CAI member survey: where are the facts, just the facts?

On Nov. 9, 2017 CAI issued an internet news release on the Yahoo Groups e-list, CAIerelease@yahoogroups.com, to selected members.  This release, as usual, touts the greatness of CAI, but this time it’s an outright member survey.

CAI Member Needs Assessment Survey” release. Its stated purpose was to allow “us to hear directly from our members and ultimately gather a better understanding of the essential needs and significant challenges our members face living in today’s community associations.

I am a member of the Group, but not surprisingly apparently a persona non-grata member as I don’t receive copies of releases nor can I see the survey results.   Instead, if you are not a member, you can rely on the summary provided in the news release as no other ‘facts’ are provided. However, the release does state, “SELRES_2d85eb01-5a56-42d3-8b8a-67b5beb0dd1eSELRES_037bd84e-972f-44be-9885-377f4a303540SELRES_e236a0bf-ec96-4d49-acfe-a9872651b5daCOMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS INSTITUTE (CAI) RELEASES MEMBERSHIP SURVEY.”  But whereSELRES_e236a0bf-ec96-4d49-acfe-a9872651b5daSELRES_037bd84e-972f-44be-9885-377f4a303540SELRES_2d85eb01-5a56-42d3-8b8a-67b5beb0dd1e?

The short release goes on to simply assert that,

[T]he most important issues facing community associations are uniformed boards, increased legislative/regulatory oversight . . .. CAI members are concerned about state regulations impacting community associations, and an overwhelming majority of CAI members surveyed (92 percent as compared to 89 percent in 2013) agreed that CAI advocates on behalf of community association interests and responds to legislative, legal, and regulatory activities. 

In short, very short, CAI makes the claim that overwhelmingly it’s members support its lobbying activity for HOAs that are opposed to state regulation. Isn’t CAI supposed to lobby for its industry, which can be loosely classified as HOA services and not for HOAs? The pertinent lobbying would be, naturally, for the advancement of its vendor members as a 501(c)6 trade organization should be advocating.

CAI rightfully argues that boards are largely uninformed, but it fails to identify CAI, the international HOA educator, as the culprit for providing self-serving propaganda rather than the truth of the matter.  (See in general, HOA Common Sense: rejecting private government).

But, who are these members of this business trade group? Surely not HOAs that are consumers of CAI’s member services. CAI fails to inform readers that its membership does not include HOAs per se, and that only a minority of 32.8% (as of 2016) of its members are “volunteers.”  In my Sept. 2017 analysis of CAI’s “Fact” Book, (CAI 2016 Factbook: looking into the ‘facts’), I summarized the CAI Indiana Chapter data from its survey of some 23 state chapters. (The Indiana Chapter data can be found here). I wrote,

I came across data from the CAI Indiana chapter for 2015 and 2016. The percent ‘volunteers’ per HOA for both years was 32.7% and 32.8%, respectively. (Of the 33,000 CAI members, a minority of some 10,800 are ‘volunteers’ and not attorneys or managers.)

Furthermore, a clear majority of these “volunteers” are HOA board members.  CAI recruits these “volunteers” by offering discounted fees for multiple directors from the same HOA, paid for by member assessments.  Talk about a legal loop-hole!

It’s not surprising that CAI’s factual survey is unprofessionally biased and constitutes self-serving propaganda, which has undoubtedly been distributed to the policymakers, state legislators, the media, and the general public. Shame, shame!

And yet there are many who still believe that CAI is the path to substantial HOA reforms for homeowner rights.  They refuse to take off their rose-colored glasses and deal with the reality of some 44 years of CAI’s failure to solve HOA problems; failing in its reason for being when formed in 1973.

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HOAGOV

"The Voice for HOA Constitutionality". I have been a long-term homeowner rights authority, advocate and author of "The HOA-Land Nation Within America" (2019) and" Establishing the New America of independent HOA principalities" (2008). See HOA Constitutional Government at http://pvtgov.org. My efforts with HOAs took me to a broader concern that was deeply affecting the constituionality of HOAs. Those broad societal and plotical concerns caused me to start this new blog for my commentaries on the State of the New America.

5 thoughts on “CAI member survey: where are the facts, just the facts?”

  1. If CAI wants to be transparent, why don’t they state that most of their members are the CAI management companies that pay CAI dues, the CAI attorneys that go against the homeowners and cause a lot of homeowners a lot of money and a lot of grief and the CAI vendors that the management companies recommend because they are CAI members? Who profits? The management companies that depend on the homeowners for income, the CAI attorneys that bill the HOAs and homeowners outrageous amounts for anything from a “fine letter” , a “warning letter” or opposing homeowners standing up for their rights in court.

    I think that HOA Boards should stop being led by this group and support their communities and stop allowing outsiders to interfere with the operations of the communities. There are a lot of smart owners on different HOA Boards and it will be good for them to look at what CAI is actually supporting and why. As soon as this happens, HOA Boards across the USA will become more independent and smarter.

    Unless they are paying attention to what this CAI lobby group is doing, they will not be aware that they often support legislation that is not pro homeowners. Plus let’s face it, HOA Board members are homeowners too so it will be important to them to have CAI and other organizations to support legislation that will protect every homeowner across the USA. Perhaps it is time for homeowners to start their own large lobbying group that will support true homeowner legislation.

    No money from any HOA funds should be spent on CAI dues. CAI organization is on the side of their dues paying members who profit by billing HOAs and homeowners — I challenge them to prove me wrong. Perhaps someone can expand on this fact and clarify how their membership is composed since I am not an expert and still learning lots. Homeowners are a tiny percentage of their membership and they know it. Every homeowner should open up their eyes and review exactly what pro homeowner rights legislation CAI opposes each year and what they do to support their vendors.

    Just the facts —- no spinning and no manipulating homeowners — just the truth will speak volumes. Honesty is the best policy.

    1. CAI says they have homeowner members, but those are board members, not members at large. And we do not know all the facts about these board members, but I can tell you that it is not uncommon for boards to have real estate brokers, affiliates of the developer, real estate investors, and a myriad of other homeowners who just so happen to benefit directly from their position on the HOA board. (Or their family benefits). Some board members own property in several communities, and serve on boards in more than one community. These are most likely the “homeowner volunteers” that hold CAI memberships.

      One important point, though. At least 40% of associations are self-managed, especially smaller associations. Self-managed associations are no better off than professionally managed associations. The same inequities exist. The same potential for abuse of power and corruption and conflict of interest exists, manager or no manager.

      In other words, we cannot say that the management companies and attorneys are corrupting the boards. The system itself enables unchecked power and corruption of HOA boards. Some managers and attorneys simply sieze upon that opporutnity to enrich themselves.

  2. Exactly right, George. No survey data – not even a managment report – as reference to that silly CAI news release. No hide nor hair of it on CAI’s website either – at least not for the eyes of the general public. I guess you have to be a loyal, non-refundable dues-paying CAI member to view the results of the survey.

    But then again, almost any institutional research or survey can be designed (manipulated?) to produce favorable results for the organization that happens to be paying for the research or survey.

    How can any reasonable person swallow data presented by CAI? Please pass the salt!

  3. Agreed. CAI members are self serving. I attended a day session presented by CAI when I was a board member of the Venetian Condominiums, Scottsdale. The classes were propaganda by attorneys and property management firms. Basically, the Scottsdale Neighborhood college is also all CAI related instructors. It is all about how boards should operate. Some good information is shared but you certainly get the idea that it is the board against the homeowners. The all powerful board can do almost anything it wants over their “subjects”. The power of boards is what is the critical issue. Once that egomanic board member gets on the board, it is down hill. If homeowners would just realize they give up all decisions to their board, they might be more inclined to pay attention to who gets elected. Trying to change the apathy in communities is impossible unless something egregious happens. The board can cover up and do a lot of damage to a community before the residents can figure it out. Vigilence as a homeowner is what is needed but most people are too busy, lazy or simply do not care to watch over their board.

    1. A very good observation, Sandy. It has always been the board vs the members as with a business — management vs employees. That is why I called for an Homeowners Association agency like the National Labor Relations Board. Homeowners are powerless and need the protection of the government, and not the dereliction of its responsibilities to protect the people and their rights and freedoms under the Constitution.

      See my post last month proposing an Arizona bill to make that happen, Bill creates HOA agency to restore constitutional protections

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