Homeowner Angry About HOA Bullying By Satellite

LOL! I found the first one! A homeowner in a Texas Homeowners Association is furious because his HOA used satellite photos to spot covenant violations in his backyard. 

Gavin Henry bought his house in the Highland Park North Homeowners Association about three years ago. One of the things he liked about the house was the garden tool shed in the backyard. He could keep his lawn mower and tools put away and he liked the nice clean look of the neighborhood.

All of a sudden Henry got a notice of violation for the shed. If he didn’t remove it he was going to be fined and sued.

“Why?” he wondered. The neighbors can’t see it. It can’t be seen from the street. Henry inquired further and was told that the HOA uses online satellite photography to track all the neighbors and micro-manage their private behavior.

Count me as a cynic, but after watching the television story on Gavin Henry’s predicament, three things stood out to me. He’s a veteran. He’s disabled. He’s a minority. After all, the Homeowners Association Movement was originally founded to get around the 1964 Civil Rights Act. And disabled veterans are often targets of HOA bullying. That’s the mindset.

There’s actually a fourth element at work here, pure speculation on my part. But I would bet dollars to donuts that Gavin Henry has some equity in his house.

The equity in your house is on the public record and it’s tracked by every HOA board official and manager. If you have significant equity in your house it’s like painting a bull’s eye on your back.

Just sayin’.

(click here for KXAN story on Gavin Henry)


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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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