The Summit Run, West Palm Beach. It used to a heavenly place to live. But all of a sudden we had a little economic burp that sent a number of homeowners flying elsewhere. Adam Sinclair’s job is to fix up what’s wrong at Summit Creek, keep the water running and the trash picked up among its 254 residents.
He’s also supposed to collect HOA fees among the residents, and what a thankless job that is. The residents see the trash and the unkempt grounds and the leaky faucets and they say, “Why should I pay dues? My neighbors aren’t!” And they’d be right. A quarter of Summit Run residents are late on their dues. And when they don’t pay, management has to go hire lawyers to kick in the heads of the recalcitrant owners.
I’m surprised no one has used this analogy before. But if you train a dog with gentle praise, rewards and love you can train that dog to do almost anything. If you yell at it, berate it, hit it with sticks, you can never again get that dog to love and respect you.
Our communities are dying, not because of the housing bubble, not because there weren’t enough owners vs. rentals, not because we didn’t try our hardest to keep our communities clean. No, we lost the trust of homeowners who comprise the very thin veneer of a residential cell. We beat them, we sued them, we screamed at them and slipped hate mail under their doors.
The HOA movement wasn’t prepared. And it should have been.