Are there vibrant, competent, harmonious HOAs?

Community Associations Institute (CAI), is a national trade organization that claims it is dedicated to fostering vibrant, competent, harmonious community associations. I am well aware of HOAs that do not have any signs of abuse or rogue boards, and the members seem not to have any serious complaints.  The ‘happiness’ level is high.  In my view this can occur on a case by case basis where the board can be described as a benevolent dictatorship governing the HOA with reason and common sense.

However, this condition would also require a certain caliber of members who fully understand that they did not buy a residential home, but a home in a resort with the reasonable expectation of resort amenities and rules. As long as the board is benevolent and non-intrusive, the members are quite content with the conduct of their private government.

But, this is a special case where the HOA legal structure is not really needed, yet has been adopted for convenience. For example, time share resorts also have a homeowners association and the resort category of HOAs can be seen as “full year” timeshares. (The other categories are retirement HOAs with their expected rules and regulations — where active adult communities are more of a resort HOA — and residential HOAs with unreasonable expectations of authority).

The criteria for determining whether the HOA is a residential or resort HOA would depend on the eyes of the beholder, the homebuyer.  And that would depend, in part, on the advertising, catalogues, brochures, and statements by the developer, the HOA and the real estate agent as to the nature of the subdivision. Subdivisions are not classified in this manner except for saying they may have amenities.

I am also well aware of the many resort type HOAs that are not benevolent dictatorships.

In my long 14 years as a homeowner rights advocate (please see http://pvtgov.org/pvtgov/bio-hoa.pdf) I do not believe CAI has contributed to solving the 40 years of HOA problems, and thereby helping to create “vibrant, competent, harmonious community associations.

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Published in: on September 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Bottom line: CAI is NOT part of the solution they are the instigators of problems! Why? Because it makes them money and assures them of a position of power with the HOAs and the legislators. What will stop them? The refusal of the HOAs and the vendors to buy in. If HOAs refused to hire anybody associated with the CAI they would fall flat on their faces. HOA boards are so ignorant as to who the CAI is. Ask ten board members in ten different HOAs to explain to you about the CAI. In my area of the country ten out of ten will tell you they have no clue who the CAI is. Yet, the CAI is swarming around like vultures on road kill just hoping to get their claws in another ignorant HOA board of directors.

    The education is HOAs cannot be limited to the innocent and bullied homeowners. If you can get a board member with an ounce of common sense enough to listen progress can be made.

  2. There is a huge difference between a resort or vacation association and a residential association. When buyers purchase a Resort and vacation property, they fully realize it is a business investment, and therefore expect professional management. Restrictions are welcome in this environment, because the owner is absent most of the time, and relies on 24/7 onsite management to protect property.

    But the bulk of HOAs are residential in nature. That includes year-round and seasonal resident-owners who call their “units” HOME rather than a vacation destination.

    Problems tend to occur when the two types of ownership – resort vs. residential – are merged into one condominium or planned community. Each type of owner has vastly different expectations for use and enjoyment of the property.

    And the governance model that may work in resort HOAs does not serve residential communities well.

    In the US, our Constitutional Republic is supposed to be the basis for property ownership and democratic governing principles. Corporate and contract law must not be allowed to govern people and private property.

    George and Nila, you are so right about CAI. Their interests do not coincide with homeowners and residents in HOAs, and their policies and active participation often does more harm than good.

  3. I see the CAI as Constantly Aggravating Insanity. They are operating under the guise of good and committing evil acts on innocent people. And they encourage those with narcissistic personality traits to learn from their playbook. I think they spread a form of ‘HOA cancer’ into what should be congenial living environments. The more hate they encourage the more powerful they feel.

    I am most familiar with Big Cedar Wilderness Club by Bluegreen because I own there. They are in a partnership with Johnny Morris the owner of Bass Pro Shops. I have never once felt abused by anybody there; management or employees. They are always bending over backwards to make your stay enjoyable. They send a survey out via email after every visit. And each year they send the bios of those running for the board. The candidates are always well-qualified with business backgrounds. Some have financial, construction or management in the hospitality fields. None of them are retired school teachers or daycare workers with no business management experience. We have had an issue with investors buying points and renting those out and occupying the resort to the point other owners cannot book reservations. The legal department has listened to us via the management staff and worked to get it stopped. Any time I’ve asked to be contacted with a question a manager has called me without exception. When I’m at the resort and visiting with other owners they love it as much as I do. I feel confident that if things went sour Johnny Morris would step in and get it corrected immediately. He’s made a massive investment at Big Cedar and has proven success at developing and managing a businesses.

    In the HOA environment the developer makes his money and runs. The future of the HOA is of no concern and it shows.

    • Ask yourself, Why do we need CAI? Is it that without CAI people couldn’t run landscaping businesses? Do accounting work? Clean pools? Run an organization? Managers are nothing more than city managers or property managers. Is CAI indispensable for these activities that found through out our society? NO! What does CAI bring to the table???

      CAI, in my opinion, brings conflict, disorder and hostility. It tells the drafted — “conscripted” — directors on what it takes to keep the CAI members in business — Need to use experts or you can be sued; don’t worry, we’ll take charge. But, most importantly, to indoctrinate HOA boards and members into the CAI party line that will keep their members not only employed, but necessary part of the HOA government.

      The only purpose to CAI is to explain the laws fully and without bias! The laws that are constantly changed by the court interpretation of what the owner supposedly agreed to, and explaining the statutes that CAI has helped to create. But this can be done by any competent attorney who does not have a personal agenda and “party line” motivation.


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