A Layman’s View of HOA Land
A Personal Opinion of Beanie Adolph
Buy a dream home and discover HOA Land. A dream becomes a nightmare. Why? Evan McKenzie in PRIVATOPIA* states: “The ideal was that of self-governing local communities living the fantasy of the New England town meeting. The reality, too often, was an undemocratic oligarchy in which an apathetic body of residents was governed by a few…who were told what to do by property managers and lawyers… In the absence of meaningful legislative regulation or oversight…”
Far from fulfilling the fantasy, this privatization of government denies HOA members their basic Constitutional rights. The cry of homeowners is always, “They can’t do this, can they?” The answer is, “Yes, they can, because the CAI industry wrote the laws.” Property Code 204 places HOAs under corporate law – outside of our Constitutional law, and totally empowers HOA boards. All homeowners should read the Texas Property Code – 204.010.
Most rare is that ideal of self-governing communities. Management companies and attorneys usually control the lifestyle and the funding of HOAs – all enforced by threats of fines, fees, and foreclosure. Management companies and attorneys live on the backs of homeowners and their appetite is insatiable. What should be homeowners governing themselves is instead a feeding trough for management companies and attorneys. Too often when board members are questioned, they look to the management company for answers. Too often the board members are only puppets. This is NOT self-government. This is control by the CAI industry. This is part of the farce that has been imposed on American homeowners.
Being apathetic is no longer an option for homeowners if they want to reclaim their freedom – if they want to keep their homes. What can homeowners do?
- Know what needs to be changed. Homeowners know what is wrong, whether it’s exclusion, lack of transparency, harassment, fraud, embezzlement, etc.
- Call their State House and Senate members and tell their story. If neighbors are united, invite the Senator/Representative or staff member to come to a home and invite neighbors to explain the problems. Every call to a legislator is a positive step toward better laws.
- Call the press. Every story is gold.
- Know how your legislators vote. Do they support homeowners or the HOA industry? Let them know you and your neighbors are aware and need their support.
- Tell your legislators of the need for meaningful legislative regulation with penalties for HOA boards that do not follow the laws. There must be teeth in the laws to be effective.
- There is an absolute need for legislative oversight – an agency to receive homeowner complaints of HOA abuse – an agency independent of CAI/HOA control.
* Evan McKenzie, PRIVATOPIA – Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government,( New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1994,) 121