Now, For Your Involvement!

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

Are you interested in improving living conditions in homeowners associations (HOAs), condo associations, and cooperatives in the US? Or would you like to see a broader array of housing choices in this country?

A group of housing advocates is interested in organizing to promote consumer-friendly policies and standards for local governance and management of our communities, particularly those that are private, Association-Governed Residential Communities (more commonly known as HOAs). We are conducting a CONSUMER–FOCUSED survey of interested residents and former residents of HOAs in the US.

We want to hear from you.

What are the issues that are most important to you?

What has been your personal experience living in HOAs, Condo Associations, or Cooperative?

Why are you interested in change, and have you been involved in trying to make that happen?

The survey is sponsored by Sara Benson, proprietor of Association Evaluation LLC, an innovative, comprehensive community association rating service, the first of its kind in the US. Benson and Don DeBat, both of Chicago, are co-authors of Escaping Condo Jail, a book that exposes the truth and debunks the myths surrounding the condo lifestyle. Both authors are committed consumer advocates with a lifetime of experience in the Real Estate industry. Benson is a veteran Real Estate Broker and former HUD consultant, DeBat is a Journalist and Editor of Real Estate columns in two Chicago newspapers. You can read book reviews and learn more about the co-authors on

Please note that this survey is consumer-focused, and is NOT sponsored by Community Associations Institute (CAI), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) or any other industry or trade group. Our goal is to give housing consumers a voice in US housing policy-making, and that begins with listening to your concerns.

Please take a few minutes to respond to our brief survey by August 1st. We value your input and your privacy. Your responses will remain confidential, and will not be shared with salespeople, vendors, or anyone in your HOA.

Here is the link to the survey:


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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.

2 thoughts on “Now, For Your Involvement!

  1. Holly HOA

    I received an email for this survey and I really didn’t know if it was pro-consumer or pro-HOA/COA governance, or a front group for the CAI . I distrust anything that has to do with the CAI. I will now be taking the time to respond to the survey. Thanks for more details about the group.

  2. Deborah Goonan

    Holly, we understand that folks tend to be suspicious about HOA surveys. That’s because, up until now, they’ve all been sponsored by CAI (Community Associations Institute).

    You will see that this survey is different, because we ask responders what they consider to be key problems/issues with HOAs.

    CAI surveys, by contrast, ask leading questions about overall satisfaction, without getting specific about issues.

    The idea is to present to Legislators, policy-makers, and the general public some survey results that will contrast with CAI indsutry-skewed data and analysis.

    The more responses we get from REAL HOA homeowners and residents — current and former — the better picture we can present of the TRUE state of livning in HOA-Land.


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