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An Opinion By Jan Bergemann
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc. — Published March 22, 2014
Like every good dictator the ladies of the Broward Coalition board oppose oversight and fair elections. They are obviously afraid that they could no longer ignore or violate Florida statutes or that fair elections with real secret ballots would get other owners elected. The fun part: In their letter opposing Senator Hays’ bill they more or less openly admit why they are against the bill: “We just want to continue to break Florida
laws without having to fear any punishment.” Sounds to me like bank robbers pleading not to be punished for robbing a bank! Make no mistake: Some HOA board members do a lot more financial damage than all the bank robbers in Florida!
I’ve heard it so many times. “I don’t gamble.” “I’m too tight with my money to gamble.” “I wouldn’t know how to gamble.” “The thought of gambling scares me because I’ve worked hard for my money.” All spoken by people who own property in a homeowners association.
Personally, I’ve gambled one time in my life at a Reno casino. I dropped $20 in a nickel slot machine and won. I collected my winnings and walked straight out the front door. I don’t gamble. Or so I thought I didn’t.
I’ve come to the realization that I’m an insane gambler. Why? I bought a townhouse in an HOA! I took a far greater risk than if I’d flown to Las Vegas, Atlantic City, or back to Reno and just threw down three hundred thousand dollars on the craps table and rolled the dice. Goodness, with a stroke of luck I could have walked out a millionaire…or maybe a multi-millionaire, but for sure I would have come out in no worse shape than I am in my HOA. Read more: http://neighborsatwar.com/2014/02/greatest-risks-owning-hoa-casino-gambling/
IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY and REPUBLICAN PARTY
VISION FOR AMERICA, LOOK AT H.O.A.s
In Colorado, there are an estimated 12,000 – 15,000 H.O.A. corporations, governing the homes of 1 million to 2 million Coloradans. Nationwide, there are 300,000 H.O.A. corporations, governing more than 60 million Americans who pay $50 billion (with a “b”) in H.O.A. dues per year. It is an enormous industry. H.O.A. corporations are among the least regulated businesses in America. Consumer protections rules are non-existent or not enforced. Embezzlement and other financial crimes are occurring in epidemic proportions. And American home owners have been losing their 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th Amendment rights under the “repressive libertarianism” guise of contract law, because H.O.A.s are private governments corporations not bound by the United States Constitution.
For decades, municipalities have been requiring the creation of H.O.A. corporations as a condition of granting building permits to developers. The local governments get to collect taxes for goods and services – e.g., road maintenance, utilities, trash removal, open space, recreational facilities, etc. – that they no longer provide. As a result, homeowners in H.O.A.s end up being double-taxed; once by the government and again by their H.O.A. corporation. The growth of H.O.A.s has been supply-driven to benefit developers and governments, not
demand-driven by consumers.
Two-thirds of H.O.A. residents have a negative view of H.O.A.s, with 1/5 saying they “have been in what they call a ‘war’ with their H.O.A.” These are tens of millions of Americans, a large constituency that has been ignored by our policy-makers and pundits. Yet “free-marketeers” have nothing but praise for H.O.A.s, lauding them as a desirable model of corporate governance by private contract. Something is obviously wrong with their socio-economic theories.
For years, our legislators have been offering the illusion of reform, deferring to H.O.A. corporations instead of individual home owners, while doing nothing to remove the perverse incentives and moral hazards built into the collective ownership of your private property. H.O.A. boards engage in destructive litigation against their involuntary members for trivial amounts and reasons, hiding behind the corporate veil, collecting and spending other people’s money to use against them. Meanwhile, Community Associations Institute (C.A.I.) attorneys
profit greatly by feeding off of American home owners. “It’s called capitalism. It’s the free market,” they say.
It has long been the official position of the Republican Party that contracts requiring membership in a labor union as a condition of employment should be outlawed, both at the state and federal levels. It is time to extend that same protection to American home owners, and prohibit mandatory membership in an H.O.A. corporation as a condition of home ownership. Making home owners pay dues to be “represented” by an organization they disagree with is hardly fair or just.
For a the full version of this document with cited references click: If You Want to See a Vision of America
This song sums up life in some POA properties. The download is well worth it! Click: One Way Ticket to Hell
Most states do not require any type of education for Property Managers. (See what your state requires.) There are more licensing requirements for that “roach coach” to sell you a hot dog on the street than there are licensing requirements for a property manager. It is hard to believe that property managers are permitted to work without a license of any kind in an industry that is subject to state and federal regulations and fraught with tremendous potential for harm if performed improperly.
The list of complaints and problems by those who live in POAs/COAs/HOAs is endless. Just look at all of the examples that are listed on this site. What is captured on this site is just a small sampling from those who live within these deed-restricted communities. Many of these problems could be avoided if property managers were required to be educated and licensed.
Here is one example of why proper training and licensing is important. There are state and federal laws that supersede any rules written by an HOA. Do your DCR’s have a requirement that any TV dishes must not be located on your roof or must be completely screened from view. This is a common DCR requirement. However, the rule (47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000) has been in effect since October 1996, and it prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming. The rule applies to video antennas including direct-to-home satellite dishes that are less than one meter (39.37″) in diameter (or of any size in Alaska), TV antennas, and wireless cable antennas. The rule prohibits most restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal. This rule trumps any DCR restriction. Install your 1 m diameter dish anywhere on your property, visible or not, the HOA cannot dictate where you put it. So why, when the restriction is illegal to begin with, do violation letters go out to residents demanding that the offender move the dish or face fines and a lawsuit? For that matter, why are illegal rules still allowed to exist in the restrictive covenants?
Many other professionals – engineers, attorneys, and accountants – need to be licensed and continue their education, so why not property managers? Property managers are professionals who should be held to a standard of education, continuing education, ethics and management. Property managers need to earn their titles on a business card and demonstrate a basic knowledge. Property managers need to be aware of all laws, state and federal, as well as a general background in real estates and property operations so they can properly guide the volunteer HOA/POA/COA boards. A professional board for property managers also needs to be established to allow residents to file complaints about property managers and HOA/POA/COA boards who operate outside of the law.
Time to adopt laws that require standards for property managers and property management companies to ensure that their advice and guidance of volunteer boards is within the laws and dedicatory instruments that govern associations.