Daniel Solomon pleaded guilty to trying to swindle his neighbors at the Vistana Homeowners Association. He admitted he became a “straw purchaser” in the Vistana HOA so he could direct construction business to his co-consirators. He’s the 9th bad guy to admit to the judge that he’s guilty.
If I were living in an HOA whose value plummeted fifty to sixty to eighty percent because of scandals like this, I’d be mortified. If I knew my condo had ZERO resale value because a bunch of neighbors were skimming property values off the top to slip into their own greedy pockets, I’d be more than furious, I’d take to the streets.
As discussed recently in this forum, it’s mystifying why neither the political left nor the political right has taken a stand on the state of “HOA America.” Sixty million homeowners live in one of the country’s 300,000 Homeowners Associations. The number of HOAs is exploding with government jurisdictions around the country turning over lower government responsibilities to the HOA Movement.
As a private non-profit corporation, a Homeowners Association has incredible power to harass, fine and foreclose. Housing discrimination is still common in many areas. Violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is ongoing. Free speech is restricted, religion is restricted. Due process is rarely, if ever, followed. Almost every one of the protections that Americans think they have in the Bill of Rights is trampled on daily.
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HOA Reform: Conservative? Liberal? Or Libertarian?
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There are many ironies in the country’s HOA quagmire, but the one that really stirred anger among American families was the 2010 confiscation of the home of an Army Reserve Captain named Michael Clauer.
Clauer and his wife, May, lived in the Heritage Lakes Homeowners Association in Frisco, Texas. They had two young children, one of them just a toddler. They owned their 300,000 dollar home free and clear, a gift from May’s parents.
But when Michael was transfered to command a unit in the war in Iraq, May Clauer allowed what she thought was junk mail to pile up. Sadly, among the items in the growing stack of mail were the couple’s HOA dues, about 877 dollars, and the threat to foreclose.
Negative experiences continue making national headlines, as HOA homeowners share stories of almost incomprehensible conflict. A homeowner who loses her home because she underpaid her dues by 78 cents! (Florida) Homeowners fined because they put up some Halloween decorations.(multiple locations) Christmas decorations banned in neighborhood after neighborhood. An HOA president who orders a board member to poison cats with anti-freeze! (Arizona) What is going on? Have people just gone crazy?
Kim and Ed Hartnett owned a nice condominium at Spinnaker Run 1, but their Homeowners Association has levied so many fines against them for late payment of dues, that they just can’t catch up. They’ve abandoned their nice condo and are now living in a motor home.
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The Dictatorial Power of the Homeowners Association
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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.