You’re Crazy, Ward!

LOL! It’s pretty easy for somebody who follows my blog to think I’m stone-cold crazy about some of the horrible things that go on in the typical HOA environment. That’s why it’s fun to have YouTube in the mix.

The link below is to an outraged couple who discovered that their HOA micro-manages each and every person who spends a night under their roof. HOAs typically insist that no unrelated people live in the same house. That means a micro inspection of the relationship between every unmarried or yet-to-be-married couple spending a few nights in the same home. You have to get advance permission if someone is staying over, complete with their name, date-of-birth, Social Security Number and source of income.

HOAs have the right to determine who is an illegal resident and they can literally shut down the gate code for any homeowner who violates the policy. But figuring out who’s related to whom involves a massive amount of spying on your personal habits and the personal habits of every one of your guests. 

What country are we living in, again? Just curious.


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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.

7 thoughts on “You’re Crazy, Ward!

  1. Anonymous

    In June 2008, the Stoneybrook Master Association of Orlando, Inc. sent home owners a letter about their new collections policy, which contained this paragraph:

    5. Exclusion of Social Guests: Pursuant to the community’s governing documents, including Article IV, Section 4.9 of the Declaration, Article V, Section 5.1(C) of the Declaration, Section 2.3(C)-(D) of the Bylaws, Section 4.1(A), (F), and (L) of the Bylaws, and Article III of the Amended and Restated Articles of Incorporation of the Association, social guests of delinquent homeowners will not be allowed to enter the community.

    (emphasis added)

    The actual policy states that

    4c. Suspend privileges and access to common areas and community amenities. If an account contains delinquencies for more than 30 days and has an outstanding balance in excess of $100.00 on August 1, 2008 (or in excess of $50.00 on November 1, 2008, or in excess of $20.00 or more on February 1, 2009), the Association shall immediately suspend any or all of the following privileges:

    i. Use of the community pool, playground, fitness center and surrounding facilities, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball play area, and other recreational facilities;
    ii. Use of community ID cards;
    iii. Use of resident bar codes for vehicular access to the community via the resident gates;
    iv. Provision of basic cable television and internet service paid for by the Association; and
    v. Ability to Receive Social Guests within the community.

    Please note that reasonable charges, established by the Board of Directors from time to time, will be imposed upon all residents seeking restoration of the suspended community use privileges noted above.

    (emphasis added)


    via comments at

    I live here, and know that this HOA LOVES fees…

    That $20 would cost a typical family of four, with a two adults and two cars, at least $350 (plus interest and attorney’s fees)…

    If you’re going to post something negative about this HOA, you better do it anonymously….

    November 14, 2009 at 6:57:00 AM CST

    I was seriously considering a home in Stoneybrook because it looked like such a nice community, but any community that thinks it is appropriate to keep delinquent members from receiving guests is not somewhere I will consider living….

    February 25, 2010 at 5:39:00 PM CST

    …I am one of those delinquent homeowners, trying to become current since 2007. However with the fines, financial difficulty it has been hard. And no I cannot have guests nor friends to visit me. It is embarrassing,…

    signed, still standing

    March 8, 2010 at 12:23:00 PM CST

    As regular readers of this blog are aware, delinquent assessments (a.k.a. “H.O.A. dues”) can (and usually does) mean disputed fines and fees — including attorney fees — since H.O.A. corporations use the “priority of payments” scam accounting method, in which assessment payments are used to pay fines and fees first.

  2. Nila Ridings

    Looks like this HOA rule would keep old college friends from being able to sleep in an extra bedroom while they are in town on business. Or the son home from college from inviting his girlfriend for a visit. And definitely Aunt Beulah the retired school teacher who uses a walker to get around…forget about having her occupy the guest room…get her a hotel room all by herself downtown! Victor is right. His HOA story is crazy but not the craziest one I’ve heard to date!

  3. Nila Ridings

    Re:The Anonymous comment

    This sounds more like a military base than an HOA. How can that be enforceable for a homeowner to not be allowed guests? What if a homeowner called 911 for fire, police or ambulance? Would they be permitted those services? Or if they ordered a pizza, could it be delivered? Or the plumber, electrician, or any other in home service?

    This sounds like homes are being held hostage to me. I’m having a hard time believing this is not against the law.

    I don’t doubt that anonymous posted what has been given to him/her but I do question whether it’s legal.

    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      There’s been a battle going on in Florida where 55 year old grandmother has custody of her five year old granddaughter. But she, too, has gotten the ultimatum: Either move or get rid of the kid. So it apparently goes on in a number of places.

  4. Nila Ridings

    I get it but don’t agree with the grandmother having to move or throw her granddaughter into the foster care system over her HOA rules.

    Someone permanently living at the residence is totally different than somebody coming for a visit.

    I don’t understand not being able to have a friend stay for the weekend or drop by to leave some chicken soup when you’ve got the flu.

    This also means somebody that has been injured or is critically ill and needs a full-time caregiver (hospice or a nurse) would be harassed, too.

    This is not acceptable and HOAs that are doing this should be exposed in every way possible!

    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      Interesting thought! I have not thought about the prospect of a homeowner being left on the street because of the presence of Hospice. During the week my mother was dying there were at least twenty or thirty vehicles in her cul-de-sac. But with the mindset of these fiefdoms it certainly stands to reason that a surviving spouse might face astronomical fines.


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