Ouch! Things Get Nasty!

The latest neighborhood nastiness comes to us from Newport News, Virginia and the Kiln Creek Homeowners Association. Eight years ago Bill and Janeth Garlette built a koi pond in their backyard. And for eight long years the HOA has approved of their pond and their various gardening improvements. 

All of a sudden, a new HOA board has hit the couple with two dozen alleged violations of neighborhood covenants. The couple’s attempts at fighting the allegations were futile, so Garlette ripped out the koi pond and razed the backyard to bring it into compliance. But even that wasn’t good enough, and the HOA has filed a 300,000 dollar lawsuit.

Yes, there are allegations of death threats back and forth between the Garlettes and a neighbor who they think instigated the HOA lawsuit. And yes, the Garlettes say they are now officially out of money.

HOAs claim they were set up to protect property values. But this is one neighborhood where property is going to be very difficult to sell.

(click here for WVEC-TV story)


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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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