Book review of CAI attorney’s “New Neighborhoods”

New Neighborhoods: The Consumer’s Guide to Condominium, Co-op, and HOA Living, Gary A. Poliakoff & Ryan Poliakoff, Emerald Book Co., 2009 


I am sorry to have to say that this book, while explaining life in HOA-land for those who have already accepted communal living,  reflects the group think mentality of those who believe in the HOA legal scheme.    It continues the myth that homeowners associations are good for America, good for the municipality, and good for their members, but  fails dismally to mention or to discuss the inherent defects of the legal scheme or the broad powers that were “granted” to  the HOA board, often exceeding the purchaser’s reasonable expectations of board authority. 

As examples of the failure, a quick presentation of substantial HOA issues of constitutionality reveals the following.  In chapter 3 the AARP Bill of Rights for Homeowners is presented, giving the impression that “so let it be written so let it be done” is a fact.  It isn’t, and substantive legislation to make it happen has been repeatedly opposed by the special interests.   In chapter 4 the authors give the illusion that the HOA is like a public government since the CC&RS are referred to as “contractual constitutions” with “private laws”, very important issues with serious consequences that are not fully discussed.  Happily, the “constructive notice” acceptance of these “contracts” is mentioned, but not its unjust application to the loss of one’s rights. 

While the authors attempt to clarify the workings of an HOA and to reassure existing members that their decision was a good one, it seriously fails to accomplish its stated goal: to educate purchasers as to the total picture of HOA living.  It fails to present the serious consequences and harm that can befall good people “who [unknowingly] give up certain traditional homeowner rights for the good of the community.”   Readers should constantly compare the operation of HOAs with the operation of public governments to determine what has been lost.  Do not assume that  the good people on the board will do justice as you are familiar with in public government, without a legal, contractual, binding requirement to do so.

Read the full evaulation book review at Neighborhoods.

Published in: on September 24, 2009 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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