Kansas City Star’s Ripples Continue To Spread

Not too much commentary tonight. But a small Washington State newspaper has cited reporter Judy Thomas’s expose’ from a few weeks ago.

Yup. The word’s getting around to all corners of the country.

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FROM THE SUBURBAN TIMES, Pierce County, Washington

Letter: Lakewood’s RIP, a glorified ‘HOA from hell’?

“Home associations that once protected residents now prey on them,” read the August 3, 2016 headline in the Kansas City Star. Author Judy L. Thomas describes some of the highlights – or perhaps more appropriately the lowlights – of home associations gone bad.

From purple playsets (color not appropriate), to window curtains (only blinds allowed), “outlandish rules – from the farcical to the frightening – are being enforced by homes associations,” observed Thomas from her research of HOAs across the country.

Coming to a city near you?

Lakewood’s Rental Inspection Program (RIP) – officially “Rental Housing Safety Program” – is ostensibly built around the premise that the “protection” of Lakewood citizens is paramount.

That’s what the aforementioned HOAs said.

Lakewood’s official statement as found on its website:

“The Rental Housing Safety Program will protect the public health, safety and welfare of tenants by encouraging proper maintenance of residential housing, by identifying and requiring correction of substandard housing conditions, and by preventing conditions of deterioration and blight that could adversely impact the quality of life in Lakewood.”

“Proper maintenance,” as defined by the HOAs in Thomas’ series, meant fining a resident nearly $9,000 for beautifying a 3-by-4-foot common area with 36 planted pansies; “fines for leaving garage doors open”; and “‘unattractive’ flower pots on a front step” to name a few.

Far-fetched for our familiar environs?

Lakewood’s “Rental Housing Safety Program Inspection Checklist” (Draft), Section 1, “Exterior Site Conditions” includes (1.7) as a potential violation: “Property and surrounding landscape properly maintained.”

This is a safety issue?

Truth be told, 1.7 adds “noxious weeds and overgrown vegetation” as anathemas to the more generalized – and subjectively obnoxious – “properly maintained” inspector’s judgement call.

And this of course harkens back to a time in early incorporation history when Lakewood Code Enforcement ran amok through the town seizing property and serving court summons for property violations – so many in fact that due process was jettisoned in favor of expediency.

And this then begs the question, is RIP really about safety or is it about controlling someone’s legacy?

I ‘asked’ Dr. Z (Camillo Zacchia, psychologist and senior advisor at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute) about that.

“Very few kids say, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a control freak.’ Yet somehow the world keeps getting populated by them. What’s up with that?”

Dr. Z answers: “If they know what they are doing, control freaks are great to have around, especially when things really matter. In situations that are not so important, however, their insistence on having things their way makes them unpleasant to be around.”

From HOAs to RIPs, it is evidently human nature to be controlling, sometimes freakily so

Comments

  1. David Wilson says

    Rental Housing Safety Program has nothing in common with HOA’s. Keep reaching.

    RHSP not RIP.

    “The Rental Housing Safety Program will protect the public health, safety and welfare of tenants by encouraging proper maintenance of residential housing, by identifying and requiring correction of substandard housing conditions, and by preventing conditions of deterioration and blight that could adversely impact the quality of life in Lakewood.”

    Worth being copied again.

    Yea!

  2. Chris Anderson says

    Whether RHSP is RIP or not isn’t the issue…goverment overreach is, and what Lakewood is doing is just that….how very Orwellian of them.

 

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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.

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