Floridians reject public policy protecting HOAs/Condos from accountability

 

The Florida homeowner advocacy organization, Cyber Citizens for Justice,[i] published its survey results pertaining to 14 legislative reforms.  Among the reforms, an overwhelming

  

 

 

 

 
  1.  93% want a bona fide, fee-based regulatory agency with enforcement powers,
  2. 96% wanted to see more HOA accountability (liabilities and civil penalties),
  3. 90% for  election reforms (following FS 718.112(2d)),
  4. 85% for records request enforcement (subpoena powers),
  5. 96% for lien/foreclosure protections (necessary notice), and
  6. 90% for extension developer regulation (liability for failure to disclose; restriction on powers).

 

Extensive details are provided, including an excellent analysis by Dr. David I. Goldenberg. A description of the “interests” of the  participants and the Florida regions are provided for determinations of bias and general Florida population representation.

 

It is not surprising that this homeowner advocacy survey is in complete opposition to the “satisfaction” surveys by the national lobbying trade organization, Community Associations Institute (CAI) of 1999 and 2005/2007.  It is  consistent with prior homeowner advocacy surveys by the National Coalition for Homeowner Rights[ii] in 2002 (conducted by this writer), and by AHRC in 2006.  The quick response is that the other guy is all wrong.  Or, in my opinion, the respondents for each side are reflections of segments of the general HOA populations; that is, the bulk of homeowners in HOAs are “satisfied”, but there is also a segment that is not satisfied, and has suffered grievous harm and has raised legitimate concerns. 

 

Being “satisfied” does not speak to the systemic ills of the HOA legal structure.   It may simply mean that the respondent was not affected by the loss of his rights, and does not speak to the future if and when such circumstances fall upon him. It may be that the advocacy respondents did indeed suffer from the denial of their rights and freedoms.  Does that mean that the inequities of the HOA society should be ignored by the majority?  That these inequities are “collateral damage” for a greater American society?  Does this make for healthy and vibrant communities?  And where is the state in all of this? Why hasn’t the state protected one faction against the evils of a more powerful faction?

 

Being in a minority group, for arguments sake, does not make you wrong.  Being in a majority group does not make you right or grant the right to deny constitutional freedoms and protections as applicable to all homeowners, but voiced by the minority. 

 

Should the legislators in Florida, and in every other state, ignore these serious constitutional questions centering on the equal application of the laws and due process?  In order to constitutionally do so, the legislatures must demonstrate a compelling and necessary justification for denying its citizens the rights and privileges under the US and state constitutions.  Rather, we see a “general interest”, if any such expression is provided, of the government to protect HOAs that deny homeowners their rights and freedoms.  Rather, we see legislatures supporting, cooperating with, and coercing homeowners into accepting these HOA private governments.  There is no excuse for the delegation of legislative functions, not services, to private HOA governments without constitutional protections. 

 

What the legislature cannot directly do under the Constitution they cannot indirectly do by delegating  to a private government, the HOA.  Not if America is to remain the America of our Founding Fathers.  If indeed this occurs, and it is occurring today, then we are establishing a New America[iii] of HOA-lands.

 

As in the case of that minority of Americans whose repeated petitions for a redress of grievances was answered only by repeated injury in 1776, this CCFJ survey represents a petition for the redress of grievances that cannot go unheard without causing repeated injury.  It is time for the Florida Legislature, and every other state legislature, to take heed and address the mistakes of the past.

 

See the attitudes of HOA attorneys and directors towards homeowners’ rights by viewing excerpts from the Florida House Select committee hearings in Tampa, FL. Click on “FL Select” videos.


[ii] Summary results,  http://pvtgov.org/pvtgov/downloads/poll1_sum.pdf (small internet survey).

[iii] See Establishing the New America of independent HOA principalities by George K. Staropoli,  http://starman.com/starpub.

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Published in: on October 1, 2008 at 10:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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