I cannot remember a time in my 40 years as a journalist when so many broadcast stations were discussing abuse of homeowners by their own Homeowners Associations. Denver, Las Vegas, Houston, San Antonio, Florida, Virginia, North and South Carolina. Talk show hosts are inviting homeowners’ rights advocates to join them on the air, newspaper columnists are finally standing up to the incredible falsehoods being spread by those who profit from managing HOAs or supplying lawyers to sue homeowners over incredibly minor infractions.
Another shift I’m seeing, unless I’m fooling myself, is a change in attitudes among the talk show hosts, themselves. In past years many of them have been big defenders of the HOA system. But in at least a half dozen cases I’ve seen prominent talk show hosts changing their opinions and deciding that the kind of ‘democracy’ practiced in many HOAs is getting pretty outrageous.
This week I was in getting some medical tests done and the medical tech told me about some things he had witnessed in his own HOA. He hadn’t been through anything more significant than the occasional nastygram. Those nastygrams! We all get them. But they really do change the character of a neighborhood, don’t they? What makes a homeowner want to attend the 4th of July or Labor Day picnics when he’s constantly eyeing the crowd for the Nastygram Lady or the board members who sling the lawsuits? I’ve lived in neighborhoods both inside and outside of HOAs. And the block party, in my experience, was always better attended in the more traditional neighborhoods.
Anyway, I really do feel there’s a national shift occurring, probably because more and more people are speaking out about the abuses they’ve witnessed or experienced in their own neighborhoods. More and more people are feeling the sting of falling or static property values in HOAs which they presumed would protect their investments. This website is growing…I’ll have more on that in a few days. But people are spreading the word about HOA outrages on this and other forums.
Off topic, but even more important, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, hopefully with family…and with good neighbors.