Tag Archives: homeowners

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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Filed under beekeeping, de facto government, embezzle, foreclose, HOA, HOA Horror Stories, Homeowners Association, Las Vegas HOA, lawsuit, pets, realtor

LOL! Free Speech and Clint Eastwood’s Empty Chair

This is hilarious! A Homeowners Association in Debary, Florida, refuses to let homeowners post political signs in their front yards. As we all know by now, the right to free speech in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights is not recognized by the American Homeowners Association movement.

Now, homeowners throughout the neighborhood are placing empty chairs in their yards where they could have placed their political signs.  It’s an obvious reference to Clint Eastwood’s empty chair speech at the Republican National Convention.

Presumably, Republicans and Democrats in Debary ought to be concerned about their  lack of access to free speech rights.

http://www.wogx.com/story/19804347/residents-protest-hoa-with-empty-chairs?clienttype=printable

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Re-blogging Helps Our Movement Grow

We are indeed at the forefront of a political movement here. A few years ago you couldn’t hear anyone complaining about Homeowners Associations. All of a sudden, homeowners have come to the stunning realization that they actually signed contractual agreements which completely trash their rights under the Constitution. More than 20 percent of all Americans have quietly stepped into a form of government that our founding fathers would not have recognized.

We still have a chance to fight back. The Mainstream Media no longer control all channels of communication. For forty years I was a member of the mainstream media. Now that I’m retired, I can look back and see how news stories were filtered through just a few channels of approved news streams. It didn’t happen as much in the local media, but there’s no question in my mind that we all suckled at the teat of trickle-down news information from the national media.

Now, a lot of people are fighting back. Hundreds and hundreds of websites and blogs are popping up where homeowners who’ve made the “HOA Mistake” are learning that their stories are valuable and necessary to publicize.

The biggest weapon in our arsenal is one everyone can use.  It’s called “re-blogging.” Re-Tweeting.” “Liking.” If you see a blog on someone’s site that speaks of a travesty happening in an HOA someplace, consider it YOUR NEW neighborhood. It’s your responsibility, it’s your duty to help out the neighbors in your “New Neighborhood.” Re-blog, and re-blog again. Get these stories and these posts ricocheting across the internet. Once they’re published, they are open records and belong to you. So get busy re-blogging.

The only way we can fail is for good men to stand back and do nothing!

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

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Filed under HOA, HOA Horror Stories, Homeowners Association, Las Vegas HOA

Sneaky, Sneaky Trick in the Foreclosure State

The wise guys in Florida are picking up some sneaky new tricks. Most homeowners who are overdue on their debts to HOAs owe less than $15,000. HOAs aren’t required to notify primary mortgage holders that the homeowner is in arrears on HOA payments.

HOA lawyers tell their clients to file for repayment in county court rather than circuit court. Circuit courts, of course, are working on huge backloads. So the HOAs can get a foreclosure in about half the time by going through county court.  The major lenders suddenly discover the rug’s been whipped out from under them, and the HOA which was owed the smallest debt now gets the entire foreclosed house.

It’s slick. It’s almost foolproof.  And it allowed one person to grab a one million dollar house for just $10,000. Is something wrong with this picture?  Is this kind of sickness really endemic in America?  What have we wrought? What have we wrought?

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

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Filed under HOA, HOA Horror Stories, Homeowners Association

The Dictatorial Power of the Homeowners Association

Negative experiences continue making national headlines, as HOA homeowners share stories of almost incomprehensible conflict. A homeowner who loses her home because she underpaid her dues by 78 cents! (Florida) Homeowners fined because they put up some Halloween decorations.(multiple locations) Christmas decorations banned in neighborhood after neighborhood. An HOA president who orders a board member to poison cats with anti-freeze! (Arizona)  What is going on? Have people just gone crazy?

Kim and Ed Hartnett owned a nice condominium at Spinnaker Run 1, but their Homeowners Association has levied so many fines against them for late payment of dues, that they just can’t catch up. They’ve abandoned their nice condo and are now living in a motor home.

Homeowners Associations are theoretically supposed to improve property values, but the actual experience by many homeowners is that home values are being crushed by the presence of a Homeowners Association. Too hard to believe?

Well, would you want to buy in an HOA where the president has just pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the neighborhood budget? (multiple locations)  Would you buy into a condo where a grandmother is foreclosed on because she accidentally underpayed dues by $4.70? (Venetian Village, FL)  Would you (or could you) get a loan to buy a place in Clinton, CT, where the FHA and HUD have decided they will no longer offer federally backed loans? And would you buy a home in a neighborhood where you are prohibited from having your grandkids stay the weekend?

When faced with allegations like these, HOA officials almost universally refuse to comment. That’s obviously the advice they’re getting from legal firms that represent the HOA quagmire.

But really, do HOAs protect home values? Ask homeowners in Las Vegas, where some homes have dropped 80 percent in value. Or look at Florida where homeowners can’t even give their homes away. Just ask a Realtor if more and more clients are asking to see only non-HOA homes.

Are there good HOAs? Of course. But it just takes a single election for an HOA board to turn from gentle to rogue. And how difficult is it for a neighborhood to ‘unelect’ a rogue board?

HOA officials across the country are told by attorneys and property management companies, “Don’t worry. The odds are practically ZERO that the voters will ever rise up and remove you from office. You’re safe. Just keep doing what you’re doing.” They do. And the value of homes in gated communities continues to fall.

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

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Filed under HOA, HOA Horror Stories, Homeowners Association