Let’s Brainstorm

Let’s suppose you are King of the World, and it’s your job to re-write the rules governing Homeowners Associations. Let’s also make the assumption that some kind of neighborhood controls are necessary to ensure that property is kept in good condition. Possibly another assumption is that many homeowners would continue to be apathetic about neighborhood governance. The goal, here, is to build a friendly neighborhood, not one that scares people and drives them into their caves. How would you change the current system to avoid corruption, abusive board members, making liens rare, and making liens fair?

I’d love to hear your solutions, no matter how wild.

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18 Comments

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18 responses to “Let’s Brainstorm

  1. RECORD HOA ASSESSMENTS with County Recorder’s Office so that they become PUBLIC RECORD for prospective homebuyers.

    FILE FINANCIALS WITH THE SEC (SECURITIES EXCHANGE COMMISSION). In fact, some HOAs already report to the SEC (e.g. “hotel condos”). Homeownership in an HOA is like owning stock, you, generally, own only a fractional share of ownership within the HOA. HOAs that are usually committing fraud have a nasty habit of nondisclosure of financials. Hold HOAs accountable by mandatory financial reporting to the feds. If HOAs refuse to comply with financial reporting – fine them!

    THE FIX WILL HAVE TO COME AT A *FEDERAL* LEVEL because state politicians like those in Nevada are far too corrupt. Besides, FEDERAL-SUBSIDIZED LOANS are at risk with these fraud HOAs (e.g. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, etc.) and, ultimately, U.S. taxpayers will be footing the bill for this massive HOA fraud.

    None of the information contained herein is to be construed as legal advice.

    • All excellent points, especially your last one. That fix may have to come through a high court ruling that HOAs are, indeed, de facto governments, subject to Constitutional rule.

      Now how about some other suggestions, possibly involving financial incentives for HOAs that keep their members out of court?

  2. p

    They should not be corporations, but villages. What protects homeowners in those local governments?
    I lived in a modest middle class neighborhood for 25 years and never heard of any problems except that the commercial buildings in the village center were not kept nice.

    • Peggy… you’d be wise to stay in that neighborhood. When it comes time to sell your home, you may very well discover that your home has risen faster in value that homes in nearby HOAs!

    • Hi Anne,

      “Neighbors At War! is going to the printer on Tuesday. I’ll make sure you’re first on the list. I think you’ll like it since it contains new and interesting information that’s not yet part of the national HOA discussion.

      • anonymous

        > “Neighbors At War! is going to the printer on Tuesday.

        You really need to change the title before that happens.

        “Neighbors at War” is accurate and descriptive.

        But the sub-title,

        “The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association”,

        should be changed to

        “The Case Against Your Creepy Homeowners Association”.

        Otherwise, you’re making it sound like opponents of HOAs are the “creepy” party.

      • Yes, “creepy homeowners association” is a great description. There are many other words that can describe the way that human beings protected by a group can go after each other. Creepy is a good word. Let’s think of good energy and light and see what happens to communities. http://blog.SoupKitchenWriting.com

      • I was actually going for the alliteration value. Still, you’ll find enough creepiness throughout!

  3. peg

    No rules for private property unless a problem literally spills over into neighboring property such as actual spills, smells or loud continuous noise late at night. County codes are enough. No homeowner has unequal power, and the board responsibilites are assigned by lottery and short term limit.

  4. I have to go along with Peg. City and county codes already guard against obnoxiousness and nuisances. While Constitutionally respectful neighborhood rules could enhance these local regulations, the problems begin when it’s time to enforce them, or they are changed or added to by a few people and applied to all. Since you can’t have rules without an enforcement mechanism, I see no way around the problem except to ditch the rules, and thus the enforcement.

    The obvious way to make liens rarer is to forego allowing them for anything other than unpaid assessments. In other words, fines and irregular fees cannot be used in a lien situation. Payment plans that apply to assessment fees first, not behind interest, fines and lawyer’s fees, should also be required before placing a lien.

    What really ought to be against the law are non-judicial foreclosures by an HOA. Probably even judicial ones. Let the liens be enough.

    Ask not ‘WHAT your neighbor is doing’ but rather ‘HOW is your neighbor doing’. (Borrowed from Paula Franzese.)

  5. PS. I’m glad the book is coming out. Been waiting for it. It will be available on a Kindle, right?

  6. peg

    Since everyone in the association pays equal dues, and the restrictions are supposed to be equally enforced (LOL), the duties and responsibilities of the board should be equally shared. Why not an annual lottery for board positions.? You said “any idea”. A few are getting all the power, and their “friends” are treated a little “more equal”. I have noticed that the “friends” say one thing to the board members, and something quite opposite to others.

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