Highlight March 2015:Added a new link for the Owner's Web Site pages that was made using suggestions from HOA Warrior. It is the best site I've seen; better than mine--thanks Elain from Utah!
So, your HOA is out of control?
Myself and my neighbors fought our HOA board and won. You can do the same!
You may not have realized how many rights you abdicated when you bought into a Planned Development Community (homeower's associations known as condos, HOAs, POAs, gated communities, and so on). Maybe you did know, read the documents and considered them reasonable. So you thought you were protected. Then everything changed.
Most likely, a few power hungry owners were elected to the board and suddenly no matter how reasonable your documents were, your directors are not. Owners often face volunteer directors misusing their power, getting heavy handed, refusing to let owners see records, refusing to follow the documents, all bolstered by an attorney who supports their questionable acts--leaving you to pay the bill to enforce their whims.
What has gone wrong?
Anyone who has butted heads with a homeowner board quickly finds that the HOA system of government (yes, you contracted yourself into a government body), is simply not working to protect you or protect your property values as they were originally intended to do. Instead what the HOA system really does is allow your county to abdicate their responsibility for taking care of you, while they continue to collect taxes. You can turn this around and my experience is going to help you!
Once in your HOA, you get to pay the county and your HOA for the services you enjoy (roads, street lights, water, parking enforcement, and so on). Only, the HOA board has tons more power and say-so over your life and property than the county. In fact, if they don't like you--or you decide to assert yourself--this group of people (your neighbors) can actually take your property and turn your dream home into a nightmare. Can your county or city take away your home if you get a parking ticket? Ten parking tickets? Fifty? No, they can't. However, your HOA may be able to take your home for as little as one parking ticket that you refuse to pay.
HOAs bring property values down!
Battles in HOAs get so heated and ugly that one of the most important selling points in property today is "No HOA." So rather than keep your property values up, HOAs are actually keeping your property values down. There are a lot of reasons this has occurred. For one thing, it's an industry now. Lawyers, managers, and accountants make lots of money on Homeowner Associations and they spend a lot of money to lobby state representatives to pass laws that keep you in servitude.
Isn't there an organization to protect Owners?You can read about the Community Association Institutive (CAI), an organization designed originally to "protect" and serve the industry, and how it morphed. Now it seems that it mainly protects vendors at the expense of the owner. Read, in the HOA primer about why the CAI usually doesn't protect YOU, the owner, even though they like to claim they do: The CAI: Putting in the Fix
20/20 did a great program on what went wrong in HOAs. The CAI went ballistic and claimed that ABC got it wrong. But an involved Homeowner advocate, Jan Bergemann, wrote her take on their take,
The CAI is a trade organization trying to advance the monetary interests of their members, mostly attorneys, management companies, landscaping companies etc. For them HOAs are in existence to make money for them, since they have no invested financial interest...(Read Jan's full 'take' here)For organizations that truly advocate for the owner, look under the "Help by State" menu on the right for grass roots groups formed around the country to advocate for and help owners.
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