What HOA issues are appropriate for federal intervention?

In my comment (see PVTGOV comment) to Evan McKenzie’s post in his Privatopia Papers blog, Las Vegas HOA corruption probe continues,  (February 26, 2013) I supported McKenzie’s opinion that congressional hearings on HOAs was in order.  In North Carolina and Nevada several homeowner rights advocates felt the same and Norm McCullough contacted Nevada Congressman Joe Heck, who responded on April 22 with,

 I can certainly understand and appreciate your frustrations. Since HOAs are governed by local or state law rather than federal, it would be best to contact your state assemblyman or state senator and local county officials with your comments.

Please be assured that I will keep your comments in mind should this issue be brought to the attention of the House of Representatives for legislative action.

A careful reading of the first paragraph above leads to the obvious: “Not my problem. See your legislators” (my words).  However, he extends hope for homeowners in the second paragraph above, “If HOA issues get here, I’ll remember what you wrote” (my words).  Congratulations to Norm.

Well, just what are federal issues aside from constitutional issues that abound with HOAs?  Let’s take a look at some other recognizable federal laws or “acts”.  There’s the Americans With Disabilities Act, Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, Truth in Lending, Truth in Advertising, Right to Work, etc. all of which deal with practices within an industry that cross state lines.  These are the nationwide practices that need the broad reach of the federal government.  And all the above resulted from abuse against the consumer by the respective industry.  With HOAs, we have very strong legitimate arguments pertaining to constitutional violations that amount to state actions in all states.

If advocates wish to be effective at the national level, they must rise above HOA operational concerns and address issues of national import.  They must be able to understand and deal with these fundamental issues of democratic governance. 

And they must accept the fact that since 1973 CAI has been the aggressive protagonist for the HOA legal scheme or structure that is offensive to our principles of democratic government.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I did not Sign nor was I offered the opportunity to sign any legal document that provided proof I received or was aware of any and all legal requirements of CC&Rs, nor was I given a personal copy of these documents when I purchased my condo from a previous owner some 15 years ago. I thing this is not only an egregious and illegal act but an unconstitutional one in the highest degree of the rule of law we proclaim to (abide?) by! I can’t remember any mention at all of the CC&Rs, the enormous legal ramifications they entail for the unsuspecting purchaser, when signing the enormous amount of required documents at loan’s closing. I now consider this an outrageous denial of my consumer rights and privacy protection guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution! Of course, I know this varies state by state and I’m no lawyer, but I ask why can’t this be challenged and changed in a court of law? I live in California, always considered the most liberal state of all 50!

  2. But what do you do when the Federal court remands your claims of violation (FHA,ADA) to state court? Seems the federal courts want nothing to with claims against HOA’s…

  3. […] privatopia.blogspot.com:  What HOA issues are appropriate for federal intervention? | HOA Constitutional Government […]

  4. A big Thank you to Mr Staropoli for focusing some attention on the atrocious HOA laws in Nevada.

    The State has an “On Line” Common Interest manual that describes the Hierarchy of laws as follows.

    ‘———————————————————————-

    Beyond their own internal governance, HOAs must abide by all the same federal, state and local laws as any other entity. Regardless of the governing documents, an association may not adopt a policy or rule that conflicts with any applicable law.

    Federal law, beginning with the U.S. Constitution, takes precedence above all. There are some federal laws that are of special importance including the Fair Housing acts, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. These are addressed in greater detail in Chapter 17 – Government Services.

    ‘———————————————————————-

    Beautiful words ON PAPER but not factual. It seems that the Nevada Legislature has never officially adopted the Common Interest Manual so “anything goes”. The HOA industry (lawyers etc) like it that way, so THEY violate the Nevadan’s Federal rights when ever THEY feel it’s appropriate. (He/She) had it coming. One of their favorite tricks is to have a co-conspirator make a charge against a resident. Following that the Nevada Law allows the Association to hold a “Hearing” (Kangaroo Court), and then fine (or sentence) the targeted resident. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

    THEY defend this atrocious behavior by declaring that the resident was fully informed when they purchased their home in an HOA that they were giving up their rights.

    Norman McCullough


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