Tag Archives: Homeowners Association board

Backyard Chicken Wars

Since I’ve covered chicken wars in the past, I figured I’d link the latest pertinent news story. One of my neighbors has a chicken coop. Never in a million years would I complain. But I have to confess to having accepted some eggs in the past.


The Short Sale Trap

For those of you wanting to make a short sale on your house, you’d better keep an eagle eye on your good old Homeowners Association. They’re starting to get pretty crafty in keeping the neighborhood operating budget full.

For homeowners who are suffering through the housing mess and living with underwater mortgages, working out a short sale might help you save some of your retirement nest egg. The banks take a well-deserved loss, but you’re happy because you’ve found a buyer and you’ve escaped your nightmare of a mortgage.

But wait!  Your HOA has superior rights over your bank. If it moves quickly, it can snatch your home and foreclose on it before your short sale can go through. Just about any violation of HOA covenants can make your home a nice grab.  If you were a little behind on dues, if your grass became a little brown during those months you failed to water the lawn, if you got fined for leaving the trash can outside, once you add fines, collection fees, legal fees, late fees and all the other fees that can be conjured up, your HOA can actually claim you owe it tens of thousands of dollars.

Like a rat trap, the HOA springs shut on your pending short sale. You lose, the bank loses, your potential buyer loses.  Ah, but your HOA wins. It gets to put your house on the auction block. Sweet, huh?

Ward Lucas

Author of

Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

HOA Dues: For Some, it’s Poison

Members of Homeowners Associations must pay their HOA dues, on time!

That’s as it should be, of course. After all, homeowners agree in their original real estate purchase agreements to abide by all HOA rules and restrictions. But in thousands of cases across the country, people’s homes are being snatched and sold at auction, sometimes without notice, after a late payment or other violation of vague neighborhood rules.

Tony Goodman, of San Antonio, Texas, is just another in a long line of homeowners to find themselves threatened with homelessness.

Goodman, who was unemployed for nearly a year, says he was unable to pay HOA dues on his $165,000 home in the Lookout Canyon Creek Homeowners Association. He owed $769. With surprise collection fees and attorney’s costs that sum rose to more than $2000. Goodman says he worked out a payment plan with the HOA’s lawyer, Tom Newton, but the plan was rejected by the HOA twice.

Reporter Brian Collister, of WOAI TV, says he tried to get both the attorney and the Homeowners Association to discuss the Goodman case. Neither would talk to him. Collister says he then showed up at a Homeowners Association meeting and tried to ask questions about the home seizure, but the HOA ordered Collier to leave and then called the police.

Tony Goodman was eventually one of the few “snatch and sell” victims who was able to save his house. After all the negative publicity in Texas, the Lookout Canyon Creek HOA agreed to let Goodman make payments to head off the foreclosure.

Others, many others, have not been so “lucky.”

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

For Anyone Planning on Buying a Home in Eden Prairie, MN:

I love to hear stories of really rotten, really contemptible things that Homeowner Association boards do to certain “targeted” members of the neighborhood. Every ghastly story just reinforces my belief that there’s something desperately wrong with these phony Utopian neighborhoods govered by deed restrictions and neighborhood covenants.

Seven years ago, homeowner Gregg Harcus hung about a half dozen birdhouses around the area. Suddenly, Harcus was ordered by his HOA board that the birdhouses were illegal and had to be removed.

Nobody had complained about them, but the board just decided to remove them.

Harcus, is actually a member of the board, himself, and he thought he’d be able to persuade the rest of the board that the birdhouses were an improvement for the neighborhood.

At the hearing, he was surprised to see that the HOA had hired an attorney be be present.
But wait, it gets even more interesting. Two weeks after the hearing, the HOA Board slams Marcus with a $650 bill for the attorney hired by the Homeowner Association’s board! In other words, just by asking the HOA board to reconsider its decision to remove the birdhouses, the board is ordering Harcus to pay for the lawyer who Harcus didn’t even know was coming!

Ah, but there’s a backstory here; Harcus is apparently in a dispute with a new management company hired to oversee the neighborhood. Somebody wanted to find a way to demonstrate their power to punish a fellow board member.

In frustration, Harcus resigned his position on the board. From what it sounds like, that’s exactly what they were trying to accomplish in the first place.

The petty, arbitrary, and vicious things that routinely take place in the country’s Homeowners Associations just makes them all the more unattractive to would-be buyers.

And to the Homeowners Association board at Bluff Country Village Townhomes, an extra helping of scorn and shame. You’ve just made your neighborhood a little dirtier, a little uglier, a little more vulgar, and a little more socially dangerous for homeowners to rise out of their own apathy.

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association