We get mail, emails, messages and other forms of communication. Always happy to hear from you. I find it interesting that so many of you have the same name, “Anonymous”, often there is no name or return address for snail mail or email addresses so this show is dedicated to responding to a couple of recent messages.
First of all, I got a letter proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that all is not well in HOAland. The letter starts off by saying “my HOA board is provoking me to commit suicide.” I can fully understand the sheer frustration of having to deal with a bunch of bullies but PLEASE don’t commit suicide. No HOA is worth your life. I have yet to find any truthful and honest benefit of an HOA for the owners. Sadly many frustrated, harassed and abused HOA owners have committed suicide over the years. And the HOA lives on to abuse more homeowners. The best advice I have for you is to GET OUT and, with other HOA survivors help get the message out. Talk to legislators IN PUBLIC, preferably with cameras on so they can’t just sweep your comments and concern under the rug as they have a tendency to do. It is time they understand what they have done and FIX IT.
Bill Davis joins us On The Commons. Bill, a Texas attorney represents HOA homeowners and has more insight from a real life point. I get the most comments about Bill. People want me to clone him, another Anonymous writer complains about Bills audio quality but then says, “once you get Bill’s audio problems fixed; more episodes with Bill and John Cowherd together.” Bill and I talk about some of the issues raised by the writer and explain the problem with his audio. You will be happy to know that we had no problems with the audio on this show. Tune in to find out what Bill did to “fix” it.
Symptoms are warning signs indicative of a problem. These warning signs should be investigated. Sweeping them under the rug and hoping they’ll go away is irresponsible. Far too often that is the treatment of choice in the Homeowner association arena. All the horror stories are symptomatic of deeper problems, and conditions that allow or even encourage the abuses to continue, unabated. They are the results of flawed reasoning. The very people who should be concerned that their brand is defective and harmful to the owners are the very same people who flippantly dismiss every signal that all is not well. Rather than preventing the horrors, the HOA industry blames and belittles the owners. Their arsenal is made up of the same stupid excuses and explanations. They glibly refer to the hundreds and hundreds of stories as “isolated incidents”. They have no credibility, they deserve no respect.
Judy Thomas joins us On The Commons. Judy is an award winning journalist with the Kansas City Star who just wrote and published an amazing series of articles about many of the stories going on in associations across the country. The main story, HOAs from hell: Homes associations torment residents they’re supposed to support just touches on some of the many problems homeowners face on a daily basis. The page also has links to other stories and video clips of some of the stories Judy ran across. In an HOA no one is spared. The color of window dressings is more important than a child’s safety and her life. The color of a swing set takes on a life of its own and ends up costing the family a huge sum of money. In one condo, an approved emotional pet was banned, causing the owner enough distress that he committed suicide. Even a 91 year old great grandmother is not safe in one of these associations. The elderly lady in this story is being charged $15 for every “letter” the HOA sends her notifying her that her garage door is no longer considered trim. Aren’t Americans allowed to enjoy the fruits of their labor without being hounded and harassed by the neighborhood thugs? These stories are real, they are not isolated incidents. The same stories are repeated time and again all over the place. You just can’t make these stories up.
If you have a story to share with Judy please send it to HOA@kcstar.com
Violence is alive and well in residential America. So is bullying. And so are the feelings of helplessness, loneliness and frustration that countless American homeowners face on a daily basis. Quite a few of these stories do make the headlines but many more of them never see the light of day. We’ve heard from homeowners who were beaten up during meetings for asking questions, we’ve heard about the elderly being shoved and pushed by the bullies in charge, we’ve heard about pets being poisoned and shot, we’ve heard about owners and guests being terrorized by cars on the streets of their developments. We’ve heard about the stresses of association living get to the point where death is preferable. There have been more suicides and attempted suicides in residential America than we can even begin to imagine.
What is it about this version of the American Dream that causes so much violence, stress and pain for the members? And why is the real government so oblivious to these problems?
Jerry Berg joins us On The Commons. Jerry is a Kansas condo owner who has experienced first hand some of the violence that seems to be prevalent in America’s over almost half a million mandatory membership condos and homeowner associations. We’ll talk to Jerry and find out what led to the violent confrontation that put him in the hospital after being beaten up with a crowbar and put the manager in jail, at least briefly. We’ll also find out why, after several years, nothing has been resolved and the cases are ongoing. We’ll learn how the bullying in his particular association caused two of his neighbors to commit suicide.