HOA Water Stupidity & California Drought

Homeowner Association bullies continue to show their utter stupidity in the face of the horrible southwest water drought. I have two links for you. The first is the idiotic treatment of a homeowner by the Aviara Master Association in northern San Diego County.

The second link is even more fascinating. It’s about the mind-blowing drought in the Middle East and what happens when you don’t respect Mother Nature.

(link to story on HOA drought idiocy)

(link to story on Middle East drought)



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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.

3 thoughts on “HOA Water Stupidity & California Drought

  1. Deborah Goonan

    Ward, it never ceases to amaze me how certain HOA Board members think that laws do not apply to them! And talk about warped priorities — insisting that keeping a water-thirsty lush green lawn is more imporant than conserving water in a drought, and harassing owners who are willing to spend their own money to add a drought tolerant landscape. To what end? How much money went to the attorneys involved? How much will homeowners have to pay for this nonsense?

    There are many beautiful plants in the world that have adapted to dry climates. I think the new landscape looks great, and it will save water and money for the homeowner in the long run.

    I’ve been to the Middle East, specifically Dubai. The entire city is filled with common interest communities — from high-rise condos to gated compounds. So many empty “units” and so much construction in progress. Palm trees, man-made islands, private parks, lush golf courses, massive over-the-top indoor shopping malls the size of a small town. The surrounding area is nothing but a desolate desert. The dust and the haze hang in the air every morning and then again at sunset. No, I did not drink the tap water!

  2. robert

    “the HOA has no legal standing to fine them or to hold them in contempt in any way,”

    Yet the Aviara H.O.A. corporation fined the home owner $250, even though it had no legal standing to do so.

    “I want my $250 back,” said Buck.

    In addition to the illegal $250 fine, home owner Trace Buck had to spend nearly $10,000 (legal fees?) in order to do something that is explicitly allowed by the law. Yet I can find nothing in AB-2104 that provides any relief for the victimized home owner, or penalizes the H.O.A. corporation for when the H.O.A. corporation violates the law. Even if the offending H.O.A. corporation was somehow penalized, it would just pass that cost back to the home owners, so that the attorneys and managers can continue to get rich by feeding off home owners.

    This is the problem with H.O.A. “reform” measures that do nothing more than create an affirmative defense for the home owner (e.g., home owners shall be allowed to xeriscape, home owners shall be allowed to display the American flag, etc.) The H.O.A. corporation, and its managers and attorneys, still have every perverse incentive and moral hazard to violate the law. The profit motive ensures that it can be no other way, especially when only a small percentage of home owners will even attempt to assert their rights. As Evan McKenzie once told Shu Bartholomew,

    It’s like something you would see in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia. People think these things don’t go on. But we know they go on every day in condo and home owners associations.

    These people who have no idea how to use power at all. They won’t even accept limits on their power. They don’t even know what the law requires of them, these directors. They go by what some lawyer tells them to do, which the lawyer tells them to do only because he or she knows they can get away with it.

    Because the only recourse you have is some civil suit. Here in Illinois, we don’t have an Ombudsman. Most states don’t. There’s nowhere for owners to turn.

    If the lawyer tells them “Oh, just jack ’em around. Who cares what the rules are? Who cares what the law says?” it doesn’t make any difference. The transaction costs of enforcing an owners rights are so great that they are hardly ever able to do it.

    This is just another example of how worthless most H.O.A. reform legislation — even the well-intentioned measures — are. Our policy makers need to make some fundamental changes, but that would require questioning the very assumptions upon which the H.O.A. system is built. And I see absolutely no sign of that happening any time soon. Things are going to get a lot worse for home owners before they get any better (if they ever do).

  3. Holly HOA

    Robert’s comment is why, as soon as we can, we will sell our home in an HOA and purchase another NOT in an HOA or COA. It might be an older home in an older neighborhood, but right now I know it is the best way to live the way we want to live. Once you’ve lived under tyrannical rule, it’s very difficult to trust another board to manage in the best interest of the community. We seem to have the majority of the tyrants here in Florida, and the Florida justice system is not favorable to homeowners’ rights.


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