The “Compassion” of One Colorado HOA

Claire Farrer, a 75 year old disabled woman in Colorado has repeatedly asked her HOA to allow her to build a fence so her service dog can run in the back yard.  She notes that many of her neighbors have such fences. But board members at the Retreat at Rockrimmon HOA have repeatedly refused her requests.

The HOA did approve one of her requests: she could build a fence in area around a bed of rocks next to her home. The dog could run on the rocks, but no on the grass. She says that’s totally inappropriate for a dog, but her ongoing pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, all the neighbors who have larged fenced in yards and dog runs are visible from the street. But for Claire Farrer, the answer is “No!”

Kudos to reporter Bill Vogrin for first reporting this story.

http://www.gazette.com/news/vogrin-142703-hoa-homeowners.html

Ward Lucas, author of Neighbors At War! The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “The “Compassion” of One Colorado HOA

  1. anonymous

    Ward, why do you hate the free market and freedom?

    The Independence Institute, which describes itself as “Colorado’s Free Market Think Tank” and “Freedom’s Front Line” says that

    “Since HOAs are very local and small, participants are often neighbors and hence have incentive to settle disagreements in a civil manner.”

    (“Free-Market Alternatives To Zoning” February 28, 2009).

    • I love the Independence Institute, and especially Jon Caldara. And I am a champion of the free market and freedom. I always have been. But I think Conservatives get it wrong when they describe local HOAs as small organizations where neighbors have incentives to settle disagreements in a civil manner. Any close examination of the typical HOA would show that neighbors are terrified of board officers. Those officers have unprecedented powers to fine, foreclose, seize and sell a member’s house with absolutely no judicial oversight while denying targets/victims any access to the U.S. Constitution. That’s about as close to fascism as a society can get. Our country is great simply because we created checks and balances on absolutely every branch of government. HOA members do not have access to those balances, even in something as absolutely personal as their homes and papers. There are thousands of cases of abuse of HOA homeowners who are too afraid to stand up to HOA power because they know something even worse will happen to them. HOAs are literally not run by their boards. They’re run by tort attorneys who advise the boards to “litigate everything. Let one person get away with any variation to the CC&Rs and you’ll be beseiged with other problems.” That advice only has one purpose: to create an unending income stream to lawyers. My dream is that Conservatives and Libertarians will take a closer look at the national HOA Movement and see that it’s all about shredding the U.S. Constitution and funneling billions of dollars to HOA connected lawyers and management companies. There are enough Las Vegas type scandals around the country to prove that I am right. If that doesn’t answer your questions, I’ll be glad to engage you further.

  2. p

    Anonymous must be new to this. I am a libertarian, and extreme advocate of the free market. There is no liberty in many HOAs. I didn’t know I was giving that up. I thought the dues were a tax to pay for the common areas like in a small town or village. It is NOT the same. I now live in a collective.
    It is similar to socialism and tyranny. I am sure there are many that are run in way that focuses on the common areas and common services, and does not inflict petty restrictions and fines on the property that homeowners pay for. I did not realize my property I pay for would be treated much the same as common areas, except I would pay for boards decisions on my property.

    • Socialism, Communism, Fascism. Yes, our Constitution protects us from all of that. Or at least we thought. What happens when a majority of homeowners in a state are swept into tyrannical HOAs? That’s what’s happening in South Carolina. In most states, 100% of all new homes are governed by an HOA. They’ll be over the halfway mark sooner or later. Talk about “taxation without representation.” People need to wake up and find out what the HOA movement is doing to our Bill of Rights.

    • It is similar to socialism and tyranny.

      Calling the privatized government of an HOA ‘socialism’ indicates a general misunderstanding of facts on the ground. Perhaps you meant to say that private government makes our local, state and federal government look good?

      Of the three ‘isms’, fascism works the best.

  3. anonymous

    “It is similar to socialism and tyranny. ”

    I challenge you to find a single prominent conservative or libertarian pundit who is critical of the HOA model of governance.

    Evan McKenzie, one of a very few scholars who has been studying the HOA issue, has said that he has “never seen a libertarian writer do anything but laud private communities. The publicly stated libertarian position, reiterated many times in books and articles for decades, is that private government based on contract is a wonderful thing.”

    HOA attorney Robert Tankel rationalized his house-stealing business model as “It’s called capitalism. It’s the free market.”

    The HOA-lobbying organization CAI appeals to conservatives by stating that government shouldn’t interfere with the operation of HOAs. And governments rarely do. The HOA industry is about as unregulated of an industry as you can find in this country.

    And, of course, the owner of the largest HOA management company in the United States is a Republican state senator from Dallas, Texas; a state lauded by conservatives — including Jon Caldara — as a model for this country’s housing policy.

  4. p

    annonymous, if this is true, we need to educate them. In my tea party, most people do not like the HOA’s. Check out the web site http://www.krisannehall.com/, I know her and she would never live in an HOA, or http://www.shakedownsocialism.com/, he also will not live in one. I got a call from a my Republican representative’s office in Talahasse just today. He is interrested in Homeowner’s rights in HOA’s. I think conservatives would at least want people to be aware of what HOA’s are before they move in. I didn’t know, and to have choices. It is our county commissioners who give permission for the type of new housing built, so that takes the free market out of the picture. I do no see how these neighborhoods can be defined as private corporations. They do not produce anything, and you cannot walk away from one, and they have the power to take your home over a few dollars.

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