Which Has The Greatest Risks? Owning In An HOA or Casino Gambling?

guest blog by Nila Ridings

I’ve heard it so many times.  “I don’t gamble.”  “I’m too tight with my money to gamble.” “I wouldn’t know how to gamble.” “The thought of gambling scares me because I’ve worked hard for my money.”  All spoken by people who own property in a homeowners association.

Personally, I’ve gambled one time in my life at a Reno casino.  I dropped $20 in a nickel slot machine and won.  I collected my winnings and walked straight out the front door.  I don’t gamble.  Or so I thought I didn’t.

I’ve come to the realization that I’m an insane gambler.  Why?  I bought a townhouse in an HOA!  I took a far greater risk than if I’d flown to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or back to Reno and just threw down three hundred thousand dollars on the craps table and rolled the dice.  Goodness, with a stroke of luck I could have walked out a millionaire…or maybe a multi-millionaire, but for sure I would have come out in no worse shape than I am in my HOA.

Are you scratching your head and asking how I arrived at this conclusion? 

Here’s how:

If one of the casino owners was embezzling, it wouldn’t be my responsibility to rebuild the bank account with my money.  In an HOA, there is no avoiding it.  They steal, you lose and get hit with covering the financial loss from the bad actors, liars and thieves. 

If the casino management refuses to allow a blind person with a seeing-eye dog into the casino and they sue for a violation of the ADA, I won’t be paying for the legal bills.  But, in an HOA I will be.

If the casino needs a new roof or resurfacing on the parking lot, I’m not going to receive a bill.  You can bet the HOA will slap a stamp on a special assessment and drop it in my mailbox.  Or if one of the casino managers has his Uncle Billy Bob with his shiny new hammer building decks without a contractor’s license, I won’t be hit with any liability if it falls down.

When I sign for my room at the front desk, I’m not going to become business partners with every intoxicated stranger in the 1,500 room hotel, but I sure am with my 1,500 HOA neighbors. (some sober and some not) 

And, last but not least, there is massive government oversight over the casino operations.  There is no oversight to speak of over HOAs or property managers.

And I won’t have signed away my US Constitutional Rights when I walked through the door of the casino.

Granted, the assumed operators of the casinos might very well be related to those in power over the HOAs.  But I could walk right out the door and choose not to do business with them in a matter of seconds.  I wouldn’t be locked inside the building while they are telling all the other gamblers I’m a liar and dumber than a box of rocks, and if I don’t like it I need to leave!  Similar to screaming “IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, THEN MOVE!” which is always heard at HOA board meetings!

Yep!  I should have driven right past this dilapidated disaster of an HOA and headed north to the airport!

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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.

1 thought on “Which Has The Greatest Risks? Owning In An HOA or Casino Gambling?

  1. Elaine Jeter

    Ward, you are correct about the risks in ownership of a home in a homeowners association. We naively elect directors to the board taking their word for their qualifications which often are sadly overstated, either innocently or deliberately. They have no training, either legal or ethical, and there is no governmental oversight of their behavior. Even a loaf of bread purchased at the local grocery store offers much more protection for the consumer! And, yes, it is a bonanza for the legal profession, as a result–misbehavior leads to litigation which leads to more and more legislation and increasing complexities… I have no solutions.


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