Kansas Legislators, We Are Counting On You!

guest blog by Nila Ridings

Why was I in Topeka testifying in front of the Kansas legislators today? HB 2557. Kansas now has this bill in the Local Government Committee being discussed to make amendments to the Kansas Uniform Common Interest Owners Bill of Rights Act.

The bill needs a lot of work but the legislators were all ears today. Some were very open about how they are hearing from more and more of their constituents that are having HOA problems.

House Representatives Scott Schwab and Amanda Grosserode both spoke in favor of the bill. I supported the bill with many changes and additions and strongly encouraged the committee members to learn who the CAI is and how they operate. Next came the CAI attorney and property manager who tried to convince the legislators all is well in the HOA neighborhoods. Kansas legislators were not buying it! Being a Realtor himself in Wichita, one representative spoke strongly about how HOA problems are getting worse and he’s hearing about it more and more. Afterwards, I spoke with him and he was very familiar with the case of Jerry Berg* being beaten with a crowbar by the HOA board member in his condo association.

(*Jerry Berg’s story can be found on this website http://neighborsatwar.com/2013/06/insanity-in-kansas-2/            He was also recently interviewed on Shu Bartholomew’s HOA radio show www.onthecommons.net)

Observing the discussion was a reporter from the Kansas City Star. Another was a homeowner who had been in a legal battle with her HOA, but will not speak on record for fear of more retaliation. A few more attorneys. And, last but not least, the Special Assistant to the Kansas Attorney General who asked him to attend and learn more about what is happening with the HOA issues in Kansas!

Readers…we are making headway. We are truly making headway. When I worked on the Kansas Uniform Common Interest Owners Bill of Rights Act back in 2008, 2009, and 2010 the term HOA or Homeowners Association was foreign to the legislators. Today, that is certainly not the case. It appears the legislators phone lines and emails are on fire with unhappy HOA member constituents demanding help!

For a chuckle, I’ll share this. The big time CAI attorney spews out the number of Kansas homeowners living in HOAs. He then says, and you see only one or two of them have complaints. (Okay, yes, I nearly jumped out of my chair!) Trust me, if homeowners were not so frightened of their HOA board placing them on their radar for abuse, I could fill buses with people to testify for this bill to pass.

I will not be able to take busloads of people to Topeka, but I’m asking for your help. Keeping in mind this bill is being written with the intentions of helping HOA homeowners and states seem to follow what other states do…would you please send a short note of support to the email below and ask the Kansas legislators to support HB 2577? I would love to hear that hundreds of emails of support were received from all across America. Let the Kansas Legislators know we are counting on them to blaze the trail for better legislation for HOA victims all across America.

rich.mergen@house.ks.gov

Subject: Local Government Comittee- HB 2577

Here’s a sample of what would be a sufficient email:

Dear Kansas House of Representatives:

As an HOA homeowner I am asking you to support HB 2577 because all across America we are experiencing far too much abuse and there is very little to no rights for us. We have limited protection and no place to go for help. Please listen to the homeowners, not the members of the Community Associations Institute (CAI).

I live in (name of your state) and I’m hoping my legislators will follow your lead.

Thank you for your public service and willingness to recognize the need for better legislation for those living in HOAs.

Your Name
City and State

http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2015_16/measures/hb2557/

 

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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.

4 thoughts on “Kansas Legislators, We Are Counting On You!

  1. Louise Bekins

    Where can we find the working of HB2577? I live in San Mateo, California. We have big HOA problems also.
    Thanks for your blog.

    Reply
  2. Nila Ridings

    Louise,

    I apologize for not including the link to the bill. http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2015_16/measures/hb2557/

    It is in the early stages. It needs some additions, subtractions, and adjustments. Thankfully, we have activists with extensive knowledge across America that are willing, once again, to offer their assistance in writing this bill so the homeowners do not get a raw deal.

    Kansans have been fortunate to have legislators that listen and take our complaints and concerns seriously. Even with that no bill of any kind will ever fix the HOA problems or make them a good place to purchase real estate. They are far too risky and it only takes one vote to send the entire HOA down the slippery slide into a hellhole.

    Thank you for your interest in this legislative action in Kansas!

    Reply
  3. Sandy riffel

    I have lived in my neighborhood for 31 years and have owned my lot for 33. There are no common grounds in our neighborhood. The homeowners along the perimeter of the neighborhood are responsible for the easement which includes a wall. A small number of residents have taken it upon themselves to try to form an HOA and force the home owners to be members. What are my rights as a homeowner? I don’t want to join.

    Reply
    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      Hi Sandy. Beware! You’re in an extremely difficult situation right now. On the one hand, as long as you are not in an HOA you still have Constitutional rights such as equal protection, due process, First and Second Amendments. The moment a non-profit corporation is set up and property deeds are migrated to the corporation, your rights are worth a handful of sawdust. Alert your neighbors. Spread the word that these HOA organizations are nightmares.If you get a strong enough contingent of supporters I would strongly suggest hiring a legal team which can prevent this thing from happening. Across the country there have been a number of Homeowners Associations which suddenly appeared and stunned all the homeowners. It happened to a friend of mine. There are so many ways that an HOA can ‘suddenly’ appear in your neighborhood that it’s just too difficult to enumerate all the ways. Just start educating your neighbors….FAST!

      Reply

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