Professor Gary Solomon held his seminar describing a collection of physical and emotional disorders collective named, the HOA Syndrome.i In the Las Vegas FOX5 News coverage of the eventii, Solomon said “dealing with a homeowners association is enough to cause physical and emotional harm, including stress, anger, fear and paranoia.” He added, “Harass the neighbors enough, keep them in line and set them up with fine after fine after fine.”
It may be a surprie to some, but this is not new stuff. Viewing these same symptoms from a legal standpoint, Donie Vanitizian, JD, wrote about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in her 2002 book, Villa Appalling!iii Part II of this 519 page book is devoted to these issues and the causes of these issues. Examples include:
“Toxic Turmoil – “Because there is no viable means for homeowners to express their frustrations with the conditions under which they are forced to live, they are plagued with acute stress. . . . With no government agency interested in their plight or the problems created by these developments in general, homeowners are left to their own devices.” (p. 225).
Vanitizian goes on to say that, Homeowners very foolishly trust that board members automatically have a ‘conscience.’ They don’t. Homeowners blindly look to the association as a ‘figurehead’ that somehow oversees that justice and truth prevail. It doesn’t.” (p. 233).
As expected, denials came from association managers who are at the heart of the HOA Syndrome, as HOA boards defer the operation of the HOA to these persons. In a statement by one manager, speaking about the homeowners, we see the truth of the matter when the manager states, “Homeowners shouldn’t complain because they knew what they were buying into. You know what the expectations are.” This a frank admission of the oppression and intimidation caused by HOAs that produce anxiety, fear, emotional stress, and the obvious loss of one’s home and financial conditions. Does this person really believe that Americans are demented and masochistic, relishing injuries to be inflicted upon them? And freely, openly, and willing accept these conditions while giving their home as collateral to the survival of the HOA, and forgoing any semblance of due process protections for the greater glory of the HOA? Really!
I ask this manager and all managers, especially those trained by the national HOA “educator” Community Associations Institute, CAI, “How come you by this falsehood?” This attitude reflects a “You’re damn right we consider the harsh, unjust strict enforcement of arbitrary rules as the way of life in an HOA.” Most of these so-called professionals do not understand the origins and intentions of the profit-seeking individuals who created this legal scheme, where these authoritarian and draconian methods were necessary for the survival of this new, untried approach to housing in 1964. And is still carried forward today where state legislators see no evils with authoritarian, private governments protected by state legislation — no enforcement by means of penalties for HOA board violations, but the homeowner can lose everything — and operating outside constitutional protections. The HOA, for some unstated government interest, must survive and the Constitution can be denied when necessary!
So, what do HOA boards and managers have to fear if they are unethical, violate state laws, and are grossly unjust and arbitrary in their dealings with their members? A slap on the wrist, maybe, if the homeowner is principled enough to spend his time and money just to get the HOA to do what it’s supposed to do. Apparently, our government doesn’t think that the compliance by private government HOAs with their statutory and contractual obligations is not a matter of general public concern. Apparently, they, too, believe in a masochistic and demented American population who cherish living under such conditions and need no protections.
Welcome to the New America of HOA-Lands.iv
i See “Psychologist defines the HOA Syndrome caused by oppressive HOAs”, HOA Constitutional Government, October 7, 2010.
iii Villa Appalling! – Destroying the Myth of Affordable Community Living, Donie Vanitizian and Stephen Glassman (Villa Appalling Publishing, Inc 2002).