Heyday of the HOA

A Personal Opinion of Beanie Adolph

HOAs – where perfection reigns. Lawns are mowed to ordered rules, houses conform to CC&R demands, and no imperfection is tolerated. Like white-washed tombs these HOAs have hidden the devastation inside.  Life is where the one constant is change. People are subject to sickness, age, loss of jobs, family problems.  Even the highly praised “amenities” also age and deteriorate and in many cases are not repaired or replaced.  But even worse is the misery caused by “the enforcers” – those with clipboard in hand, issuing citations to those owners deemed “non-compliant”.  Fines, fees, liens, attorney charges, and foreclosure filings ensue.  Threatened with foreclosure, knees buckle, and owners pay whatever they are told. It is a thriving business – but not for the homeowners – see www.HOAdata.org.

This privatization of government – HOAs – has been passed off as a genuine asset to a community of unsuspecting homeowners by state legislatures with no concern for the effects on those who live within these communities. They are in denial for what their laws have done to home ownership.  Repeated requests for government oversight are ignored.  Legislators have even been heard to say, “No more stories!”

Many don’t even recognize the difference between bank foreclosures and HOA foreclosures.  Banks have a legitimate claim for their investments – yet many banks have shown leniency to the borrowers.  Not so with HOAs.  Even though the homeowner has to pay the mortgage, taxes, and other bills on his home, the HOA is ruthless in filing foreclosure for any insignificant violation – even for “oil spot on driveway” or “tape on window”. Despite their parroted claim, HOAs do NOT PROTECT PROPERTY VALUES.  Business is business.

The housing market has been through some brutal times. There have been many foreclosures in the detached homes, as well as in townhomes, and condos.

The most dire circumstances are now being faced especially by those owners in condos and townhomes.  If insufficient or no funds have been provided for repairs, the condos or townhomes may face either extreme special assessments or condemnation by the cities. In other cases, investors have bought up sufficient properties to control the board, increase monthly assessments, and levy special assessments which many owners cannot pay, and so are forced to sell – at a loss.

Despite the problems rampant in HOA ownership, many cities still require developers to plan HOAs in new subdivisions because it is a way to offload costly services. Municipalities have encouraged HOA growth by tax incentives and other benefits. In the workplace, one legislator is known to object to workers being forced to pay dues to be represented by an organization they disagree with.  This same protection should be provided American home owners.  They should not be subjected to mandatory HOA dues and HOA control as a condition of home ownership. They should have all the Constitutional protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.