News from Texas

NATIONAL – CAI finally admits to being a business 501(c)6 trade organization

HOA CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT: CAI finally admits to being a business 501(c)6 trade organization
By George K. Staropoli
January 15, 2017

CAI finally admits to being a business trade tax-exempt organization.

Community Associations Institute (CAI) is a national nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization founded in 1973 to foster competent, responsive community associations through research, training and education. […] We work to identify and meet the evolving needs of the professionals and volunteers who serve associations, by being a trusted forum for the collaborative exchange of knowledge and information, and by helping our members learn, achieve and excel.[1]

In my 17 years as a HOA reform activist this is a landmark first!  This is a personal achievement.  There was very little support from other reform advocates and homeowners regarding misrepresentation by CAI.[2]  As a result of my repeated criticisms and exposes, CAI had to apparently fess up.

Over its 44 years in existence CAI has mislead its viewers, members, the public and legislators as to its legal tax-exempt status. It news releases, websites, Common Ground magazine, communications with state and federal elected officials, and court filings that refer to representing homeowners and HOAs.[3] CAI is not allowed to have HOAs as members![4]  Example, CAI’s current web page reads,

CAI provides information, education and resources to the homeowner volunteers who govern communities and the professionals who support them. CAI members include association board members and other homeowner leaders, community managers, association management firms and other professionals who provide products and services to associations.

CAI serves community associations and homeowners . .

Read more:

https://pvtgov.wordpress.com/

NATIONAL – HOAs from hell: more horror stories, more fraud – and prospect of legislative action

McClatchyDC: HOAs from hell: more horror stories, more fraud – and prospect of legislative action
By Judy L. Thomas
December 23, 2016

In Georgia, a decorated Army veteran who lost a leg in Afghanistan is now ensnared in a battle on the home front — with his homeowners association.

The HOA filed a lien on his house related to the placement of his trash cans.

From Maryland to California, prosecutors have charged HOA officers and property management officials in fraud and embezzlement cases with losses that total in the millions.

And in Missouri, lawmakers are working on a proposal to make homes associations more accountable, with one saying homeowners in his district have become so incensed with their HOAs that “we are one step away from pitchforks and torches.”

In the few months since The Star’s report on HOAs from hell, horror stories continue to pile up and homeowners keep falling victim to thieves from within their ranks.

Lawmakers in some states are saying enough is enough. It’s time, they insist, to take on a more aggressive role in regulating the $85 billion industry.

“It’s the number one constituent issue in my district,” said Missouri state Rep. Bryan Spencer, a Republican from Wentzville, near St. Louis. “This is basic property owner rights. It’s a fundamental right that we should have as Americans.” Read more:

NATIONAL – Are HOA Dues Making Real Estate Unaffordable?

THE MORTGAGE REPORTS:  Are HOA Dues Making Real Estate Unaffordable?
By Peter Miller
December 15, 2016

HOA Dues Don’t Make The News — But Maybe They Should

When mortgage rates move a quarter percent in any direction, that’s big news. But lurking in the background are fees for homeowners associations. (HOA dues). Don’t overlook them.

HOA dues are an expense that can sink many loan applications and derail personal finances. This is especially true for first-time buyers and those with marginal finances.

Who Really Owns Your Home?

The world of real estate ownership can be divided into two flavors: properties which are owned “fee simple” (you own your building and land) and those under a homeowner or condo association.

With fee simple ownership, you can do what you want with the property. Just work within the limits of zoning and local laws.

If you want to paint the place orange, that’s fine. If you want a big American flag out front, or a 120-pound dog inside, that’s not only okay, it’s nobody else’s business.  Read more:

TEXAS – Legislature May Address HOA Foreclosure Issues in Upcoming Session

REPORTING TEXAS:  Legislature May Address HOA Foreclosure Issues in Upcoming Session
By Hojun Choi
December 02, 2016

The Texas Legislature may make another run in the 2017 session at curbing the powers of homeowner associations. The likely focus: restricting the ability of associations to hit homeowners who commit even minor violations of community rules with attorney fees that can reach the tens of thousands of dollars and potentially lead to foreclosures.

State Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, the chairman of the House Committee on Business and Industry, said his committee began looking into homeowner association issues this past summer at the request of Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio.

Oliveira said in an email to Reporting Texas that in the past several sessions, the committee “has debated many bills where people felt homeowners associations had overstepped their bounds.  For example, people complained when some HOAs banned political signs in people’s yards. They complained when some HOAs banned flying the American flag in front a houses. They complained when some HOAs would not permit solar panels to be put on houses. The list goes on and on.”  Read more:

TEXAS – Schertz neighborhood threatens lawsuit against developer over high HOA fees

San Antonio Express-News:  Schertz neighborhood threatens lawsuit against developer over high HOA fees
By Richard Webner
November 18, 2016
Residents of a neighborhood in Schertz are threatening to sue local developer Chris Price, who they say has hoarded control of their homeowners association, hiked their annual fees and used the proceeds to build another master-planned community. In the past two years, annual homeowners fees have almost doubled, to $540 from $275, at Sedona, a modest neighborhood of 169 homes that’s mostly quiet except for the occasional roar of a jet from nearby Joint Base San AntonioRandolph.
Residents don’t see where the money has gone — their drainage ditches are inadequate, causing streets and backyards to flood during storms, they say. A small park is poorly maintained, with rocks tumbling off a water fountain that hasn’t worked for years. Read more: