Yes, I’ve moved this blog over to my main website, NeighborsAtWar.com I appreciate everyone’s help and comments on this blog over the past year, but please put your comments on the new website. You’ll see a lot more content there, and your own comments will have a much wider audience.
Tag Archives: Homeowner Association
Illinois Shamed Twice in One Week!
So You Think You Own Your Vacation Home?
HOA Killer Dies In Hospital
HOA Neighbor Killed for What?
Yep. Another HOA demanding doggie DNA tests. Please follow me to: NeighborsAtWar.com
I had an odd phone call from a friend late last year, a few weeks before my book came out. I won’t share too many personal details, but this gentleman is retired, a wonderfully decent man who is well-loved in the community.
But he was next to tears as he said, “Do you know anything about Homeowners Associations?” With what I’ve been through over the past few years, I almost had to laugh. But I asked him to continue.
He told me that he’s lived in his suburban home for the past thirty years and it has never had an HOA. There’s nothing in his original real estate documents and he’s never paid dues to anyone. But he was stunned when someone knocked on the door and said the neighborhood was now represented by a Homeowners Association. The visitor noted a couple of things in my friend’s back yard that were not approved by the new board. One was a back fence that was six or so inches taller than nearby ones. The second was a little white gazebo in the back yard. It was unapproved and had to be removed.
“What do I do?” my friend asked.
For many years this gentleman has conducted weekly Bible studies in his home, not many people, probably just as many as you could fit into a small backyard gazebo. But apparently someone had complained and had called a meeting where a majority of those who showed up voted to reinstitute an HOA that’s been absolutely inactive for the past three decades.
I happen to know this neighborhood. It’s very clean, well-groomed with several dozen tidy one-story, mid-to-upper scale homes. But I also learned that this newly formed HOA is now represented by one of the most powerful, most aggressive HOA law firms in the country. At 70 years old, my friend doesn’t have the resources to go to court.
I do know something else. This gentleman’s Bible studies are going to have to come to a close.
It’s tragic, but some members of the news media are finally discovering and reporting on the power of an HOA. Details on my website, NeighborsAtWar.com
This blog is moving to my website, NeighborsAtWar.com Join me there. -Ward Lucas
The Georgetown Commons Townhome complex is a cheesy little place. You can buy in for, say, 100,000 or so. But lots of neighbors there are spitting mad at each other during this nice Yuletide Season.
Seems there’s a new rule about decorating for Christmas. Just don’t. Whatever you do, you’re bound to fun afoul of a fascist group of HOA leaders who have some strict new rules about decorations.You can only have one free-standing decoration on a porch or sidewalk. NOTHING in the yard! No Christmas wreath, nothing at all attached in any way to the building itself.
Now, Christmas lights are permitted indoors. But absolutely every decorative light that’s likely to be seen through a window MUST be white. And no decoration of any kind can be placed two weeks before or two weeks after Christmas.
Oh yes, and did I mention the fines? Yup, there’ll be fines. The Eric Rehak family has already rung up more than $500 bucks in fines and the season’s not even half over.
Now, wouldn’t it be fun to have a cheesy little Christmas in cheesy Georgetown Commons?
“Honey, let’s go look at a new townhome in Georgetown Commons in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. Betcha property values will be in the toilet soon. You know we could get a real deal. Honey?”
Yes, Virginia, there really IS a Santa Claus. Except that she lives in Prescott, Arizona, and she’s been heavily ‘gifting’ herself with wads of cash. HOA cash. At last count, the total was $33,000. She’s being asked a few questions by the local gendarme, but heck, it’s Christmas. And surely homeowners in the Beaver Creek Village POA would have given her that money anyway. Get ready, Suckers, for the special assessments.
I really shouldn’t take space on this HOA Hell Blog to comment on the horrific mass murders of small children in Connecticut. But since HOA board meetings have also experienced some mass shootings by deranged homeowners, I do have some observations about the current anti-gun hysteria. I am a supporter of the Second Amendment and the reasoning behind it. And yes, I support any law that would take guns out of the hands of criminals, drug gangs, children, untrained gun owners and the mentally ill.
But consider this: not a single one of the current gun-ban proposals will work. Just last week, an Illinois judge ruled that a gun ban in that state was unconstitutional.
And there is the rub. The U.S. Constitution. If firearms are to be banned the only appropriate way to do so is to change the Constitution. I’m not advocating it. I’m just saying it.
I’m also linking to a related news story that most of America probably missed.
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.