story I asked him to talk about 55 and older communities.  What are we dealing with and how can we make residential America less threatening?  Are the HOA attorneys being truthful when they predict gloom and doom for HOAs and board members who do not enforce every rule swiftly and decisively?  Where did 19 come from?  Is there room for compassion in residential America?  We’ll get a few answers and perhaps have more questions.  

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Sam Pilli

That there are problems in HOAs is a given, ask anyone, even some of the most ardent of HOA proponents will agree, there really and truly are problems. OK, so what next? Maybe starting at the begging. What if you were to ask 100 people what the problems are, experience has shown that you will get 200 very different answers. The reason is that everyone sees it from their personal perspective and their personal problem. This is an incredibly complex problem with so many moving parts to it that ” fixing” it has to start with a list of exactly what needs to be fixed, and that in and of itself will be a long list. But you have to start somewhere and the best starting point is discussing the issues openly, freely, honestly and fearlessly. Without that you’ll never get out of the starting gate.

Samuel Pilli joins us On The Commons. Sam and his colleagues have developed a Google AP called Zonzon which allows homeowners in HOAs, condos, coops and other closed groups to communicate freely with each other. Sam believes this is the answer to all that ails HOAs. We will talk about his secure communication idea, discuss some of the other mitigating factors involved and find out how Zonzon might play a role in evening out the playing field.

Note the AP Zonzon is only available for Google phones (sorry iPhone users).

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