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.
Lord Acton said ” power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And if what is happening all around us is not proof that he was bang on target, I don’t know what is. I can list all the rights and freedoms Americans have lost and are losing at all levels but this week I want to focus on the most innocent and vulnerable among us – our children. Yes, they are being targeted by the bullies in HOAs and in local governments. For generations kids have been allowed to set up lemonade stands, make and sell lemonade to make some pocket money, help their parents meet their expenses, raise money for charity and even for neighbors. They have learned so much and, along the way practiced being responsible adults. But that’s not good enough.
Deborah Goonan joins us On The Commons. Deborah has a blog called Independent American Communities where she blogs about everything that is happening in America’s HOA controlled neighborhoods and also the non HOA controlled communities. But as we learn today, it is not just HOAs that behave like thugs and seem to exist solely to “enforce, enforce, enforce”. Local real governments seem to have jumped on the bandwagon and will apparently do anything to increase their revenue, even at the expense of children. We’ll talk to Deborah about two states, Texas and Colorado, that have enacted legislation allowing children under 18 to have lemonade stands without having to get a municipal permit to do so. Can you imagine forcing a 5 or 6 or even an 11 year old to pay outrageous fees for a permit and then FINING the child if they neglected to get one? These two states appear to be role models because other states are also contemplating legislatively allowing children to be children, including New York. The other piece of good news I have for you is that Country Time, makers of lemonade have set up a Lemon Ade, for a brief period of time they will pay for fines incurred for setting up a lemonade stand as well as permits paid for – with proof, of course.
So proud of the children who are standing up for their rights. Be sure to watch 8 year old Branson Burton’s testimony in front of the Texas committee on State Affairs. Kids like Branson give me hope that all is not lost.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have news for you, if it hurts it is NOT good for you. The only people who would have you believe that nonsense are those who are out to take advantage of you and to harm you. One of the biggest scams that has been harming Americans for the past several decades is residential associations. If these associations are such a great deal, why not provide housing consumers with honest, truthful information about what they are buying into? However, that disclosure will have to include all possible risks to their homes, their wallets, their health and the health and well being of their children. It is not about pools, tennis courts, community centers and all the glitz, but also about harassment, fines, being put under the microscope, special assessments, foreclosures, and all the abuses for such ridiculous alleged infractions, such as children’s bikes that are visible, basket ball hoops, hopscotch on the sidewalk. It is about living, living as a family without fear, raising happy healthy children instead of couch potatoes with weight problems and a lifetime of health problems.
Dr. Gary Solomon joins me On The Commons this week. Dr. Solomon has dedicated the last several years of his life to to educating the public about the health risks of living in an HOA. He has written one of the most creative and comprehensive e-books called HOA:Crisis in America which he has made available online free to everyone. You can read the book, listen to it or watch video clips. It is book that everyone should read, whether in the hallowed halls of our State and Federal Capitols, academia and especially his colleagues in the medical world. The medical practitioners who have the task of healing and curing their patients need to understand the root cause of the problems their patients are suffering. Every time I talk to Dr. Solomon, I learn something new and I get to know the man a little better. He is definitely a man well worth getting to know.
Let the children play in HOAs. They deserve a normal childhood and will not devalue property.
Stress, for the most part, is unavoidable. Problems at work, traffic jams on the way home, being late picking up the kids from the sitter, all are stressful situations. They are all part of life. We deal with the problems as they happen and go on with our lives. But then we go home to find a threat letter from the homeowner association because the mailbox is dusty or the mulch is the wrong color or the wrong size and we have 2 days to tear it out and replace it with the correct size and color of mulch – or else. The kids are hungry and are whining. That’s it, that’s the straw that broke the camel’s back. We have taken as much as we can take so we take out our anger and frustration on the kids.
Children should not have to suffer. Unfortunately all too often they are the ones who bear the brunt of our frustrations.
Dr. Gary Solomon joins us On The Commons this week. Dr. Solomon has long warned us about the harmful effects of stress caused by HOAs on homeowners. He has written a book HOA; Crisis in America as well as several papers on how stress affects us physically, mentally and emotionally. These include HOA Syndrome , Elder Abuse and his latest, Child Abuse by Proxy. Dr. Solomon talks about child abuse by proxy on this show, he explains how it works and what happens to children who are abused. We talk about the fallout of bringing children up in associations where life can turn into a study of pettiness and power abuse.
Why are American homeowners being forced to live under a microscope? How can we put a stop to the horrors in HOAs? Dr. Solomon has some very interesting and simple thoughts on that. Don’t miss it.