Category Archives: HOA Horror Stories

Tragedy in Florida HOA

This blog has moved to http://www.NeighborsAtWar.com

But please don’t neglect to follow this story.

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Finally, A Good Court Decision!

It’s not often that the lowly homeowner has much of a chance of getting a fair hearing in court. The vast majority of all rulings are against the homeowner and in favor of the private non-profit corporation. And many’s the judge who’s told a miserable homeowner that he or she should have read his covenants before signing the real estate documents.

Last week’s ruling, though, by the Supreme Court of Virginia was a clarion call to the National Homeowners Association Movement that it can’t stomp on the homeowner’s Constitutional rights forever. Basically the court ruled that the Shadowood Condominium complex in Reston, Virginia cannot assess fines against residents because there was no such permission granted in the development’s master deed. Bam! Pow!

Stone-faced attorneys in Virginia said the ruling will have a profound impact on 10,000 Homeowners Associations across Virginia. It certainly will have a profound impact on lawyers who make a fancy living from dragging homeowners into court over stupid covenant violations.

Just reading about the wrongdoing by certain Shadowood officials over the years is enough to make one weep. Millions of dollars spent on ‘improvements’ with no accounting oversight. Tens of thousands of dollars paid to certain HOA board members for ‘services rendered’. Towing cars right before Thanksgiving. Turning off the heat and air conditioning to ‘punish’ rule-breakers. It’s ugly, and I’ve linked to the Washington Post’s story below.

Law professor Evan McKenzie predicted in his last book, Beyond Privatopia, that Homeowners Associations were going to face a day of reckoning. He was precognizant, a man of real genius.

Folks, the mightiest dam in the world can collapse. The collapse, no matter how large, starts out with a microscopic fissure somewhere.

This dam has not yet collapsed.

But it will.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-state-of-nova/post/restons-shadowood-condominiums-make-new-va-case-law-cant-impose-fees-on-rule-violators/2012/12/13/52fb582c-4554-11e2-9648-a2c323a991d6_blog.html

 

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HOAs Demand Police Power!

More and more Homeowners Associations around the country are actually demanding and getting police powers. Most homeowners are standing idly by and letting it happen.

In Illinois, in Colorado, in Florida and elsewhere HOA boards are purchasing traffic radar equipment and handing out speeding tickets. Fines against speeding homeowners can run anywhere from 50 to 3500 dollars! All by itself, that’s an outrage. But like gasoline thrown on a campfire, HOAs are actually fining homeowners when their guests are caught speeding!

As crazy as it seems, a case bubbling through the court system in Illinois has actually made it to that state’s supreme court.

Homeowner Ken Poris lives in the Lake Holiday Property Owners Association. Four years ago he was issued a ticket for going 34 in a 25, and he’s been fighting it ever since. He wasn’t pulled over by the cops. He was pulled over by the HOA’s private security guard. The guard even confiscated Polis’s driver’s license. The Lake Holiday HOA claims it has an unrestricted right to fine homeowners, EVEN IF THE HOMEOWNER HIMSELF WAS NOT IN THE CAR!

This private security guard’s radar was not even licensed as required by federal law.

Something has gone seriously awry in the American Homeowners Association Movement. If you, Dear Reader, are not screaming from the rooftops about this fraud, this complete collapse of Constitutional rights, then you will mightily deserve the society you get!

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/39/3956.asp

 

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Good Lawyers? God Forbid!

It’s not often that I post blogs from lawyers or law firms in the HOA industry. But when one of them truly ‘gets it’, they deserve praise. Jean Winters, an attorney who frequently blogs and answers questions in Florida’s Sun Central, occasionally shows a spark of brilliance. I’d be dishonest if I didn’t pass such material along.

http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/condoblog/2012/11/thanksgiving-a-time-of-reflecting-on-how-to-create-harmony-in-your-community.html

 

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Wow! Great Article!

There are thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of news articles about people who’ve been royally shafted in the American HOA system. There’s a very good article in today’s Fort Worth Weekly entitled “Hostage, Sweet Hostage.” It tells the story of a family who moved into a Texas HOA looking for security and safety. But an argument over a vehicle led to harrassment, fines, lawsuits and has cost this family their peace of mind.

This gated HOA has used a weapon against the family: locking the gate so they can’t reach their home, their guests can’t visit, the babysitter can’t enter to care for the kids. And when the family protests, HOA officials just flatly refuse to talk to them. Ah, but the HOA president finally talked to them. But only after joining hands with the family and praying before lowering the hammer.

What a world!

http://www.fwweekly.com/2012/11/07/home-sweet-hostage/

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How Would You Like To Live Next To THIS Nightmare?

San Clemente is a picturesqe California coastal town. But the big local controversy is a huge condo complex that went bankrupt five years ago. The empty building attracts rats, drug dealers, and has a massive impact on other homes in the Timbers at Towne Center Homeowners Association. Homes worth nearly $300,000 a few years ago now sell for less than $150,000. That is, when they can sell at all. Homeowners say they occasionally get interested buyers. But they’re chased away at the thought of living next to a garbage dump.

The city can’t do anything. Banks won’t lend money.

One adjacent homeowner says the neighbors complain bitterly about the long term eyesore. But they reject any attempt by the city to raise taxes to help pay for the project’s removal.

It’s so typical of Homeowners Associations, which often seem suicidal when it comes to adapting and finding peaceful solutions to local problems. Sometimes it’s hard to feel sorry for them.

http://www.columbian.com/news/2012/oct/24/condo-unfinished-development-resident-hazel-dell/

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Embezzle! Embezzle! Embezzle!

Oh yes, embezzling is endemic in American Homewers Associations. Just Google “homeowner association and embezzle.” Then stand back and watch the numbers.

The latest one is Dale Palmer, a Kansas City man who managed HOAs in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin. This creep thought he could get away with embezzling more than 750,000 dollars. He’s going to prison for 46 months, but that’s a laugh. He’ll get off about two years for good behavior.

And the $825,000 restitution?

Don’t count on it, folks.

http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2012/10/25/kansas-city-man-lands-in-big-house-for.html

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