Author’s note: I’d like to thank the ever-alert Deborah Goonan of IAC for this important tip.
Unbelievably, the CAI Washington chapter spills the beans on CAI’s mission and objectives. As a tax-exempt 501(c)6 business trade nonprofit the oxymoron statements below admit to working for business entities and at the same time, serving the consumers of these services, the HOAs. “to advocate on behalf of community associations.”
CAI is not permitted to have HOAs as members, so it recruits the boards of directors as individual volunteers creating conflict of interest conditions. I offer this statement by the chapter to set the tone for my criticism of the following article. Note it skips over serving its members, the attorneys and managers who are vendors to HOAs.
“Our Vision: “To be recognized as the leading resource for Community Associations and Business Partners.
“Our Mission: “Optimize the operations of Community Associations and foster value for our Business Partners.
“What We Do: 1. Advocacy – establish and enhance/maintain relationships with legislators and government officials and to advocate on behalf of community associations; 2. Member Development – boost membership and participation through enhanced outreach; 3. Education – provide a World-Class Education Curriculum for Stakeholders; 4. Member Services – maximize value provided to our current members, including Business Partners (events, conferences, materials, etc.).
“Who We Serve: “Community Association Leaders, Business Partners, CAI National, Community Association Members, Developers/Builders, Financial Institutions, Government Agencies, Insurers, Legislators, Managers, Media, Realtors, Sister Associations.
* * * *
Quorum Magazine article Based on the above stated mission and purpose of CAI, the Washington chapter’s magazine recounts a superficial, misleading whitewash portrayal of the history of HOAs in America; it serves as good CAI propaganda and portrays an unprofessional social media illusion that all’s well in HOA-Land. It is all real estate development oriented sold as a desired and well accepted housing alternative by uninformed individuals.
The article is devoid of constitutional and democratic concerns and validity centering on the HOA as another form of local government — a contractual, private government. These issues affecting the rights and freedoms of HOA members can be found in detail in the listed texts and selected quotes. Note the title of the texts, which says a lot.
- Prof. Dilger wrote in Neighborhood Politics (1992),
“For example, most of those who advocate the formation of RCAs [HOAs] assume that RCAs . . . incorporate all the rights and privileges embodied in the US Constitution, including . . . the rights of due process and equal protection under the law found in the Fourteenth Amendment.”
- Prof. McKenzie wrote in his landmark Privatopia (1994),
“T]he property rights of the developer, and later the board of directors, swallow up the rights of the people, and public government is left as a bystander. . . . [Consequently,] this often leads to people becoming angry at board meetings claiming that their ‘rights’ have been violated – rights that they wrongly believe they have in a [HOA].
“CIDS [HOAs] currently engage in many activities that would be prohibited if they were viewed by the courts as the equivalent of local governments.”
- Steven Seigel wrote in his WM & Mary journal (1998),
“Because of the traditional view, RCAs [HOAs] rarely have been deemed state actors subject to the requirements of the Constitution. As private entities, RCAs regulate behavior in a way that is anathema to traditional constitutional strictures;”
- CAI-ULI funded publication Community Associations (2005).
“[HOAs are] a consumer product sold by profit-seeking firm, a legal device, a corporation reliant on both coercive powers and voluntary cooperation, a democracy, and a lifestyle. With this plan, TB50 [The Holmes Association Handbook] set out the plan that would be taken in forming the CAI.”
- Franzese and Seigel argued in their Rutgers journal article (2008)
“The laissez-fare approach to CIC [common interest communities] regulation is reflected in the statutory law, which affords exceedingly few rights and protections to homeowners association residents.”
It can be safely concluded that CAI is not your friend, and any HOA in bed with CAI is representing its interests and not yours.
 Roger Jay Dilger, Neighborhood Politics: Residential Community Associations in American Governance, p. 160, New York Univ. Press (1992). Formerly WVU Prof. Political Science and Director of Political Affairs.
 Evan McKenzie, Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government, Yale Univ. Press (1994).
 Steven Siegel, “The Constitution and Private Government: Toward the Recognition of Constitutional Rights in Private Residential Communities Fifty years After Marsh v. Alabama,” Wm & Mary Bill of Rights J., Vol. 6, Issue 2 (1998).
 Donald R. Stabile, Community Associations: The Emergence and Acceptance of a Quiet Innovation in Housing, p. 144 (2000). Funded by CAI and ULI.
 Paula A. Franzese and Steven Siegel, “The Twin Rivers Case: Of Homeowners Associations, Free Speech Rights And Privatized Mini-Governments,” 5 RUTGERS J.L. & PUB. POL’Y 630 (2008).