Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement.
His new book, Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association is due to be released in the Spring of 2012. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement from it racist origin to its transformation into a lucrative money pit for the nation’s legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book compelling.
Hello, I am one of the corrupt HOA vandals that constantly help HOA board members to impose fines and promote corruption within the bounds of our legal paperwork. Try and do something about it….
Hoag Property Management
office – 562-869-1556
fax – 562-862-1723
Well, I’ll hold out hope for you. At some point, you may see enough grief in the homeowners you manage to help you change your mind. Of course, we’ll welcome you to the dark side.
I hope you are somehow led to do something more honorable and productive with your life.
The gig is up. The truth is out. The game is over. In the end, I have no doubts the HOA’s are going to lose and it isn’t going to be pretty!
Why Lilian? “Try and do something about it….”? Now Ward? Is this a joke reply? Very entertaining! Congratulations! 🙂 I can’t wait to purchase a copy of your new Book this spring? I am disabled/retired and do over 200 crudely-built websites for friends all over the world FOR FREE! It is a great hobby for me! Ward? We hope to start http://www.HOATV.co by the end of this month! You are more than welcome to be a Weekly Guest Speaker! Check out our Group of Grassroots/NonProfit Websites at http://www.HOA1234.com ……Sam in Henderson, Nevada
Count me in! I want to see you do a television show. Hopefully, you’ll be able to have Evan McKenzie on the show, too. Education is priceless and every potential buyer needs the education these guys offer!
here is a site one my neighbors and fellow plaintiffs maintains describing the questionably legal behavior by the board in the association where i live.some of the content is abrasive, but all the content is accurate. it has taken me along time to remember “absolute power corrupts absolutely” and the other phrase I’ve started using is the “Lord of the Flies affect”.
proof that fact is stranger than fiction
I look forward to finding your book, there is some pending legislation here in Minnesota that will require property managers to list additional fees charged for work! Really, a state law that tells a business that they need to be honest and forthright with all their charges and fees.
Thanks for the note, Bert. Here’s one for you: Google “Stanley Milgram experiment” The story is absolutely shocking!
Bert, In my book I’ve got a chapter that most people will gloss over. They’ll find it interesting, but won’t realize how it applies to everyday life. I don’t want to hold anything back, here. My chapter is about the Stanley Milgram experiment and the Philip Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment. They’ve been called “the most unethical psychology experiments ever performed. Yet they may be some of the most powerful experiments ever performed which demonstrate why leaders in control of any organization (HOAs?) can sometimes lose their perspective and begin acting like vicious dictators. My book should be out in July. I’ll announce it’s launch date on this blog. I think it might open some eyes. But from the way you talk, you may be way ahead of most folks.
HOA CHANGING RULES THAT WILL IMPACT FAMILIES AND CHILDREN LIVING AT AND PLAYING IN THE STRAWBERRY- YALE AND XANADU, IN AURORA..
To all the news stations I can reach..
please come to hear the potential changes that will efffect many families, children and renters. The HOA has been harassing me and my family for over a year. Among my friends and neighbors as well. I have lived in this community for 4 years. For some reason, the Board feels it is necessary to BAN kids and families all of a sudden. No explanation??? I as a renter and as a mom, feel I need to come armed with information and YOU as the news, to HELP EVERYONE here that is against what this HOA represents…
KIDS CANT PLAY OUTSIDE?? REALLY>> FAMILIES CANT MOVE IN?? OR FAMILIES WITH KIDS UNDER 15 HAVE TO MOVE OUT, ?? Can the HOA do this to us?? WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AS A RENTER>> ??? PLEASE HELP MY SON TO BE ABLE TO BE THE 10 YR OLD BOY HE IS. TO TAKE AWAY THE OUTSIDE FROM HIM AFTER 4 YEARS OF HIM AND HIS FRIENDS PLAYING OUTSIDE, IS SO WRONG..WHAT MESSAGE ARE THEY SENDING???
My name is Amy Ringo. I live at 2646 S. Xanadu Way. unit A. Aurora, Colorado. 80014
please feel free to call me 303-946-5183..
The meeting is this TUESDAY 7 PM. at the clubhouse.
I have passed oput over 175 flier reminders to the community.. I will not back down from this.. DISCRIMINATION?? I THINK SO
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME
Amy, So what happened? Any results? It would be nice if there was a followup.
What seems to have happened is that some where along the line, is that the HOA board members became infected with the Lord of the Flies syndrome. The board, typically beholden-ed to the property manager know that it is far more expensive for a member/homeowner to bring a lawsuit than to comply with questionable legal over reach by the HOA.
The unfortunate end is that the HOA board members have the responsibility and fiduciary duty to treat associate members with good faith.
There are few states that have laws on the books or regulatory agency to assist in bridging difference between HOA board and their members. My guess is that the board members are playing out their insecurities as in Lord of the Flies.
Gee, Ward. I wish I could have talked to you. My family and I were harrassed, intimidated, and threatened by our “neighbors” who live on Franklin Way and Lafayette Way in Southglenn. They didn’t like our bushes. They trespassed, pulled up our foliage, stood outside bedroom windows, poisoned our cat, and there are two cases of illegal detainment. They think the area has covenants but we never signed any document outlining covenants. And we were never, ever contacted by any HOA.
My family and I no longer live there but now I’m being stalked by these people by vehicle (as I write this, Oct. 21,2012). They’re engaging in slander and gossip online (against me) that is vicious. I stood up to them and now I pay.
It isn’t about the bushes. It’s about power, control and domination. I have never encountered anything so spiteful and vicious. And this, over a period of 11 years. I must get your book.
Robert, I’m sorry you went through such a hateful HOA experience, but it’s happening all over the country. BTW, you’re not exaggerating about your cat being poisoned! In my book, I discuss a case in which an HOA president ordered other board members to place dishes of milk laced with Antifreeze on the porches of homeowners who owned cats. Impossible to believe? Well, the story was related by a well-known attorney with knowledge of the situation.
BTW, My book, “Neighbors At War” will be printed and shipped to the distributor TOMORROW! An eBook is imminent. But the bookcover and the story behind it are a hoot! More to come.
When HOAs stay within the confines of the covenants their actions are legally protected. But vigilantism and criminal acts — as defined by city code — cannot be tolerated. And there, possibly, is your next book.
Robert, great great suggestion! But how do you handle this: trespass onto another’s property to rip down a fence or gazebo? (It’s happened!) Trespass into someone’s private home to inspect for hoarding, including hoarding of books? It’s happening in California. In HOA Amerika probably 70% of homeowners think their HOA is OK. But our Constitution was originally written to protect the individual man/woman against government. This massive change into a new form of government is heart-wrenching.
Gazebo destroyed. Breaking & entering (not trespassing). These are criminal acts not unlike what my family and I endured. What I did was to contact the Arap. County Sheriff’s Dept. Problem solved (more or less).
Everybody has rights stipulated in the Constitution. We also have civil rights protected by federal law. None of these can be usurped by HOA covenants, boardroom dictators with a god complex, or rogue homeowners who resort to vigilantism. Sometimes we have to fight for these rights. I chose to fight.
As for massive change in our social fabric, that’s to be expected when millions of people are allowed into this country every year and jobs are shipped overseas. Is there a correlation between this and a rise in HOA applications? Perhaps it’s called globalization. But it appears that HOAs are not keeping pace with this change. People seek HOAs for the same reason they built castles or huddled en masse in caves: They want to feel safe with a sense of community. But homeowners are met with impossible rules and edicts that create even more fear than they fled. So that 30% needs to settle down and make the HOA experience more tolerable. And sometimes this needs prodding by watchdog groups or a visit from law enforcement.
Robert, I agree with much of what you said, but remember that one of your Constitutional rights is to sign a contract which restricts your Constitutional rights. The second you join a non-profit private corporation you’re subject by contract to all its rules, regardless of what you think are your state and federal Constitutional rights. You have essentially given your HOA the right to trespass, lien, sue and confiscate.
Indeed, Ward, I partially agree as it’s on a case-by-case basis. In the large view, covenants cannot supercede basic human rights such as protection from discrimination. Free speech in an HOA is another gray area that has been argued successfully both ways. Case studies argued in court would make an excellent chapter in your second book with comments, perhaps, from winning lawyers.
Indeed, Robert, some of that is actually discussed in my FIRST book, which by the way was shipped from the printer to the distributor on Monday. I’m told I should actually have some books in hand the first part of next week. In my next post, I’ll announce the exact date and tell you how to order if you’d like a dedicated or autographed book. Take care, my friends.
HOA in Hollister MO issues a C&D Order preventing a single resident from communicating with other residents about the HOA. Board then fines the same resident for (1) emailing others about the C&D Order and (2) emailing others about voting to include arbitration in the HOA governing documents.
Case is in Small Claims Court to get fine refunded. HOA has hired two different attorneys and filed over 10 different motions. HOA has spent thousands (4+?) over a $100.00 case.
Next hearing is Feb 8th.
Contact me if you’re interested in the full story.
Absolutely nothing surprises me anymore!
I love Hollister and spend as much time as I can at Big Cedar Wilderness Club.
As I’ve watched the area grow around the lake it saddened me to know that HOA’s were going to invade that beautiful area. I was so hoping somebody would get to your city planners and present all the evidence why HOA’s are bad news.
Personally, I would love to live in your area someday but rest-assured it won’t be in an HOA.
Because of my nightmare in Kansas there have been some Missouri residents ask for assistance in trying to get an HOA law in your state. They have not been successful in getting Missouri legislators to listen. I hope there is some way we can get all of you together to work toward better living conditions in Missouri.
Best of luck and I hope you win your case. The problem with HOA’s is the constant flow of “free” money that many board members find entertaining and tempting to waste. “Win at all cost” seems to be their motto and often times and more and more often now than ever before the homeowners are the ones in the winner’s seat.
If it’s any consulation to you…be thankful you aren’t in the situation I was in. When the HOA sued me for not paying my dues which I refused to do because they were in breach of contract with me, I countersued. State Farm insurance stepped up and represented them against me. The kick-in-the-teeth for me…I had been a customer of State Farm for over 40 years! The week after I settled out of court with the HOA, I canceled State Farm and went with AAA. Prior to the lawsuit, I talked with my agent, presented photos, documentation, you name it and was told there was no coverage because the exterior of my house had not been maintained. I explained I was paying over $200 per month for that to be done by the HOA and they said no coverage for the damages because no matter who I was paying monthly the responsibility to maintain the siding rested with me. I told them a board member told me if I repaired the siding and put the stucco on they would sue me and make me take the stucco off and put the wood rot back on!!!! Still State Farm represented them. Their legal department told me they had to represent them because they had business insurance with them. Since then more lawsuits were filed and State Farm has canceled the coverage with the HOA, but they still have to provide the legal representation because they were they insured them at the time the petitions were filed. I can tell you at this point State Farm Insurance has taken it in the teeth on defending these Nazis and so far has lost every single case!
Yes, it makes me smile.
Overland Park, Kansas
I feel like I have won the lottery stumbling onto this website!
I have an HOA story that will turn grey hair red and put hair on a bald man’s head. Now that I have your attention…
Where: Overland Park, Kansas
What: 513 Homeowners, Townhomes(four-plexes), duplexes, tri-plexes, free-standing homes
Dues: $225.00 per month (approximately)
Who: Quivira Falls Community Association
I purchased into this nightmare in 2005. Life has been a living hell since. Maintenance is to be provided. What a joke. My house rotten to the point the electric meters literally FELL OFF the house leaving two big holes in the siding with rain pouring in and exiting out the breakers in the electrical box. This ruined my finished basement and for over three years I had a river flowing through the basement until I settled a lawsuit out of court and spent the money fixing the mess.
In 1998 the community voted for a stucco program. Raised the dues by $40 per month to cover the money and establised an assessment on selected units. Stucco was done for no charge on others. Approximately 200 units to this day sit with no stucco. The stucco that was applied was put over rotten wood and is now cracking and it’s a mess. I hired my own contractor (2008) to remove the wood rot and apply the stucco. The ONLY RIGHT decision I’ve made in this place besides hiring a very good attorney.
Here’s the real kicker…
I asked to see financial records before purchasing and was told it was not allowed for me to see the records because I was not an owner. In truth, what I learned in 2007 was no audits had been done on TEN MILLION DOLLARS and the HOA president had held the position for over 20 years. He also handled the elections and all the money. In 2008 I hired an attorney after getting petitions signed by over 200 homeowners to recall the board. Mr. President refused to accept those petitions. The battle began. Mr. President suddenly dropped dead after it was discovered that the audits had not been done and he had just purchased two places in Carlsbad, CA where he was running for the board! He had also recently purchased two more units in Quivira Falls.
Long story shortened here…a woman on the board with him took over at the time of his death. She lowered the clubhouse American flag to half mast and took money from the dues to buy his funeral flowers! Later on, she redecorated the clubhouse self-directing the purchases through her suddenly invented and personally-owned decorating business. During her testimony in a lawsuit it was learned the community newsletter that she was so proud to have her picture displayed in every month along with her commentary was also being published by an “independent publisher.” No surprise here either, SHE was the independent publisher and we are now in the process of finding out if/who has paid the taxes on the money she collected for advertising in the amount of approximately $30,000.00. She proudly wrote that anyone who didnt have their rotten house fixed and was complaining was a pariah. When she confirmed she wrote that in front of a jury she was adamant that the plaintiff was a pariah. Her words “sealed the deal” for the plaintiff in the first day of the three day trial. Although, the HOA didn’t have a leg to stand on anyway.
During her presidentcy the board signed on with a management company that was removing rotten siding and if they found the frames on the houses were rotten they told the employees to put new siding over it and don’t mention the rotten frame to the homeowner. The worker resigned and became a “Whistle Blower” armed with photos and lots of documentation. The owner of the property management company claimed he was just doing temporary work when the media was involved. And of course, there was plenty of noise about how the former employee was not telling the truth. One homeowner had the siding removed and what can I say except, “Pictures don’t lie!” I might add this property management company employs people that are so lazy and drive around the neighborhood with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths all day long. It must be the greatest job on earth with paid holidays, vacation, health insurance, cell phone, tools, uniforms, and trucks. The payroll is $400,000.00 per year in this subdivision. Under the leadership of this management company and incompetent board they also took the dues and paid off old debt from years of unpaid bills and then turned around and borrowed ONE MILLION DOLLARS. They couldn’t make the payments on that so they paid interest only to the tune of another 60K per year. Today, my house is worth 60% less than I have in it and the few that are selling are as low as 68K for something that sold for 150K just seven years ago.
Needless to say there are numerous lawsuits pending for breach of contract. A jury of 12 just found the community in breach and using deceptive practices. Whether it will be declared a violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act is being determined by the judge.
The property manager remains on contract and the community is in worst shape than it was five years ago.
My first and last ever home in an HOA. I swear I would live in a tent before I would ever do this again. I have two stress-related diseases, my bank account is wiped out, and I have a house that is in a hellhole.
A group of us worked with the Kansas Legislators to pass a law governing HOA’s but there is so much more that needs to be amended to that law to develop teeth that leave bite marks on these nightmare HOA’s.
I am so excited to read Mr. Lucas’ book. I discovered Evan McKenzie’s Privatopia and Beyond Privatopia a few years ago and what an education he provides.
I would very much like to see all of us who are suffering in these HOA’s band together and work with the federal government to get the outlawed. This is not the way people should have to live just because they purchase a house with an HOA. I feel like I’m living among Nazis in 2013! Power hungry bullies that feel using dues to fight homeowners with justifiable complaints is not who I want for neighbors.