Please let us know where you stand on the HOA issues of “agreement to be governed” and “consent to obey.” If the following Truth in HOAs Disclosure Agreement were required to be signed at the time of purchase, would you sign or not sign your waiver and surrender of your rights and give you explicit consent to be governed?
Homeowner Association (HOA)
Buyer “Truth in HOAs” Disclosure
Consent to be Governed Agreement
By my signature below, I , the undersigned Buyer, have read and understood the restrictions imposed upon me by law and the courts as a member of an HOA, and have agreed to the waiver and/or surrender of my rights explicitly contained below. All other rights not expressly prohibited below or expressly granted below to the HOA are retained by me.
I, the undersigned Buyer, and the undersigned HOA by its President, hereby acknowledge and consent to the following:
(a) that the declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), the bylaws, and any written rules and regulations are treated as binding private contracts by the courts; and that to enforce my rights under or compliance with the governing documents I must file suit in civil court, and that such a civil suit involves no state agency official, attorney general, or county attorney ;
(b) that under current court holdings, I am legally bound by any and all amendment to these documents validly enacted in accordance with the governing documents, with or without my vote or consent, provided that they are found not to be unreasonable, contrary to public policy or unconstitutional; and that an amendment may alter the CC&Rs at the time of purchase, binding me to
the amendment without my consent;
(c) that under current law, there are no substantive penalties against violations of the governing documents or state laws by the officers or directors of the association sufficient to serve as a detriment to future violations;
(d) that the association (HOA), as a private entity and not an arm of the state, is not subject to the restrictions and prohibitions of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution that otherwise protects the rights of the people against actions by public government entities; and that the governing documents in all legal practicality serve as the subdivision’s “constitution,” taking precedence over
state laws and the state and US Constitutions, unless specifically denied by any such laws or legal precedence;
(e) that the governing documents contain due process protections, in instances of alleged violations of the governing documents, that are less than as required under public laws and civil court procedures, that are lacking requirements for an independent tribunal, such as the right to introduce or confront witnesses, or the right to introduce and challenge contrary evidence;
(f) that in any dispute with the HOA, and contrary my rights under the federal fair debts collection practices act (FDCPA), the courts require continued payment of your assessments even while the dispute continues;
(g) that there are no equivalent clean or fair elections procedures as found in public government elections, to protect the integrity of the HOA election process; and
(h) that the practicable ability to institute member “initiatives” and make changes to the governing documents or ACC rules is highly dependent upon the active participation of my neighbors who, as a member of an HOA, have been described as indifferent and apathetic; and that there are no provisions for HOA board “referendums” on issues that ethically should be put to a vote of the members.
24 thoughts on “Truth in HOAs disclosure poll — please vote your conscience”
I am in an HOA and I curse the day we moved into a house that is under the “protection” of one of these fraudulent organizations!! They are akin to Timeshare properties – an absolute NIGHTMARE!! I have been harassed and threatened for 2 years now over something I am not doing and all because a couple of neighbours who don’t like me are in “cahoots” with the board of directors and LIED to them!!! They blame ME for geese being in the neighbourhood, as though I can control the geese, even though our we are surrounded by ponds, lakes, etc. I did feed a nesting goose and her mate of the neighbourhood pond (the geese were obviously there LONG before I fed them anything) and I received a letter saying NOT to feed them. I stopped!! After that, the geese that were ALREADY ROAMING THE NEIGHBOURHOOD, would stop at my fence AND other’s fences and lawns, etc. yet they continued to lie and say I was feeding them at my back fence, which I was NOT. I received a letter threatening to fine me if I didn’t stop feeding them. I sent a letter back telling the I CAN’T STOP DOING WHAT I AM NOT DOING, etc. I never heard from them after that and then ONE year later (Aug 2012), I get yet another letter stating the same garbage!! It is slander and harassment!! I told them AGAIN that I am NOT feeding the geese and I sent them pictures showing the geese grazing at OTHER PEOPLE’S fences and lawns!! This was a week ago and so far no response! I am getting sick of wondering when they will start again; when the next letter will come in the mailbox!! Had we known what we were getting into, we would NOT have moved here. The papers you sign are so long and full of legal language and I would imagine most people don’t read the long, drawn out papers with the small print, etc. Realtors do not tell you what you are getting into either and they HAVE to know. They are more interested in selling the property! I wish we could afford to move and if/when we do, I will feel guilty not telling the new owners what they are getting into, but if we would want to sell at that time, then we can’t be too specific. Of course, I would not outright lie. I would just hope they don’t ask. However, preferably, I am really hoping something will be done about the laws governing these CRIMINALS!!!
These Associations are built to take money from people and make them prisoners in their own homes!
I had no inkling of what an HOA was, much less that I was giving up my rights to do so much as plant a flower or place a flower bed border.
At signing, I was literally told there were some rules to ‘keep cars off blocks’ and so that no one let their place go- sounded fine to me.
I never dreamed I was not protected by law from the draconian nightmare that our HOA turned out to be. It was surreal.
We still own a 3 story home in HOA hell – but would live under a bridge before even thinking about living there. Or any other HOA. Trying to unload the HOA – blighted home has been the challenge of the past 3 years.
Disclosure? What’s that? The CCR’s dropped on the porch a few weeks later, full of legalese? Or was it the first of a dozen threatening letters, false accusations from a hired property manager, me herding my little girls in the house because I thought the guy sitting in a truck watching us might be a pervert?
No, shamefully it took me awhile to understand what we’d gotten into…and ultimately a lawsuit for 6 figures for an ‘unapproved’ flower bed border (identical to dozens of others).
The ‘disclosure’ we got was the gradual discovery that we’d made a horrible mistake letting the realtor gloss over the ‘car on blocks’ bit – but who knew? It was my 3rd home too – I was just lucky I hadn’t been sucked into one before. Nice that I kept my innocence for that long, haha.
Being in med school then working 70+ hours a week kept me from really keeping up with events as one would assume a doctor would have I guess…But where is the consumer protection I assumed that I had? Because letting me buy into something with no understanding – certainly that’s someone’s function?
Dr. Judith COrey
The whole concept of HOAs, particularly in Florida, is an OPEN INVITATION to commit financial fraud at every turn! It sets up a “cash cow” for developers to dip into at will, and many developers in this current housing collapse have no new orders, no current income, and they are illegally using monthly fees NOT for the purpose for which they are collected–the actual maintenance costs for common areas–but are diverting them to their personal bank account and supporting their personal expenses, and that is fraud! There is absolutely no check and balance, no oversight of where the money is going, and in many cases the clubhouse, etc. are in a state of neglect. The record of fraud, embezzlement, abuse of power to persecute one’s neighbors, falsification of financial records speaks for itself! And where are the regulatory agencies of the state of Florida? Stonewalling any responsiblity to enforce the condo and HOA laws, period! And every legislative “reform” bill they pass only makes the situation worse for the homeowners who are being robbed blind by developers who are illegally squatting in the HOA community long past their buildout, clinging to their (in my case, $1.7M of gravy in the form of fees) lucrative cash cow, an outrageous violation of FS 720–which is happening all over Florida. And NO help is on the way for these hapless owners! Oh yes, you can sell–at 1/3 or of the price you paid for the property! This developer (the Zacco clan) is committing ongoing fraud to the State of Florida, fraudulently representing a functioning HOA exists in my community, when there IS NO HOA. No meetings, no elections, no minutes on file, no audit of the financial expenditures, no accountability or transparency whatever. No elected board, no signs anywhere of a Homeowners’ Association. And this scam has been ongoing for approx. 16 years. I say: throw the baby OUT with the bathwater, end any mandatory membership or mandatory fees for any resident of an HOA community. If an owner is willing and physically able to actually use the amenities–he/she will join, without any coercion. The FL statutes badly need gutting to restore property owners’ rights and to remove the opportunity for the fraud and abuse that are rife in this state RIGHT NOW! Are our legislators listening? After all, WE are their constituents, not to powerful builder/developer lobby! Are they going to wait until these HOA communities are virtual ghost towns? We shall see.
At HUD’s Immigrant Housing Conference held in Omaha, NE on April 14, 2011, HUD asked for anyone in the public to speak about new forms of discrimination they were seeing in the market place. We stated that HOA Board’s were simply the new white sheet of anonimoty that bigots/racisists love to operate behind; HOA Board’s are totally unregulated. Just because HOA Board’s are totally unregulated, that does not give them the right to violate Federal Fair Housing laws. Our case investigation is still proceeding, we hope for new case law precedence to help curb these unethical attorney’s enthusiasm.
That such a high percentage of people say they would never sign such an agreement, even though they actually do agree to such terms when they purchase a home in an association-controlled community, means one thing: like Vicki commented, “the general public is completely unaware that they are waiving their Rights.”
So the solution to the problem is education. But how do we get the word out — widely?
Spread the word! As an email signature or addition, place the following code —
Please participate in The ‘Truth in HOAs’ poll, if you have not already done so. http://tinyurl.com/698kwm8
Share this link on your blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
The HOA where I have an aircraft hanger is run by a group of school yard bullies. There has been close to 1 millions dollars paid to attorneys on both sides of the fense. People opposing the HOA been accused of various crimes and arrested. Most times without warrants several days after the alledged offense. Most times the charges are dropped but since they were arrested late in day they were unable to make bond and spent the night in jail. Several of these bullies have serious criminal convictions in their past but the local law enforcement keeps taking their word for everything. I am very surprised that no one has been hurt.
The HOA’s have too much power and should be reined in.
To allow an HOA into an existing neighborhood where a large majority of homes are completely owned by residents, then you are a co-owner with strangers who now have a hand in your pocket.
We spent trillions of dollars for wars to impose our democratic values on other nations but we voluntarily give them up right in our own back yards. This is mostly due to ignorance or indifference until we butt heads with the neighborhood Nazis and/or their sleazy lawyers.
Can I have an ‘amen’? You nail it in 2 sentences.
Hi George, HOAs residents are a unique not-for-everyone product. Unfortunately for we housing consumers, consumers have been offered this item when seeking to purchase a residence whether they made the determination that assuming the obligations of membership we an appropriate choice for themselves or if such a choice was not an appropriate one.
HOAs should be listed for sale with the words MEMBERSHIP PROPERTY within the first five words of any advertisement or under a category clearly labeled MEMBERSHIP PROPERTY.
Kathy, You are correct HOA’s are not for everyone, the problem is it is a flawed system without disclosures regarding the full truth about HOA’s. There are laws in place that don’t apply, this is the perfect storm for disaster and this is a national problem. I never signed a waiver that said I would agree to have my rights taken away, do you honestly believe that people would agree to this? if they knew this in the beginning do you think people would buy into this form of so called membership? Membership Property, does not fully disclose anything, so I don’t agree with this, full disclosure and a signed waiver and both parties agreeing to the whole contract, if not and we can’t regulate them and hold them to your constitutional rights then they should disappear. The only benefit is the money makers, CAI and IALC in my state. I just paid for lobbying efforts for these two groups in a Lake Holiday Case in IL. Residents had no clue in the meeting what was going on, Where does it state that my dues are to be used for this, the answer was, where does it state that they don’t? I think they just need to go away. $1,000 donation from all large corporations and $250 from small corporations so they can overturn a judgement, and file an Amicus Brief. A judgement that favored the homeowner, and they didn’t like it. (The case was an out of control security guard) We have enough issues with out public safety they surely don’t need more power when they can’t even handle residents coming through the gates without an attitude that I own you.
The general public is completely unaware that they are waiving their Rights…..I think they believe that the LAW preserves their rights as Americans….If they were aware that any contract can be made that says “anything “……..and that by signing this contract they are in essence giving permission to be ruled as in any undemocratic society …giving up the rights that have been so precious and have cost so much in american sacrifice would never happen.
If the myth that HOA’s protect property values could be wiped out by the truth and the actual cost of owning a home in an HOA could be revealed ,,,,,maybe those persons that care nothing about their property rights could be moved by the financial benefit . It is such a shame that most of our generation seems to only care about the money…..I would like to ask them what their HOA has done to protect their property values during this downturn in property values????
To paraphrase a blog comment: To buy into an HOA is to co-sign a note with strangers.