Idaho Is Latest State To Wake Up To Abusive HOAs

As I’ve said before, the biggest avalanche begins with a tiny grain of ice slipping down the hillside. Well, beginning next week we’ll witness another chunk of ice becoming unstable. And the beneficiaries will be homeowners in Idaho.

The Gem State has a new law that will begin to reign in some of HOA abuses of homeowners. No longer can a single board member slam his or her weight around a neighborhood bullying people over minor violations. From now on each violation and fine can’t be levied unless a majority of the board approves.

Also, homeowners must have 30 days notice that the board is going to take such a vote.

Finally, and I love this part, you can’t fine a homeowner who’s making a good faith effort to correct a violation.

CAI hates this new law with a passion.

Of course they do. And it gives the lie to claims of CAI members that their organization represents homeowners.

(link to KBOI News)



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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.

6 thoughts on “Idaho Is Latest State To Wake Up To Abusive HOAs

  1. Deborah Goonan

    Ward, here’s a previous article that gives more detail, and illustrates the typical property management firm’s arguments against reining in excessive power of HOAs. Fortunately, this time homeowners won.

    Kudos to Idaho Senator Jim Rice, who sponsored this legislation, and John Eaton, Idaho Association of Realtors, for lobbying in support of this bill.

  2. Caroline

    This may be a start, but I don’t believe this is a sustaining avenue that will curtail the range of HOA abuses being inflicted upon innocent homeowners. Yes, according to the article there are checks and balances that are supposed to take place (meeting with 30 day notice to homeowner, and cannot fine if homeowner attempts to resolve), but lets face it, an abusive board is a gang and will stick together do inflict the most malicious, self serving and greed driven abuses, many times that have absolutely nothing to do with anything the homeowner has done, or alleged to have done, regardless of what the law says. Additionally, it appears many courts will not uphold the existing laws, and communities laws, in favor of the innocent, targeted homeowner victim. For them, it is all about conjuring up legal fees to service and satisfy the attorney’s and corrupt board members, who will then, regardless of their wrong doing, will place these “created conflict,” legal as fines and file them as liens, in the courts to foreclose. Why doesn’t everyone in the community need to be notified of the boards decision for a meeting over a particular homeowner’s “alleged infraction(s)”? I guess it is still the old industry tactic of “abusing the homeowner(s) in private.” Divide and conquer!
    The abuses to individual homeowners in many of these “abusive” groups, which I believe are much more than “abusive,” they are criminal, are many times to cover up the criminality ongoing within an “abusive” HOA board and their accomplices. The homeowner either stands up to what they suspect is wrong, or questions an inappropriate action, bill, assessment, other financial issue, or what may be selective enforcement (discrimination), based solely upon a board members like, or dislike of a particular homeowner, or renter. Then, of course, there is the “jealousy factor,” and the owners who buy in solely to become the new “bully on the block,” who have no intention of following the rules, regulations (CC&R’s), etc. They want to establish the “new code of living,” “everything revolves around them and their abusive tenants,” according to their delirious, abusive, aggressive, bullying and destructive beliefs.
    Oh, by the way, who is going to police and enforce this new law? Where does the homeowner go when an HOA board will not follow, or uphold this new law? Will the Attorney General, local police, DA, or State Police step in? I trust most won’t, so it is back to the innocent homeowner(s)being abused, probably selectively targeted for one of a laundr

    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      Sadly, Caroline, I think you’re exactly on target. We’ll never solve these problems until board members and management companies face heavy personal financial penalties which they cannot pass off to homeowners or the HOA’s insurance company.

  3. Caroline

    laundry list of self serving personal motives. So “pay up, pay up, and pay up,” or plan on being forced to spend a fortune in the courts, for “alleged infractions” and “created conflict,” that has cost too many their life savings and homes, due to the fabricated criminality of these HOA boards, their friends and accomplices in the courts.
    In many states, if existing laws were upheld, these crimes against innocent homeowners would not be happening.

  4. Deb

    Amen Caroline! You can’t believe the tactics that the board and their minions use on their selected targets. The number one tactic is to find a chink in the homeowner armor and use that as their weapon. I.E. Reviewing current and past complaints and basically using the minions to intensify the complaint rather than rectify it.
    It is unconscionable that a corporation acting as a mini government (HOA dictatorship) is able to basically be the judge, jury, and executioner without a smidgeon of checks and balances.


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