Here’s yet another story of a rotten Homeowners Association, this one is the Tower Oaks HOA in Gainesville, Florida. If you’re in the market for a home, that’s another good one to steer away from. It’s not hard to figure out why property values ARE NOT protected by an HOA. More and more people are getting wise to the scam.
(link to WCJB story about HOA retaliation)
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.
Seniots Vs. Crime I hope there is one in Palm Beach County. The HOA + Management Co where I Live Are Horrific. President 12 Years Friends + Family The Only time a New Board member Ulis when The Presidents frend moves or dies.
property values ARE NOT protected by an HOA —-
the HOA from all my experiences does not set market value of prices for units of homes — that’s how I read the statement above — how can a board set market value on real estate — the prices on real estate are set by banks and agents and surrounding sales also appraisal– its not the board – now the board has a duty to maintance the property – common and such and yes that could figure into a price for sale – not set a value– if the property is poorly run by board and management, this would be the fault mostly of the paying membership allowing it to take place – I see owners at meetings to complain abut HOA assessments and having to pay them — I tell these people I do understand about paying out money and tell them they should look into buying a single stand alone home so if they want to pay for something they have complete control over it weather it gets fixed of what ever is needed to be done — I then tell them they have a lot of passion for the issues and they should get on the board to correct them — after that they are never seen or heard from again until its passing the budget and possible an increase– I give owners all the respect to get on the board and what do they do – nothing— complain bitch and moan — Hoa is not perfect by any means but its better than living on a street with single resident owners where your next store neighbor from hell will paint his home purple because they got the paint for free and there is not one dam thing you can do about it — that’s my complaint
After a decade in an HOA, I will gladly live next door to purple, pink, teal, yellow, orange, and polka dot homes. As a matter of fact, Aspen, Colorado has all of those and if you haven’t checked real estate prices there lately you’ll be amazed.
What homeowners are most upset about is the bullying that some board members do to the homeowner that speaks up and asks for financial records, questions the bids that seem outrageous, are disgruntled because hundreds of thousands and in some cases millions of dollars in dues are unaccounted for, self-dealing by board members, kickbacks from vendors, and the board members have no ability to resolve ANYTHING without spending tens of thousands of dollars on an attorney. It’s the absence of common sense that drives people mad and turns the HOA into a war zone. Add to that the selective enforcement of rules and the preferential treatment board members and their cronies get for leniency on architectural rules and being at the top of the list for maintenance to be performed. And last but not least when a board decides they are going to destroy a homeowner simply because they can they will fine, lien, and foreclose on the property…again, JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN!
Your HOA board might be just perfect today but the next election only takes one vote to turn the place upside down into a financial wreck and self-destruction. One vote. That’s it. One vote and you could be in the same predicament that hundreds of thousands of readers of this blog are in.
When elected leaders do not know how to lead they blindly guide the entire neighborhood into an abyss. And then they blame the homeowners for not participating! When in truth they do not want people to participate because if they do, and they do not support what the board is doing, they are bullied and yelled at to “move!”
And why is it that volunteer board members will fight like wild animals in the jungle to stay on the board when others are willing to step up?
All relationships are built on trust. In a massive number of HOAs the owners cannot trust their neighbors due to questionable behaviors and quick switches from good friend and neighbor to bitter enemy once they get elected to the board.
If you are the exceptional board member that isn’t drunk on your power over your neighbors then my hat is off to you!
Jim’s comment sounds like typical industry talking points, and they reflect an incomplete understanding of Association Governed housing.
Why blame the victim for apathy? HOAs cultivate apathy! By their corporate nature, decision making power is often in the hands of a few who happen to own the most property, and therefore hold majority voting power–that means developers and real estate investors. HOAs are practically unregulated, and so the process of board elections (and the amendment process for the declaration of covenants and restrictions) is a free-for-all, often rigged.
It took supposedly “apathetic” homeowners in Nevada three years of pleading with state officials until they begin to investigate the largest HOA scam in the nation – even then, at least one state judge has been alleged to have leaked information to the perpetrators of the $60 million fraud. The FBI had to step in.
In Florida, owners and residents of condos and HOA have been complaining for more than a decade, and pleading for regulation of bully boards and developers and management companies that exploit the consumer. Even with condo owners marching in protest on the street, even with homeowners bringing their stories to local media, even with a Wall Street Journal expose of the condo takeover scheme, the abuse continues, largely unabated.
It is not owners and residents who are apathetic. It is our elected officials, our state Attorneys General, our judicial leaders at the state and federal level that are apathetic to the concerns and rights of individual constituents.
The majority of new Single family homes are also subject to HOAs. This is not just a problem for attached housing.
In an HOA, If I have the right to tell my neighbor what color she can paint her house, then I give that neighbor the right to tell me what kind of vehicle I can park in my driveway, whether or not my children have the right to play in our own yard, and how I can landscape my own property. Do most Americans and immigrants who move here for the American Dream want this level of control over their freedoms? Of course not!
All of this conflict can be avoided simply by doing away with unnecessary common ownership and/or gutting the power of developers and HOA boards to take on the role of dictator or homeroom monitor over their neighbors. Control over one’s home must shift back to individual vs. collective associatoin or corporate owners.