Every time I read of a homeowner who’s lost his or her home to a bank foreclosure, it breaks my heart. HOWEVER, every time I read of a Homeowners Association which has done the same thing to a homeowner, it infuriates me.
Homeowners Associations can foreclose on a member of an association in a matter of hours for even the pettiest violation of the covenants. Yes, I agree that all homeowners should be required to pay their HOA dues ON TIME! No exceptions. HOAs need those funds to operate and to maintain the common areas. The problem is that many HOAs and management companies are abusing that power.
One of the tragic stories we come across time and again is how the Homeowners Association Movement discriminates against the handicapped. Yes, we know it’s illegal. Yes, we know the handicapped are a critically needed resource in this country. Yes, it’s common sense not to discriminate against them. But the Homeowners Association Movement was created for a reason. It’s very structure was designed to weed out anyone who doesn’t fit the “official profile.”
As explored in my upcoming book, “Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association,” that “profile” is devious and absolutely designed to weed out blacks, orientals, the handicapped, the single moms, gays, and anyone else who doesn’t match the cookie-cutter, bleached-beige stereotype of HOA life.
One puzzle about the HOA movement is, “Why doesn’t the left or right take a stance?” Think about it. Every homeowner signs away his Constitutional rights by agreeing to join an HOA. That abrogation of rights has been upheld in multiple court decisions.
But shouldn’t the left-wing ACLU be furious about the loss of free speech rights by homeowners? Shouldn’t the right-wing Tea Party be furious with the fact that citizens have lost their ability to claim First Amendment, Second Amendment, and Fourth and Fifth Amendment protections just by joining an HOA?
One question each homebuyer should deliberate before buying a property in a homeowners association is, “Am I buying a home in Paradise, or will the HOA make my stay a living hell?”
Homeowners Associations offer promises, of course: security, clean streets, well maintained homes, nice amenities. Some new home buyers find it a positive experience. Others discover they have bought into a nightmare. Still others find their homes foreclosed upon, sometimes for the pettiest of reasons.
Here are some recent homeowner stories collected by Bankrate.com:
Millions of Americans have moved into covenant-protected neighborhoods, thinking the experience will be a positive one, maintenance will protect property values, neighbors will be friendly. A good percentage will find exactly what they were searching for.
Sadly, many others will discover that the move to the new neighborhood constituted a fundamental change of government. Yes, they’ve actually moved out of the United States of America and into a private non-profit corporation governed, not by the U.S. Constitution, but by a set of bylaws and restrictions. The restrictions were created by the original real estate developer and control handed over to neighborhood boards. The new corporate rules have nothing to do with the Bill of Rights with which most of us are familiar.