To All US Policymakers:
Are you aware of the Jan-Feb AARP Bulletin that contains a highly critical article on HOAs? The Bulletin article, on page 8 under “Home Wars” (not yet available on AARP’s web site), calls attention to the plight of seniors who face harsh treatment when they fall behind in making HOA payments.
An excellent article hitting home on one of my 6 substantial issues of HOA unconstitutionality — draconian foreclosure[i] and the influence of attorneys. Foreclosure is a punishment! It is common that more than 50% of the foreclosure money goes into hands of the attorney and not the HOA. Yet, CAI spokesperson, SVP Dawn Bauman, is quoted as saying, “this type of problem is rare.”
The national homeowner associations (known as HOAs, PUDs, CIDs, POAs) lobbyist, Community Associations Institute (CAI), has been increasing its lobbying influence on Congress and The White House, claiming that it speaks for the associations and the homeowner members. This is not true! It is a business trade group claiming to speak for consumers of the services provided by its members, the attorneys and HOA management people. It does not have any HOAs as members and is not permitted to have HOAs, per se, as a member.
Policymakers have openly accepted this propaganda, failing to properly vet (“to check someone’s character or reputation to find out if they are suitable for a particular job”) CAI. They have ignored the opposing legitimate and valid arguments presented by credentialed homeowner advocates. These advocates include Prof. Evan McKenzie (UIC) who wrote the seminal 1994 book, Privatopia: Homeowners Associations and the Rise of residential Private Government, in which he wrote,
“Taken as a whole, these [HOA] powers permit the regulation of a wider range of behavior than any within the purview of a public local government.”
In his 2011 sequel, Beyond Privatopia: Rethinking Residential Private Government, McKenzie acknowledges the contributions of several advocates, mine included. In regard to democracy in HOAs, McKenzie wrote:
“The notion that individual owners agreed among themselves to perform these services for each other, and subsequent owners took over from them, is entirely fictional.”
He was challenging the myth that HOAs are highly democratic, when in fact the homeowners were handed an adhesion contract — the take it or leave CC&Rs
Then there are internet publishers such as Deborah Goonan[ii] and yours truly[iii] whose websites contain posts/papers challenging CAI’s propaganda, well documented using CAI’s own communications, court cases, and state laws.
Yet, the policymakers have failed to properly vet CAI by ignoring the criticisms by homeowner advocates of the HOA legal scheme and their arguments of abuse by rogue HOAs in favor of the national lobbyist, CAI. This must stop! For your convenience, here are summaries of my 6 issues of substance, taken from the table of contents of HOA Common Sense: rejecting private government, that the policymakers have long ignored:
I urge you to explore the arguments made by homeowner rights advocates and seek responses from CAI. Then judge for yourself if you have been given a run-around.
George K. Staropoli, Founder