Tag Archives: Florida

There’s Gotta Be A Better Way!

There’s yet another home confiscation in Florida, this one in the Waters Edge Homeowners Association. A young Florida family got behind in their HOA dues and their home was snatched right out from under them.

Young families are not wise to the ways of the world. They don’t understand how profoundly corrupt organizations like the HOA movement can simply steal what they own. Young people trust in the honesty of neighbors and neighborhood lawyers. Sadly, too many families who are just searching for a dream end up living a nightmare.

(link to WFTV story on homeless family)


Clothesline Craziness in Florida

Florida is choked with Homeowners Associations and their regulations can sometimes be draconian, such as no drying of clothing on the backyard clothes line. Here we are facing a worldwide energy crisis, we’re supposedly facing global warming. Yet HOAs threaten to fine, lien and foreclose on homes where somebody tries to save energy by hanging some towels out on the line.

Florida actually passed a law prohibiting HOAs from enforcing such prohibitions. HOAs and property managers should know the law. But they’re more comfortable bullying than in recognizing homeowners’ rights. The story linked below is about a Fort Myers homeowner who did know the law. But she’s now being targeted by the Cross Creek Estates Homeowners Association.

She’s going to lose, of course, because HOAs know that by the time a controversy has been settled the homeowners who try to stand up for their rights have to spend a fortune on legal bills. That’s why I frequently refer to the ‘national HOA scam.’ It’s all about funneling money into the pockets of lawyers, all the while claiming to protect property values.

At least this lady is getting a little emotional support from the news media. If you have friends in Florida just let them know about that state’s Right-To-Dry law. And drop this lady a note thanking her for her courage.

(link to laundry controversy in Fort Myers)

North Miami Beach HOA Disaster

Dear Reader,

You’re supposed to do your due-diligence before buying that first home. Sure, the place looks great. Yes, it’s a sexy North Miami Beach high rise condo.

But, good grief, take a look at what’s happening around you. One family in the building can’t access their six-story balcony because it’s hazardous. Walking onto the balcony could mean sudden death. There are dozens of others inaccessible balconies. The building is full of mold. There are allegations of the embezzlement of more than a million dollars worth of dues paid by homeowners to the management company for parking fees.

Big cracks are appearing in the Jade Winds high rise. The condo association has filed for bankruptcy. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon in North Miami Beach and around the country, for that matter.

This continues to be a national scandal, the biggest one that state and federal legislators are NOT looking at. “Please go away from my office. Please don’t talk about HOAs. It’s too confusing and my mental capacities are not functioning at full speed right now.”

I love the readers of this blog, I just want to protect them from financial disaster.

(link to news on condo catastrophe in North Miami Beach)


Take The Survey!

Our frequent guest blogger, Deborah Goonan, is part of a team of consumer advocates conducting a nationwide HOA survey. In addition to a social media presence, she has posted it on her own web page at Indepentent American Communities (IAC). Obviously, such a survey is more accurate when the survey sample is large. And the more people who respond, the more likely our combined voices will be heard. So, if you haven’t participated yet, please do.

In email exchanges around the country I have a rough idea of what many Americans think about HOAs, POAs and condo associations. But Deborah has fine-tuned a number of survey questions and the results will ultimately be distributed to policy makers.

It’s finally your time to be heard! Here’s your chance to begin the process of making change happen.

(link to HOA survey)


Florida HOA Update: Mostly Bad News

guest blog by Deborah Goonan

Spencer’s Plantation homeowners association is in the midst of conflict, according to a report from First Coast News, Jacksonville.

Defunct developer, Mercedes Homes, ended business operations in 2012. Since that time, SPHOA’s Board leadership has changed several times, dwindling from 5 members a few years ago to only 2 members as of June 2015. The management company has been changed twice, most recently a few weeks ago, according to public records.

According to the report, the new Board has been aggressively pursuing homeowners for various minor covenant violations, issuing hefty fines. A search of the Clay County Clerk’s database confirms that the past 2-3 years have seen a fair amount of activity, with the HOA filing liens upon properties that were later paid and satisfied by those owners.

Recall attempts by homeowners have failed to remove the Board President and Treasurer, and it looks like the matter will now have to go to arbitration with Florida’s Division of Business and Professional regulation (DBPR).

Do low annual assessments = fewer HOA conflicts?

One fact that caught my eye in the news report: Spencer’s Plantation includes 222 homes, with annual assements of only $250. Reading the Declarations online, this HOA’s common areas consist of a few storm water “lakes” and a small green space. This is a relatively small, no-frills HOA, especially for Florida.

There is sometimes a misconception that HOAs with minimal common area maintenance and low annual fees are somehow less of a hassle than elaborate gated communities with golf courses, club houses, pools, and the like.

But when I read through the Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&Rs) for Spencer’s Plantation, I noticed that the Use Restrictions and aesthetics standards — what I like to call “Keeping Up Appearances” — or KUA Rules, are every bit as elaborate as those fancy master planned communities such as Celebration or The Villages.

So that means that the HOA Board can, and often does, end up with a few members who are gung-ho on enforcing those elaborate rules to the letter. And often, there is a property management company and an HOA attorney aiding and abetting those efforts. After all, these “service” providers make a living as HOA Enforcers.

Apparently, that’s what’s going on at Spencer’s Plantation, according to the homeowners that contacted First Coast New. It’s a familiar story that we hear about over and over again.

Don’t be fooled by the size or simplicity of the community. Be sure to read all of the CC&Rs, plus any related Rules and Regulations, very carefully. Better yet, hire a qualified real estate attorney to represent your interests from the time you execute a sale contract through closing. If reading and understanding the fine print and details raises red flags, better to walk away before the deal is done!

Read the story on First Coast News here: