A Smackdown in Texas

Increasing numbers of homeowners associations across the country have learned there’s profit in being confrontational. Lots of profit.  HOA attorneys advise their clients to attack every violation of the covenants with a vengeance. Insignificant fines often turn into tens of thousands of dollars in fees, fines, collection costs and attorneys’ expenses. Some of those confrontations defy common sense.

Ted Faraz of Irving, Texas, found that out the hard way. He installed some solar panels on his roof. His intent wasn’t malicious. He wasn’t doing it to intentionally anger his HOA. He actually invested $15,000 in an effort to be more environmentally responsible.

His solar panels couldn’t be seen from the street. In fact, only one neighbor could see them and that neighbor said they didn’t bother him at all.

But the Ranch Valley HOA felt differently. They began fining Faraz $50 for each day the solar panels remained. It got worse. The HOA filed a lien and began to foreclose on Faraz’s house.

Faraz felt it was a blatant case of extortion. There was no real point for the HOA to prove. It was always about publicly slamming down a homeowner who strayed outside the rules.

The Homeowners Association has proven one thing, though: that young starry-eyed prospective homeowners would be wise to avoid the Ranch Valley HOA.

Avoid it like the plague.

With homeowners associations across the country taking a nose-dive in real estate values specifically because of this kind of community fascism, homeowners would be well-advised to look elsewhere for a new place to live.

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

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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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