Tag Archives: HOA residents

Are HOAs Facist?

I like pondering this question. Sadly, I can’t find the link for proper attribution. But the blogger talked about a statement made by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to a 1938 session of Congress. Here it is:

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That, in essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any controlling private power.”

Whew! Sort of takes your breath away, doesn’t it? By casually stepping into a new form of government called the Homeowners Association movement, are we not giving away all of our Constitutional freedoms without giving it a second thought?

Sure, we’d all like to live in neighborhoods where property values aren’t brought down by some goofball with the muscle car on blocks and a trash can that never leaves the curbside. But at what cost? In the 1930s millions of people joined the Nazi party because they truly thought their membership was bettering themselves. They were truly enthusiastic about where their new party was leading them.

But are we going to sit back some day and ask ourselves, “did we once have something very special in this country, and we gave it all away?”

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Texas Takes Aim Against Another Serviceman

Bill Fry, an officer with the Army National guard, was returning from fighting in Iraq. All of a sudden he learned his HOA, The Spring Lake HOA of Mineoloa, Texas, had filed a lawsuit against him and his family because they put up the swingset to keep his kids company while he was gone.

It’s not an outrageous swingset. It’s not candy apple red and doesn’t flash with florescent colored lights. It’s just a nice wood and canvas politically correct swingset. But the officials at Spring Lake have gone apoplectic. They want it taken down, NOW!

Fry says the HOA approved the swingset before he left for Afghanistan. But the new board claims Fry’s wife didn’t get final approval and obtain final plans. It’s not that the swingset is wrong. It’s that someone on the board had a bruised ego because she wasn’t personally asked for her permission. There’s a chapter in my upcoming book, “Neighbors At War” which scientifically shows the changing chemistry in the brain when someone feels they’re not being awarded enough power over others.

In any event, whatever compromise Fry attempts to make, the HOA turns him down flat.
Spring Lake HOA, in Mineola, Texas. It might be nice to visit. But I sure as Hell wouldn’t want to live there.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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My Mistake, My Apologies!

I don’t know why I made this mistake. My error in judgment is inexcusable. But for some reason, I always thought that people from New Hampshire were a little more reasonable, a little more gentile in settling neighborhood disputes.

Now, I’ve discovered that folks from New Hampshire don’t have any more class or honesty than the rest of us.

A lady name Kimberly Bois planted a small plot of flowers in her yard. It was just a tiny garden in a townhome association. It couldn’t have attracted much attention. But her Portsmouth, New Hampshire Homeowner’s Association decided that Kimberly was in violation of neighborhood covenants, and they’re now fining her fifty bucks a day for trying to display some of nature’s beauty to her neighbors.

The fine is now up to $6000, not counting legal fees. But her HOA has every intention of ultimately taking her house if she doesn’t dig up and kill those wonderful flowers. The goal, of course, to to make every home in the HOA look identical, regimented, the kind of thing you’d see in front of the barracks of an average Army base.

There’s nothing about flowers in the bylaws. It was just an arbitrary decision by a board majority.

Bois says it’s not a happy place to live anymore. It just feels to her like a case of bullying.

Kimberly, a word to the wise: just get out of there! Your beauty and grace is wasted on these lawn nazis and their lawyers. The HOA system is not based on respect for traditional home ownership. It’s not based on raising the value of your home. It’s a legal scam where the lawyers insist on showing no mercy to covenant scofflaws. Keep each unit identical and file money-making lawsuits and foreclosures against every resident who tries to show any individuality. It’s all about finding an excuse for depriving you of your home equity. A perpetual cash machine for lawyers. No other explanation.

Kimberly, you’re needed elsewhere in a neighborhood where people actually love their neigbors and applaud their efforts to improve their homes and gardens. Get out before these parasites take you for every dime you own. Your talents, and your ability to bring about beauty is something that will be appreciated somewhere else.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Justice Department Fights for Homeowners. Feel better?

The big news this week is that the U.S. Department of Justice, Eric Holder & Co., has reached a mass settlement in the housing bubble scandal.

It’s a settlement of more than $25 billion dollars. That’s to pay for all the phony loans, the robo-signing deals by phony bank officials who never ever looked at your real estate closing documents. Attorneys General across the country are hailing it as a landmark settlement, a massive achievement,  to help cash-strapped and bankrupted homeowners. They’re holding news conferences and talking about how hard they fight for the average consumer.

Hmm, let’s see. You got crushed in the Fannie/Freddie housing debacle. You lost your house in the mortgage slamdown. Your wife left you and went back to her parents in New Jersey. Your credit is crap. You’ll get to see your kids maybe one time a year. The settlement is for 25 billion dollars. That means at some point in the future, you might… you might, get a check say, for $2000.

That means IF you qualify for a settlement payoff, you COULD get a reimbursement of $2000.

Gosh, I suddenly feel all warm and fuzzy… just warm. And fuzzy.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Homeowner Associations a Social Disease?

Just like a social disease that keeps coming back, some Homeowner Associations never let a patsy out of their grip.

The latest “sucker” is some poor fellow in The Times Condominium At Sweetwater Del Webb Master Homeowner’s Association (Whew! Where do these names come from?)

Anyway, resident Larry Murphree thought he knew what was meant when GW Bush signed the “Freedom to Display the American Flag Act” in July of 2006. Muphree planted two little flags in flower pots outside the door of his condominium.

Along comes the HOA and starts whacking him with fines of a hundred bucks a day, liens, threats of lawsuit and foreclosure.

Murphree is now in federal court in Jacksonville, Florida. He notes that the flag act specifically says “A condominium association… may not adopt or enforce any policy, or enter into any agreement, that would restrict or prevent a member of the association from displaying the flag of the United States on residential property within the association with respect to which such member has a separate ownership interest or a right to exclusive possession or use.” Hmmm. Sounds moderately clear.

Whichever way it goes, Murphree will lose tens of thousands of dollars. The HOA will lose tens of thousands of dollars. The stature and marketability of the neighborhood will fall.  The lawyers, of course, will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars. It always seems to come back to that, doesn’t it?  The lawyers. They just keep coming back.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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SOMEBODY’S GONNA BE IN TROUBLE!

Residents of the Laural Hills Condominum on Tennessee’s Renegade Mountain have been arguing over the price of water for the past six months. The property association, not the homeowners association controls the water. But those danged hillbillies up at Laurel Hills kept up the argument.

Now the property owners association has raised the ante. They just flat-out turned off the water to 84 homes. Turned it off! And that, my friends, is against the law.

Monkeying with someone’s water is almost a shootin’ offense. In fact, a lot of people have been shot during the water wars of the past three hundred years.

Hopefully, we won’t see any of that. But laws are being broken! Can’t you just smell the perspiration of all those lawyers trying to climb Renegade Mountain to solicit clients?

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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Gunfight in the “Not OK Corral?”

Some desperate homeowners in the underwater mortgage markets of California, Nevada and Florida may be turning to a garish, and undoubtedly illegal way of keeping up with the mortgage. They’re allowing their homes to be turned into giant billboards.

Reuters News Service is reporting on a family in Buena Park, California who permitted a marketing firm to convert its home into a giant “Brainiacs From Mars” billboard. Some neighbors are furious, even to the point of threatening gunfire. Others are looking at their own underwater mortgages and wondering if they should take a second look at accepting a second stream of income.

The marketing firm says it has about 38,000 applications from eager homeowners around the country. The campaign will generate lots of publicity for “Brainiacs,” but it’ll be a rare billboard that stands for more than a month.

Although homeowners have been promised up to a year’s worth of mortgage payments, city codes and HOA covenants will soon come crashing down on advertising that doesn’t conform to local laws.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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