Rules and Regulations or the Bill of Rights

A Personal Opinion  of Beanie Adolph

The zeal of Homeowner Associations for strict deed restriction enforcement and ways to get compliance appears to be so 20th century when homeowners were fed the CAI diet of rules and regulations.  Constitutional rights were expendable. Then homeowners were taught to fear their neighbors, their neighbor’s taste, or their neighbor’s acceptability.  This is all based on the false theory that HOAs protect property values. They don’t. HOAs protect the billion dollar income of the HOA industry.

It also doesn’t take into consideration the bursting of the housing bubble and the current economic situation where there are so many foreclosures and empty homes.  Properties are being scooped up by investors out to make a quick profit.  In single family detached home neighborhoods the houses are being turned into rentals. Condos and townhomes are being taken over by investors with disastrous consequences to the remaining residents.

Most important of all, whom should a homeowner fear most?  Should it be a neighbor whose taste/style is different from his own or the HOA industry (board/management company/attorney) that has the power to fine, lien, foreclose and evict  for any perceived violation?

Foreclosure has been filed on homeowners for having tape residue on windows, failure to say “May I” before making improvements,  and myriads of other inane reasons . To top this off, even though a Priority of Payment law was enacted (HB 1228, Sec 209.0063), the industry succeeded in obtaining the right not to follow the law if a homeowner had defaulted. Then first payment goes to the attorney. Obviously there is no concern for the neighborhood and the stated need for the assessments. The need is the attorney’s.

And then there is Celebration City, Florida –  a master planned community that imitated a version of pre-World War II small town life.  The false notion that “planning, planning, planning” could create such a community exploded with the burst of the housing bubble.  Then city problems became reality as foreclosures, murder, and suicide invaded this fake city.  The gated community designed to exclude disorder, poverty, and crime now manifested the same reality and denying the promised Utopia.

Reasonable deed restrictions, approved by the members are beneficial to a community but HOAs should not be permitted to micro manage families.  HOAs should support the rights of homeowners – not deny them.