Council Candidates Clueless About HOAs

The astounding thing about this four minute video is the level of ignorance among city council candidates in Hopkins, Minnesota. That’s the home of one of the nastiest HOA disputes in the country. But most of these candidates are clueless about what goes on in these gated communities.

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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.

8 thoughts on “Council Candidates Clueless About HOAs

  1. Deborah Goonan

    Question #1 for the Council members:
    Do you live in an HOA? (or have you ever in the past?)

    Question #2:
    How many new construction projects in the last 20+ years have been approved in Hopkins MN that are NOT part of an HOA?

    Question #3:
    If two parties entered into a “contract” to buy a home that said owners must agree not to sell or lease to members of protected classes on the basis of race, religion, familial status, disability, sexual orientation, etc., would the City Council get involved? The obvious answer is YES, because that would violate Civil Rights. Has the City Council ever actually read and thoroughly reviewed CC&Rs for the HOAs in its boundaries, to be certain that the terms of those “contracts” are, in fact, not violating Consititutional and Civil Rights of owners and residents and/or that the provisions are not unreasonable or unconscionable?

    Question #4:
    Is City Council prepared to put a cap or- better yet – a moratorium on HOA development and to put control of communities back in control of constituents vs. developers?

  2. Colorado HOA

    Our policy makers at the local, state, and federal level are well aware of the problem. They just don’t care.

    Exhibit A: My congress-critter, Jared Polis (Democrat)
    thanks for putting concerns about HOAs on my radar! I remember u from my town halls
    12:52 PM – 8 Mar 2015

    I have met him in person several times over the past 3 years : at Boulder Hackerspace, his town hall meetings, at the Boulder County Democrats office, and at the opening of his new office earlier this year. Jared Polis simply does not care (or worse, approves of the abuse of home owners, which may be a very real possibility given his recent public statements about due-process and presumption of guilt).

    As Evan McKenzie (former H.O.A. lawyer, Privatopia (1994) and Beyond Privatopia (2011)) wrote: “It is just another example of how determined public officials at every level of government are to wash their hands of any responsibility for HOAs and condo associations. The problems are so enormous, and so many people are profiting from those problems, that it becomes almost impossible to get anybody to do anything until there is a complete disaster. The Las Vegas HOA corruption ring is one example of that.” (What HOA Issues Are Appropriate For Federal Intervention? April 24 2013).

    The voter fraud scandal in 11 Nevada H.O.A. corporations * caused $76 million worth of economic damage. Imagine how much damage the 330,000 H.O.A. corporations across the country can do. This is a crisis in the making.

    I don’t expect my elected representatives to personally intervene in my H.O.A. dispute (6 years and still on-going), but there are 67 million other Americans who are losing their civil liberties and property rights every day to privatized corporate “governments”, under the guise of contract law, with no consumer protections. That’s a number larger than the number of gays (10m LGBT), blacks (45m), Hispanics (54m), illegal aliens (7m-20m), and maybe gun owners (50m-110m). Yet these “special interest” groups are extremely effective at getting their voices heard and influencing policy.

    So why are things getting worse for home owners? Why is it that whatever it is that passes for an H.O.A. reform movement is utterly failing to make any change? Oh, we’re really good at describing the problem, but not doing anything to fix the problem. Instead, we just run around in circles uselessly flapping our arms about, often deluding ourselves into believing that we’re doing good. I don’t mean to cast stones, because I’ve been part of this cycle, too (Exhibit B: for example, this blog comment).

    Our policy-makes aren’t going to do squat. They’ve been bought and paid for by the C.A.I. and the real-estate industry. Our elected representatives and judges are, at best, absolutely useless. Telling people who are being abused that they agreed to be abused will only work for so long, before they start looking to assert their rights in other ways.

    Perhaps “we” should be working on putting measures on the ballot (in states that allow it), so that reform measures can be voted on directly by the people **. But that’s going to take somebody with the means, influence, organization skills, and/or connections to start the process — and that person is certainly not me, although I will work for such a campaign — and see it through. It’s too bad that we don’t have anybody like that on our side.

    * The investigation resulted in 38 guilty pleas — among them a former chairman of the Nevada Republican Party — 4 convictions, and the deaths of 4 witnesses. Home owners had been pleading with and were ignored by state regulatory and law enforcement officials for five years (2003-2008), before the F.B.I. finally intervened in 2008. The final sentences were handed out earlier this year (2015).

    ** Some ballot measures I would like to see :

    1. Shall H.O.A. corporations be prohibited from issuing fines? [ _ ] yes [ _ ] no

    2. Shall foreclosure by H.O.A. corporations be prohibited? [ _ ] yes [ _ ] no

    3. Shall H.O.A. corporations be prohibited from declaring disputed fines and junk fees — including attorney fees — to be “unpaid assessments”? [ _ ] yes [ _ ] no

    4. Shall H.O.A. corporations be required to produce and publish an annual prospectus, so that current owners/investors and potential owners/investors make better and informed decisions? [ _ ] yes [ _ ] no

    5. Shall contracts which require mandatory membership in an H.O.A. corporation as a condition of home ownership be prohibited? [ _ ] yes [ _ ] no

  3. Jim Lane

    True and meaningful HOA Reform across the Country that protects the Rights and Private Property of Homeowners – instead of the highly profitable HOA Industry (HOA Attorneys and Community Association Management Companies) – will NOT happen until the basic overriding Law governing HOAs becomes a FEDERAL Law … And States are obligated to enforce it. Much like Civil Rights. THAT. won’t happen until HOMEOWNERS rise up and exert their Rights to REFUSE to buy a Home in an HOA Community governed by the State Laws that exist today. Much like Civil Rights. Debbie (FL), Stan (CO), Cynthia (PA), Evan NV), Shu (DC), I (NC) and others from CA, TX, MD, VA, MI … everywhere HOAs exist under State Law … have supported and driven public awareness of the need for HOA Reform to PROTECT OWNERS. It is long overdue as our State Legislators “look the other way” (while supporting the HOA Industry) with attitudes and actions these Elected Officials have created – yes created to serve the Industry, not Owners – Creating and supporting Laws that are unimaginable in any other segment of the American System of Justice. It should never happen in this Country … But is now entrenched in the Real Estate Community Development Business. The Incomes of the Few have overridden the Rights of the Many. It’s now a part of our Political System at the Federal Level, not just in HOAs. And THAT has to change. Reforms are needed, wanted and are becoming a demand of the Many … Homeowners included. Make HOA Law conform to a Federal Standard based on Fair Housing, Civil Rights, Proerty Rights and the U.S. Constitution. Take it away from CAI Lobbyists and those that take from the Many and give to the Few. NC Coalition for HOA Law Reform.

  4. Corinne

    In the video – Jason Gadd talks about mediating a “dispute”.

    What’s not understood here, is that this is not an issue of disputes, but rather abuse, abuse of power and bullying; i.e. perpetrator and victim. And it’s often perpetrated as a scam. We need to protect our citizens from this – that is a core duty of government.

  5. Don't live there now

    It was in the 1990’s, Hopkins loaned about one million dollars to the HOA being discussed; for two specific purposes: repair and replace garages and install fire alarm/protection systems. The HOA did not use the money for either purpose and I believe the city was negligent in not insuring the funds were used for their intended purpose. Was there fraud, a million dollars loaned to a private entity with out accountability should raise questions.

  6. Nila Ridings

    Often times the city council has HOA board members or former board members on it. These are folks that have held that position of power over the homeowners and think there is nothing wrong in the world of HOAs. They like it that way. They enjoyed the feeling of power so much so they ran for the city council. I have talked with some of these folks before. It’s like beating your head against the wall. They will not listen.

    I think the best source for help will come from the person that has been abused by an HOA and now holds a position of power in the legislature. They will get it. Now, how do we find those people?

    In truth, I don’t think there is any way possible to reform HOAs. The construction of them needs to be abolished and those that can be dissolved should be. By no means should we continue to build any more of them!

    I will take a wild guess that the city council member in this video that said anybody that signs into an HOA gets what he deserves is an attorney or is currently an HOA board member. He clearly knows about HOAs but didn’t reveal the details.

  7. Deborah Goonan

    In Florida, state legislators have term limits. There was an article published in one of the FL papers a few weeks ago that revealed how many former State Legislators go onto serve in public office at the city or county level. Many in Florida have voted in favor of HOA statutes that favor developers, managers and HOA Attorneys. They continue this practice of favoring the HOA industry when they serve on local government councils or committees.


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