It's not easy to make a difference. Yet you can start today. Here is why and how.
As an advocate and author for the rights of homeowners, I hear many sad tales in the association wars. People want to talk, write, fight back, find solutions. They call and ask, "What can I do, where do I start?" And there is little, on a national scale, at this time to tell them. It seems hopeless at times because of the power of the vendors represented by the CAI and law firms that work for the board in opposition to the homeowner. The county officials who abdicate their responsibilities so they may collect taxes without providing services to the homeowner make our struggle seem even more futile. Yet many thousands have begun to wake up because of their own war stories and the efforts of HOA warriors like Ward Lucas, George Starpoli, Nila Riding, Sara Benson, attorney Roger Wood, and so many dedicated owners. We are just now organizing. Our advocating is in its infancy, yet we can and are making inroads.
If you are reading this, I suspect that you too want to make a difference. You are not alone, and although the effort often goes unrewarded, we are gaining momentum and you can make a difference.
Here is an email I received yesterday from a man who also wants to make a difference. Duy-ky came to the United States for freedom. (I left his broken English as is to accentuate his perspective in coming here seeking freedom and finding he has less freedom than in Viet Nam!)
Hello Shelly,So Duy-Ky found like most of us do, after it is too late, that an owner in an HOA in America is far from free or protected! He wants to help fight this abusive form of unconstitutional government like so many of us do. Starting websites, although good, is just not working fast enough. We need to do more. If enough of us scream loud enough and long enough, we create ripples in the sea of abuse. The ripples turn into waves, the waves turn into breakers and eventually the planned community sand castles buttressed by vendors and county officials will be washed away.
I'm fight abusive HOA and found your web site, bought your book HOA Warrior. In the book, I love your statement "outlaw all HOA", so I have this email to you.
I risked my life in escaping abusive power Vietnamese Communist 2 decades ago as a Vietnamese Boat People, almost got killed by Thai pirate. Now I'm experiencing abusive power by HOA!!!
I could not believe HOA business is allowed in the most civilized country whose outstanding constitution against abusing power by even allowing people to arm themselves to fight back whoever abusing power to harm their lives, by creating 3 branches of government to balance power.
To me, HOA business is violating the constitution because:
1) It violates the basic right to live freely without hassle
2) It abuses power in creating their own rules and dictates people to follow like a law
There is a key difference between laws and rules. Based on the constitution, laws are made by the congress and approved by the president. Law breakers must be assumed innocent until judged by a very strict judiciary procedure. While rules are simply made within an organization, like school or workplace (company, association,). Rule breakers are suspended or expelled from organization or fired from workplace. People follow rules as they get benefit from the organization making those rules, say employee paycheck. Why do I have to follow your rules when I gets no benefit from HOA, but hassle? On contrary, HOA get benefit from me via HOA fee, it just makes no sense at all to me. If the HOA found I broke the rule, all they could do is to expel me from the HOA.
I could not believe HOA is allowed to dictate people how to behave in their personal life similar to attacking private life, contradict to privacy law!
There's no difference between house WITH and WITHOUT HOA, besides HOA hassle like ridiculous rules and fee (10% of monthly mortgage).
I wish to coordinate with ALL homeowners to outlaw all HOA for the better life in the most civilized country like USA. I'm thinking to create a web site "outlaw-HOA.org" for this purpose.
So scream a little, or scream a lot--protest from the roof tops, if you will. Here is a list of tiny ripples you can make that will eventually wipe the beach clean and let us begin anew in our communities:
- Create a website or blog for your association so that neighbors can connect without board interference
- Write a letter to your state and Federal legislators and ask what they are doing to protect homeowners from these abusive private governments. Be sure to let them know you do not appreciate them listening to the CAI lobbyists and include these links
- Make a list of attorneys in your state who defend homeowners and have the balls to stand up to CAI attorneys who defend only boards (post this list to your website and/or blog)
- Make a second list of attorneys who will do limited representation so homeowners may be more able to afford a lawsuit (post this list to your website and/or blog)
- Research the number of lawsuits that involve Associations in your county and write to the county commissioners asking them to forbid future planned development communities that involve privatization of government responsibilities and abdicate their own duties to protect citizens. Cite the lawsuits you find.
- Follow more than one blog about HOA abuses and comment often. The more we participate, the larger the ripple spreads.
- Friends don't let friends even inquire about buying into a gated community. Stop friends and family before they start.
- Write letters to the editor for your local news any time there is any HOA related story. Even if not published, every protest becomes a ripple.
- Share as much as you can on Face Book, Twitter, and your own blogs. For example, take the cartoon I have on my warrior site and share in any social media--you have my permission and you don't have to link back--just use it to scream out your protests.
- Share this poster and enlist the help of your neighbors. Print it out (PDF) and pass around or post it on the bulletin board. Upload it to your website and allow others to download and print. Also share this on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram--whatever social media you have connections with. Poster: What is a Homeowner Advocate?
- Investigate what others are doing and consider supporting their efforts rather than duplicate them such as this petition to regulate HOAs by Suzanne Wasner at http://tinyurl.com/k7xbg2u