Police ignore HOA complaints with tragic consequences

This news report addresses the repeated erratic behavior of homeowner in HOA that went ignored and a neighbor is forced to defend himself. Many times I’ve been told that the police would reject complaints of assault, harassment, charges of embezzlement and theft among other complaints. They have adopted this “hands-off” HOAs policy that denies citizens the equal protection of the law.  And, county/district attorneys often tell homeowners seeking to file a complaint to first file the complaint with the police.

Given the widespread reporting of oppressive, authoritarian HOAs acting irrationally, arbitrarily, and violating the laws, the failure of the government to provide practical protections for homeowners in HOAs is tantamount to playing Russian Roulette with the lives of people living in HOAs.


Clashes precede man’s killing

“Days before the incident, the homeowners association filed an injunction against Gallik, who had moved in the home in May 2007.

“According to the injunction: ‘He makes verbal threats to the association’s agents and members; walks around the community with a whiteboard chained around his neck stating ‘Death to Southshore Falls,’ has strung clothing lines along the front of the property; bathes in the front driveway and in the dwelling’s gutters to compensate for lack of running water, runs a generator from the front driveway to compensate for lack of working electricity, wanders in the common area allowing his dog to defecate in the middle of the road.’”

The injunction filed by the HOA against the problem homeowner included this statement, The police insist such assaults and threats of violence are an association matter.”



Why do people harm others in HOAs?

The following is my conclusion in Why people do harm to others in the HOA subculture.

Looking Toward the Future

In the Milgram and Stanford Prison Experiments researchers explored what evil men can and will do to others 1) under repeated pressure from authority figures to follow the rules, and 2) in an environment where one is expected to act in accordance to the  roles of the community.  The researchers found that basically good people will indeed do harm, even do severe harm, to others.  The conditions and factors present in these experiments exist within the HOA community, and the harm being done to others in these HOAs is well documented in the media and in the courts.

 The authoritarian insistence on enforcing complete obedience to the CC&RS, as repeatedly impressed on HOA boards by their attorneys, is well documented. The compliance by the directors and officers with these pressures for enforcement is well documented.   The blind obedience, apathy, and passivity  to authority by HOA members – the “prisoners” — who sign and agree to provisions blatantly detrimental to their interests, is well documented.  The adoption of the roles demanded of them by the system  and by the situation —  state laws and the court opinions, the adhesion CC&Rs and governing documents, and the lack of effective recourse — is well documented.  

The numerous “educational” seminars taught  by the attorneys and managers, many of which are sponsored by state and local governments,  serve not to fully inform but to indoctrinate the members into roles of obedience  and passivity, is well documented.  Good people doing bad things or remaining silent in the midst of wrongful acts and actions by the HOA is well documented.

State governments, the legislatures,  cannot allow HOAs to continue to  run amuck and to  freely violate the laws and their contractual obligations without legitimate and necessary constraints holding them accountable for the harm that they do to others.  Stop the “free rides.”  

Do not be conned by the HOA special interests unsubstantiated fear mongering about the demise of HOAs, and their  “only 5% are bad”, so we don’t need any restrictions.  Property crimes over the past 5 years averaged 3.3% yet we have laws.  Murder and rape rates are so miniscule compared to 5% (roughly 5 in 100, 000, or .00005), yet we have laws against these crimes.   If HOAs are indeed the next best thing to Mom’s apple pie, then they will survive.  If not, then it was the factor that “we got a good thing going here,” in terms of anything goes, that was the driving force behind all the clamor.  Fear not, people will continue to buy homes that are truly their private property.

But, to let the people in HOAs  continue to do harm to others and do nothing as  a matter of public policy is shameful.

Read the full paper here.

Legal-academic aristocrat – advocate exchange on HOA bad faith conduct

I am responding to Mr. Berding’s undated blog entry, First Thing We Do, Let’s Ban All the Bloggers! , a no-name identification of the author of the blog, namely yours-truly. Why is Mr. Berding afraid of mentioning my name? After all, I’m not an attorney. He chose to copy my Commentary rather than to provide a link to my blog, with all those other commentaries.

Ok, it does appear that Mr. Berding is quite perturbed about my statements and quotes from a D & O insurance article that uses the phrases “bad faith,” “criminal intent,” and “fraudulent acts.” He’s upset that I emphasized these words in my Commentary (WordPress Blog). Yet, Berding misleads the readers of his own blog by referring to my Commentary as, “suppose this is a blog.”

Yes, the ugly truth does hurt, Mr. Berding, doesn’t it? And I suppose posting on those blogs, like yours, those CAI blogs, and the Adams Kessler blogs does make them right and important, but forget about those advocate written blogs. Spoken as a true legal-academic aristocrat making Philosopher-King (educated elite setting forth what is good government to the rulers) pronouncements.

Mr. Berding then invokes the legalistic argument of allegations and no proof, as if this were the time and place for legal confrontation. His attitude reminds me of the slogan commonly found on court buildings and other judicial buildings, “Equal Justice Under the Law.” This slogan contains a hidden premise, or assumption, that the law is just and fair. Suppose it isn’t, as advocates maintain? Then the slogan is reduced to a meaningless and empty statement. And those with power derived from these unjust laws just love to argue, “It’s the law! It’s the law! We have done nothing wrong!” And that’s were ethical and moral questions of good faith – honesty and integrity, or an honest intent to act without taking an unfair advantage over another person – come into play.

Our public policy permits the law to inflict financial damages, and the possible loss of all one’s equity in his home, for violating the CC&Rs, yet gives only a “ slap on the wrist” to violations by the HOA board. It permits “after an opportunity to be heard” to satisfy the due process requirement for hearings on violations, there being no explicit statement, as found in the public arena: “by an independent tribunal with the right to present evidence, demand proof and to confront witnesses.” It is absent from the CC&R contractual agreement. And where state legislatures maintain a hands-off posture, providing no oversight accountability or effective enforcement against board violations in a “see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil” banana republic posture. And justifies this pro-HOA support with, “Well, that’s what the homeowner agreed to. Now he’s just trying to get out of a contract.” What kind of society do HOAs create?

I’m sure he would be shocked, as were the editors at KPHO, the Phoenix CBS-TV affiliate, when they conducted a poll on the PTSD HOA Syndrome (click on image), and found out that 68% of the respondents agreed it existed. Or that an overwhelming 91% respondents in a Truth in HOAs Disclosure Poll said NO to signing an agreement to accept, beforehand, the conditions as set forth in the poll — misrepresentation, fraud, no meeting of the minds, etc. No, after all, his philosophy accepts the belief that “the king can do no wrong.”

As to his CAI remark, all he had to do is to attend these seminars and discover for himself the lack of homeowner protection material presented at these seminars. For example, important info for homeowners can be found in my latest Commentary (HOA boards cannot escape wrongful acts by their managers), information regarding the relationship between the HOA and the management firm. It is is an agency relationship that carries with it immense protections for the homeowner against both the management firm and the HOA board. It’s not on the agenda.

As to misleading and out-of-context statements about the D & O article, Mr. Berding misses my point, which is that the board can be sued and here are the grounds for suing. Also not found in an educational CAI, town sponsored seminar. He discredits my work as “emotional,” “lacking objectivity,” and that I “don’t contribute much that is useful to their chosen subject.” So sayeth the Philosopher-King, or is it the “weavers” from The Emperor’s New Clothes?

Come down from the clouds Mr. Berding, and see what is happening around you. I challenge you to answer the following 4 questions that were posed in March 2006 to Mr. Durso, then Editor of CAI’s Common Ground,

I ask the legislators, the public interest organizations and policy makers to consider the following questions:

1. Is it proper for the state to create, permit, encourage, support or defend a form of local government of a community of people, whether that form of government is established as a municipal corporation or as a private organization that is not compatible with our American system of government?

2. Is it proper for the state to permit the existence of private quasi-governments with contractual “constitutions” that regulate and control the behavior of citizens without the same due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment; that do not conform to the state’s municipal charter or incorporation requirements; or do not provide for the same compliance with the state’s Constitution, statutes or administrative code as required by public local government entities?

3. When did “whatever the people privately contract” dominate the protections of the US Constitution? The New Jersey Appeals Court didn’t think so. Does “constructive notice”, the “nailing to the wall”, the medieval method of notice, measure up to the requisite level of notice and informed consent to permit the loss of Constitutional protections?

4. Please state what, if any, are the government’s interests in supporting HOAs that deny the people their constitutional rights?

I await your reply, or a reply from any of the legal-academic aristocrats.

HOAs and the decline in community social capital

In a direct reference to HOAs and social capital, Craig Walton, speaking of conditions in Southern Nevada, comments on Rothman that the developer’s planned community [HOA] subdivision created living that was intensely privateand reflect “the community’s preoccupation with the self.” Craig continues,

Rothman reflects on the need for public spaces and their recent decline Parks and libraries offered shared space and commonality of values, civic interaction and socialization. They combined education, relaxation, and social cohesiveness, all desirable traits in a growing community. They were crucial building blocks, pieces of the puzzle of quality of life that served the community and enhanced its reputation. . . .This dire warning is rooted in the absence of social capital in southern Nevada, because the power of developers to obtain and use land for increasingly expensive housing goes unchecked by elected and appointed public officials.”

These associations do not create positive social capital consisting of social networks and connections with reciprocal relationships, social interactions, trustworthiness and mutual obligations between the powerful boards and the rank and file homeowners. Rather, HOAs are a major cause of the destruction of social capital within the subdivision community. And as HOAs have become institutionalized — being accepted without question as “that’s the way it is” — they have made a substantial contribution to the decline in social capital in America.

Read the complete paper, The Effect of Homeowners Associations on Social Capital in Communities

Truth In HOAs Poll update: 9% would surrender their rights to HOA

Aug. 15, 2011 results

The initial response after 1 day to my Truth In HOAs Poll of July 12th was a 98% vote of NO, they could not agree to the Disclosure Agreement. Only 1 YES vote was recorded. Understanding that this may reflect an anti-HOA audience, I allowed the Poll to remain open this past month (and will remain open) to record any change in attitude by the respondents, noting that pro-HOA polls sponsored by CAI and RIM have recorded a 70% “satisfied with their HOA” response.

The Truth In HOAs internet poll is freely available to all on the internet by simply visiting my Commentaries blog, and as notified by my numerous email list posts, my responses to homeowner inquiries, and links provided in my comments to many online media articles. It s not a telephone calling from a pre-selected list.

Within 2 weeks the YES votes for both categories dropped somewhat to 95% with a split between “YES, I would sign” regardless and “YES, I would sign, but I want property value protections.” Today, a month later with a small increment in respondents, the YES responses come to 9% and the NO response to 91%. The split in YES votes shows an small widening with the unconditional YES dominating.

It’s hard to believe that there are some people who have no concern for their rights. This 9% represents “hard-liners or “true believers.” The results are unmistakably clear as homeowner rights advocates have been shouting for years – the support for a valid consent to be governed by the courts and state legislatures is based on a false and misguided view of the authoritarian, private government HOA regimes that are unaccountable to the legitimate and legal constitutional public government.

The HOA supporters, including CAI, do not have clean hands! It’s well beyond time to stop this mockery of the Constitution and mockery that HOAs represent the true voice of the people. And, the state legislatures well know that there are existing statutes that permit “private communities” to exist yet be accountable to Constitutional public government as a state entity, and retain the perceived benefits of restricted amenities, “ordinances,” community “taxes,” etc. (See a Proposal for the Muni-zation of HOAs).

I invite any and all online media, and those public interest organizations who fight for individual rights, to duplicate this poll for their viewers. Let’s get to the whole truth by publishing this poll, or stop telling your viewers that you tell the truth!!!

It should be noted that another marked rebuttal to these “satisfied” polls was a recent Phoenix CBS affiliate, KPHO, poll on whether or not an HOA Syndrome – a PTSD resulting from living in an HOA, diagnosed by Dr. Gary Solomon – was real. The KPHO internet poll results showed a 69% response that the HOA Syndrome was alive in HOAs. (See HOA Syndrome survey: YES, it exists!).

Please freely distribute this commentary/email to interested parties and your local media.