A Trip through Hell in a West Palm Beach HOA

The Summit Run, West Palm Beach.  It used to a heavenly place to live. But all of a sudden we had a little economic burp that sent a number of homeowners flying elsewhere. Adam Sinclair’s job is to fix up what’s wrong at Summit Creek, keep the water running and the trash picked up among its 254 residents.

He’s also supposed to collect HOA fees among the residents, and what a thankless job that is.  The residents see the trash and the unkempt grounds and the leaky faucets and they say, “Why should I pay dues? My neighbors aren’t!”  And they’d be right.  A quarter of Summit Run residents are late on their dues. And when they don’t pay, management has to go hire lawyers to kick in the heads of the recalcitrant owners.

I’m surprised no one has used this analogy before.  But if you train a dog with gentle praise, rewards and love you can train that dog to do almost anything.  If you yell at it, berate it, hit it with sticks, you can never again get that dog to love and respect you.

Our communities are dying, not because of the housing bubble, not because there weren’t enough owners vs. rentals, not because we didn’t try our hardest to keep our communities clean.  No, we lost the trust of homeowners who comprise the very thin veneer of a residential cell.  We beat them, we sued them, we screamed at them and slipped hate mail under their doors.

The HOA movement wasn’t prepared.  And it should have been.

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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