It’s not often that the lowly homeowner has much of a chance of getting a fair hearing in court. The vast majority of all rulings are against the homeowner and in favor of the private non-profit corporation. And many’s the judge who’s told a miserable homeowner that he or she should have read his covenants before signing the real estate documents.
Last week’s ruling, though, by the Supreme Court of Virginia was a clarion call to the National Homeowners Association Movement that it can’t stomp on the homeowner’s Constitutional rights forever. Basically the court ruled that the Shadowood Condominium complex in Reston, Virginia cannot assess fines against residents because there was no such permission granted in the development’s master deed. Bam! Pow!
Ah yes, Good Friends. This is the season where bad neighbors are supposed to join hands, ill will is forgotten and life is reborn. After all, the Christmas holiday theoretically celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the human form of God Almighty. The birth of Jesus and His subsequent ministry changed the world in a mightier way than any other man, religion, idea, or concept in history.
Movie producer George Lucas must have incredible patience. But even the most patient man in the world burns out sometime.
Lucas has owned a large ranch in Marin County for the past forty years. His dream was to create a 300,000 square foot movie studio that would have brought 300 million dollars worth of new economic activity to that part of California. Despite the fact that his studio would not have been visible to his rich neighbors, the adjacent Homeowners Association has spent two and a half decades fighting him every step of the way.
Estrella Bryant was trying hard to keep up with her mortgage payments on her home in San Francisco, California. Like many other struggling homeowners, she thought she could delay a dues payment to her Homeowners Association. Wrong choice. She was unprepared for the nightmare that followed.
The Parkview Heights Homeowners Association told her she owed $560 in dues. The case was turned over to a collection agency, which then tacked on its own fees and attorney’s fees.
The nightmare grew. Bryant said her big mistake was thinking that an HOA was there to help its member homeowners, the exact opposite of what the typical HOA does.