In my forty years doing investigative reporting for all three major networks, I don’t think I remember even hearing of a Homeowners Association problem more than once a decade. All of a sudden that’s just about all anyone’s talking about.
There are newly proposed bills in Colorado, Texas, Nevada, Florida, North Carolina, California and a half dozen other states I can’t immediately bring to mind. Most of these proposed laws are aimed at curbing the rampant abuse by Homeowners Associations against individual homeowners.
Did you get that? HOA boards abusing homeowners? Individual citizens who theoretically should have certain God-given rights under the Declaration of Independence and the entirety of the U.S. Constitution?
At what point in our history did we lose those rights? Why are we having to go state-by-state, facing down a self-admitted 44 billion dollar HOA management industry in an effort to claw back what was already ours? And how did this 44 billion dollar HOA management industry arise? Why didn’t we see it coming?
Oh there were a few folks hoisting the storm warning flags, Evan McKenzie, George Staropoli, Jan Bergemann, Johnnie and Beanie Adolph and a few others who were just as important. But where the hell were we, just lollygagging in the surf as the hurricanes approached?
I have to admit I was dumber than dirt just a few short years ago. But suddenly I’m finding myself blown away by this evil wind we call supervised living. It was supposed to be so Utopian, so good for our souls to be living in complete peace and harmony with our neighbors, as we occasionally bowed, and scraped and paid homage to the few people who volunteered their time to become leaders of our oh-so-nicely laid out communities.
All of a sudden we saw the nastygrams jammed in our doorways, “Your grass is too long, your dog is too big, you have one too many friends parking his car on the street.” And we suddenly started getting fines if a dog (presumed to be mine) was photographed squatting in the Open Space, or an unsupervised child was playing on the front lawn. The fines led to debt collectors and excessive attorney’s fees and sometimes even the confiscation of a home before the ink had even dried on the original mortgage.
What in Sam Hill happened? Harkening back to another Samuel whose wit and wisdom was far greater than mine, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe when the Legislature’s in session.” (Sam Clemens)
Instead of all these individual state efforts, how about a single U.S. Supreme Court decision that rules that private non-profit corporations cannot dominate over private homes, or dictate personal behavior?
Our home is our castle. Isn’t it?