Note: As you read this commentary, please keep in mind the serious revelations of wrong-doing in HOA-Land: in Nevada, in California with corrupt judges, in Arizona where the case files on charges against an HOA attorney for aiding and abetting have been sealed, and in those states with consumer “pacifier” ombudsmen who accomplish very little. Many will blame the government, and ignore the role played by the HOA member in allowing such activities to happen with such ease. The Privatization Scale shows an attitude that can be described as an irrational fear of, “Don’t make waves otherwise the government will take my HOA away.”
HOA Privatization Scale
Having spent a few years in this arena of homeowner associations, I’ve come up with a scale to help define where a person stands on the status and acceptance of HOAs. This is based on the attitudes and statements made by the person and will be helpful in understanding and communicating with him.
I chose a scale based on the degree of privatization that is acceptable to the HOA member; that is, how strongly does the person identify and accept the level of privatization in one’s life and home and the intrusion into one’s privacy by HOA boards. There are 5 classifications:
1. REVOLUTIONARY – This person sees HOAs as an anomaly to the American way of life and beliefs, and operating outside the laws of the land. The HOA model must be completely revised or removed.
2. REFORMER— This person generally accepts the HOA legal model and powers of the HOA as granted by the CC&Rs, and permitted by the state governments. He only wants the board to change its ways to conform to his views. He’s primarily concerned about his own local problem.
3. COMPLACENT — He is the person who is content with his HOA, only seeing “personal” aspects of the HOA’s powers and functions; that is, the HOA keeps the community neat and clean, provides amenities, etc. This person does not understand the broader issues surrounding HOAs. There are no problems with the board, just those homeowners who don’t comply. The board does a good job.
4. TEAM PLAYER — This person understands the private nature of the HOA, but prefers it and the sanctions against members. He primarily is concerned about the quality and value of his community. A believer in private clubs and their restrictions, and a person’s right to associate with whom he pleases. He does not let violations of fundamental principles and laws affect him.
5. TRUE BELIEVER — This person is a power player who understands that the HOA private organization structure, with the lack of government enforcement against HOA board violators, offers an opportunity to control and to dominate. Enforcement is necessary to protect property values. What’s good for him is good for the community. Most horror stories can be found here.
The graph shows a normal distribution curve and the percentages of the people within each segment. As can be seen, I have shifted the Complacent category to the left. It signifies a preference by HOA members in favor of acceptance of the HOA legal concept, beyond an unbiased expectation. That is, all things being equal, as I’ve tried to accomplish with the scale, category 3 should fall in the center of the graph.
In the normal course of things, those at the extremes, the Revolutionaries and True Believers, are the most proactive and vocal segments, but not in equal strengths of being active. The right-side has been more vocal and influential.
From my many years of direct involvement in the HOA reform movement and my research and study into social and political reform movements, the environment and conditions necessary for substantive reforms to occur are not even on the horizon. Token reforms will occur here and here, and some have brought substantive changes like the OAH adjudication of HOA disputes in Arizona, and the prohibition on foreclosing just for HOA fines. Sadly, though, many substantive reform bills have been repeatedly rejected by state legislatures.
As long as reformer-advocates continue to accept the legitimacy of the HOA legal scheme — not wrongful or unlawful — they have rejected their most powerful weapon in their battle to achieve substantive reforms. And in doing so, they have allowed their very powerful oppressors to sit as equals at the bargaining table. The outcome is, and can only be, as expected and as demonstrated historically.
ASSERT YOUR RIGHTS AS A CITIZEN
REJECT THE HOA CONSTITUTION
Send the HOA Member Declaration of Citizenship to your legislators!