“The times, they are a changin”
When state legislators allow private government HOAs to be unaccountable to state laws as required by all other government entities, then an attitude that anything goes develops. Why? Because there are no penalties to serve as a check and balance on HOA activities. It creates a lawless attitude of, “Go for it, what do you have to lose?” It creates a dysfunctional society.
It is commonly known that state legislators have a blind adherence to the false belief that HOAs do no wrong, and that there is no need for HOA penalties to serve as detriments to intentional and willful violations of the laws. State legislators continue to believe that homeowners are openly and fully informed when accepting a deed binding them to an unsigned contract; and that the HOA and its special interest attorney national organization are acting in good faith.
State legislators continue to believe that the HOAs and their hired hands, the management firms and attorneys, will comply with both the letter and intent of state laws, rather than seeking loopholes for income producing court cases. Such dogmatic beliefs have created a dysfunctional society operating outside constitutional government under a second set of laws just for HOA subdivisions.
And we know where this can and has led to: financial and emotional stress and even deaths attributed to the enforcement of HOA rules uber alles (German for “above all”). The latest shocking incident, after the Trayvon Martin incident (HOA liability: respondeat superior and agents as in Trayvon case), is the incident reported in the Sun-Sentinel article, “Parking at home shouldn’t bring tow — or death.”
Ask yourself why do towing companies roam the streets towing cars in private communities without obeying the laws, or without getting a complaint from the HOA? BECAUSE they can and because the HOA really doesn’t care — its rules are being enforced by someone else. And there are no penalties against HOA boards violating their own governing documents. The HOA is the sovereign, and it can do no wrong!
However, there is hope. An indication of a return to sanity comes from the Republican Party’s realization that its obsessive adherence to dogmatic principles of laissez-faire corporatism has been a failure. (HOAs are a prime example of corporatism in operation in America). Republicans are beginning to think in terms of less dogma but a more principled “protecting private property,” always a fundamental principle of this country. It stands in opposition to socialist states operating for the benefit of the corporation and not for the rights of the people.
State legislators should take heed. They have created a dysfunctional society with their unreasonable and irrational support of authoritarian HOA regimes. It’s well beyond time for an awakening, enlightenment, in their views of authoritarian HOA private regimes.