The actions of a Florida law firm may be a sign of weird times ahead. Another real estate bubble, even bigger than the last? Track this subject and comment at my blog and website, NeighborsAtWar.com
Tag Archives: HOA Abuse
For some odd reason, Homeowners Associations hate solar panels. The hate the idea of solar energy. They hate people who don’t hate solar energy and they’re willing to sue into oblivion any homeowner who dares put solar panels on his house.
In Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed an act permitting solar panels anywhere in the state. But the Azalea Gardens Homeowners Association in Shreveport apparently feels the law doesn’t affect them. They may be right, since they’re considered a private non-profit corporation. HOAs traditionally think that they’re above the law.
In any event, the link below from KTBS TV tells the story and shows video of the TV station being thrown out of the HOA meeting, even though it was an invited guest of homeowner Brian Salvatore.
The Bank of America lawsuit against dozens of Nevada Homeowners Associations chugs onward. Earlier this Fall, B of A filed a federal lawsuit claiming that HOAs were illegally charging excessive collection fees and arbitrary fines against homeowners who committed minor infractions of HOA rules and covenants.
In one such case, a family in North Las Vegas moved out of their home and attempted to short sell it through the Bank of America. But the HOA in question decided the home in question had too many pine needles and weeds on the property, and they filed a lien against the home. Although the initial fine was only a few hundred dollars, the HOA dramatically escalated its fines and costs to more than $16,500. That made the home virtually unsaleable.
In another case (reported by Darcy Spears, KTNV-TV in Las Vegas), homeowner Char Vanderveen had her home seized by the Mountain’s Edge Homeowners Association. The HOA sold her $700,000 home for $7000, less than one percent of its true value.
There are hundreds, if not thousands or even tens of thousands of similar cases.
Bank of America says that kind of thing is happening all over Nevada and they want a federal judge to intervene. Any kind of major judgment against Nevada HOAs could cost them millions of dollars. HOA board members and their attorneys are now whining that if they lose the case, the costs will have to be assessed against all other homeowners.
To refer back to the headline of this story, would you buy a home in an HOA that’s potentially facing multi-million dollar judgments, legal fees and huge special assessments against all homeowners? Wouldn’t you be stupid to do so?
Homeowners in the South Seas Condominium on Marco Island, Florida, may soon have to pay a hefty special assessment because of a particularly boneheaded decision by their HOA.
The Feds have consistently said that service dogs are covered under the ADA. An HOA doesn’t get to claim they are pets, if the dog is actually performing services for a disabled person. But this particular HOA obviously doesn’t ‘get it.’ They will.
The South Seas Condominium has been harassing 56 year old resident Larry McKay over his 80-pound boxer. In 2008, McKay contracted MRSA, a mostly fatal staph infection that’s hit a number of people in the Southeast. McKay is confined to a wheelchair, and he says the service dog does a number of things for him, such as turning on the lights, and helping him get out of bed.
McKay’s dog helps him with other activities like getting on and off airplanes. The airlines recognize it’s a service dog. This HOA board is apparently too stupid to do the same.
In other parts of the country, such as California, Homeower Associations have been hit with huge fines by the ADA because they insist that all service dogs are merely ‘pets,’ prohibited by the HOA.
McKay has lots of supporters in his condominium. Doesn’t matter. When the FDA slams this condo with a massive fine, each and every condo owner is going to have to fork up some bucks to pay for the idiotic decisions by their HOA board.
A dumb waste of other peoples’ money. But it’s typical. So typical.
By Ward Lucas, author of Neigbors At War! The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association
Rent out your HOA Home, Go to Jail
So you thought your HOA home was such a sweet investment. After all, if you had to move to a smaller home in this economy, you could always rent out the HOA home to help pay the mortgage couldn’t you, Bunky?
After all, that’s an age-old way of diversifying an invesment and keeping its value high during a recession.
But many HOAs are deciding that HOA rentals are cheapening the neighborhood so they’re arbitrarily passing rule that say, “You bought it, now live in it, damn it!”
Florida has been especially hard-hit. Tiana Patterson decided to sell her home. She has had to cut prices over and over again. Putting up a For Rent sign might save her investment until the economy improves, but the pushback from the Madison, Miss. HOA is so strong that she’s having to spend $36,000 a year for upkeep, andbut that money is now down the drain. The HOA In Madison, Miss.HOA is so strong that she’s having to spend $36,000 a year for upkeep, but that’s money down the drain. HOA Advocates say it’s an age old way to protect your investment, so why are HOAs threatening finds and foreclosures for people who rent their homes?
That’s a puzzling question.
The only real answer it that power-drunk HOA board members backed by power drunk HOA lawyers see money rolling into their pockets in the short term. They don’t give a flying fig about long term property values. They care about only the sort term. And that’s why you’re hearing so many nightmare stories abount unnessary fines ad foreclosures. When someone else’s money is at stake, you have very little incentive to protect your own property values.
And shame, shame, shame on the contrarians.
Homeowners usually get the raw end of the deal when they try to fight the “Bigs” in the HOA industry. Some Homeowners in California are trying to turn that trend around. An HOA in Riverside County has sued three former property managers for “fraud, conspiracy to defraud, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.” They had employed the management companies for eight years.
Canyon Lake Association then sued its own law firm, Fiore, Racobs & Powers, accusing them of “fraud and malpractice.” They say a lengthy investigation found “no cash management, no separation of accounting duties, credit card abuse by employees, employee salary increases that were not approved by the board.”
The lawsuit further claims that three HOA managers “created and concealed a secret, systemic pattern of conversion and theft of (HOA) assets and funds…and made representations to the board that were not true and were a cover up designed..to delay discovery of the cover-up.”
By the way, this information comes to us from the CCHAL organization in California. It’s dedicated to helping out the “tiny mice” in the HOA movement, and it’s an outstanding organization that every homeowner should join.
One final thought comes to mind here. We haven’t heard much from the federal investigators in Las Vegas. We hope the widespread corruption they found in the Vegas HOA industry hasn’t depressed them to the point that they want to throw in the towel. Actually, we hope the opposite is true. We hope they take a look around the country and discover that the legal scams in Las Vegas are as identical and numerous as the legal scams in Riverside County, and Modesto, and Weld County, Colorado. and Dallas and Houston and Miami, and North Carolina.
If you don’t think it’s happening in your own community, you are either naive or dumber than a box of rocks. When we signed those CC&Rs, we stepped into an entirely new form of government with no checks and no balances. We essentially told law firms and property managers, “It’s OK to steal from us.” And then we whine when they steal from us. What gives?
Ward Lucas, author of Neighbors At War! The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association
Every new guilty plea should bring a shout of joy from the thousands of elderly Las Vegas HOA members who lost their life savings and home equity when this cesspool of crooks decided to start draining their neighbors of their savings.
This week Arnold Myers, a former HOA board member and a phony straw buyer of an HOA home, pleaded guilty to fraud and corruption and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He’s the 27th. The judge ordered him to pay $277,000 in restitution.
This crook whined that he’s battling skin cancer and will turn 79 in two weeks. He couldn’t attend a previous hearing because he also suffered from double pneumonia.
As Christians, we’re all supposed to forgive those who trespass against us.
But with organized crime suspects arrogantly claiming they robbed multiple homeowner associations in Nevada, ruining the lives of hundreds of fellow homeowners, some things are just so difficult to do.
Myers’ principle victims were the Jasmine, Palmilla, Chateau Versaille and Park Avenue Associations.
Rigging of HOA elections, dirty campaign tactics, stacking HOA boards with phony members, funneling HOA money to Organized Crime elements. Myers has been ordered to pay restitutution. Any guesses here? Will any victim see even a dime of restitution?