Light At The End Of The Quivira Falls Tunnel

guest blog by Nila Ridings

Today, I had lunch with one of the escapees from Quivira Falls Community Association. Sixteen years of his life was spent in this rotten hellhole. He finally walked away and let the place foreclose. Only to say today he wishes he had done it years ago.

He tried for years to see the financial records. Filing a pro se lawsuit produced no results. When it rained, the hillside between his and his neighbor’s front door washed mud all over his sidewalk. It was often times over an inch deep so walking to the door resulted in muddy shoes. The front door has big pieces of peeling paint to greet visitors.

A dead tree stood out front for a long time before somebody took a saw and cut it down leaving the stump to rot. His fence around the patio is falling down and missing pickets. The hillside behind it is all weeds.

This is the ‘quality’ of maintenance provided by Quivira Falls if you are one of the “pariahs” as a former board president called those she does not like in the community newsletter.

When this man tells the story about the “blow and go” paint jobs prior to my mistaken purchase into Quivira Falls, it’s hysterical. The board hired a painting company that sprayed the townhouses with paint; windows, screens, doors, and foundations included. One warm night after the “blow and go” he decided to open his second story bedroom window. One push and the entire window flew out and crashed onto the patio below. Fortunately, he had some carpentry skills and was able to install a replacement window.

After lunch we removed all of the new door knobs, light fixtures, tools, and other supplies from the garage. I will donate all of it to Habitat Restore tomorrow. At one time, he had plans to completely redecorate the inside of his unit, but finally accepted the fact it was a waste of time and energy. He stopped paying the HOA dues and mortgage payments. And gave up hope for better days in Quivira Falls. He set himself free of the insanity to live out the rest of his life in a rented apartment which he loves.

To help him walk away and never look back, I agreed to be the Power of Attorney and coordinate the foreclosure with the attorneys and mortgage company. Without any hassle, they were nice enough to give me a set of keys after they changed the locks. Imagine that: A foreclosure company is far more pleasant to work with than the Quivira Falls board members that are also neighbors! They asked me if they should expect the owner to protest the foreclosure and I said, “Oh no! That will never happen because he’s delighted that you are taking the place off of his hands!”

And the light at the end of the Quivira Falls tunnel is getting brighter for another escapee.

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About

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.

2 thoughts on “Light At The End Of The Quivira Falls Tunnel

  1. AngelaB

    How sad that it had to end this way. Again I see myself in many of these victims. My HOA would rather harass residents for stupid stuff than to maintain buildings. I’m not bothering to upgrade my condo as others have done because I’m already going to lose money on the place if I sell or at some point walk away.

    Reply
  2. Nila Ridings

    AngelaB, take it from me. Do not spend any money redecorating or making improvements on the condo.

    I made that horrible mistake of installing wood floors, new kitchen, new baths, replacement windows and doors, and finishing the basement…only to have the basement destroyed countless times because the exterior maintenance was not done or done incorrectly by the HOA. I had no option but to hire reputable contractors to repair the rotten siding and apply the stucco. I will lose every dime I’ve put into this place plus tens of thousands of dollars to get out of here. Looking back, I wish I had sold two months after I bought the place. I’d still have my retirement savings and my health, and never witnessed the hatred and evilness from my neighbors. Once I exposed the bad actors on the board, I became the target of the board and their minions.

    I would tell anyone in a nightmare HOA (which is 99% of the ones I know about) to get out at the first sign of problems. If you don’t like being robbed of your health and wealth never ever get near an HOA. If you wish to live in peace, never even think of living in an HOA. And by all means if you don’t like bullies you are not a match for living in an HOA. Either you push back the bullies on the board with legal battles or be eaten alive.

    There is a ‘sickness’ that permeates HOAs and I don’t believe there can ever be a cure. Thank goodness the truth is being spread about HOAs and more people are being spared because they run from them. Others, like my friend and former neighbor decide the only way to escape the sickness is to let the bank foreclose. For those like me that paid cash for the property there is no bank to hand the keys to and too much invested to lock the doors and leave. We’re stuck in a no-win battle and left a target for the CAI attorneys to try and grab our property.

    Reply

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