People move into lush-looking Homeowners Associations thinking they’ve bought a little slice of Utopia. But few people know that there really is no workable Utopia in this life. In fact, the original Utopia, written five centuries ago by Sir Thomas More, was actually a farce; a comedy about the inability of the human race to get along with one another. Homeowners Associations founded along the same lines of More’s Utopia have built into their own structure the probability of failure and decline into despotism and tyranny.
There’s an old bit of survivalist wisdom that teaches if three men go into the wilderness, two will always turn against the one. So any government which is allowed to use tyrannical rules against a minority is doomed to failure, disaster and a complete loss of justice. In fact, the genius of our country’s Constitution is that it doesn’t create a ‘majority rules’ ethic. It’s not a Democracy. It removes the people several steps from the rulers, and it divides the rulers into several separate but equal bodies of government. Our Congress is divided into a House and Senate. But the two must work together to pass legislation. The Executive has veto powers over Congress, yet Congress has the ability to overpower the Executive by gathering together a super-majority. And when everything goes to Hell in a hand basket, there’s a Supreme Court which can overturn or delay the implementation of bad legislation. All states except Nebraska have a similar structure (Nebraska has a unicameral instead of a bicameral legislature).
With all this in mind, we sadly turn our eyes to the Pleasure Island Mariner’s Cove Homeowners Association near Port Arthur,Texas. We’ve discussed Pleasure Island before. Like every other HOA in the country, Pleasure Island is just one vote away from disaster. If an HOA attorney needs a little extra cash, he advises the board to use minor violations of covenants to fine, seize and foreclose on straying homeowners.
Deborah Dommert got behind on her HOA dues. Then the late fees and legal bills started rising too quickly for her to catch up. Remember that HOA covenants invariably order a homeowner to pay all the legal bills of the Homeowners Association. And like thousands of other homeowners across the country, she now faces the seizure and foreclosure of her home. She has no court of last resort. She has no Congress which can pass laws shutting down these neighborhood tyrannies. She is without access to real justice.
HOA attorneys are taught by huge HOA management conglomerates to never allow a homeowner to negotiate a way to catch up on dues. In national legal seminars, attorneys learn how to boost their income by abusing those who can’t afford legal representation.
Deborah Dommert will most likely lose her home. But some investor in future weeks or months will make a tidy fortune out of her personal disaster. The investor might even turn out to be a close ‘friend’ of the HOA board or law firm.
The biggest disaster of all is the loss of personal freedom for all of us.