HOA’s from Hell? Not Really. They’re right here on Earth! Just down the road. Next door. HOA’s have become as All-American as…well…as you know. There are about 350,000 of them across the USA! Roughly 60-70 Million American live in them! It’s not that they have any more or less problems than your typical municipal-government-type-communities. The heart of the problem with HOA’s is that due their governance design, they have much more of a tendency to fall under the CONTROL of “control-freaks”, AND, they offer significantly fewer and less viable options for homeowners to correct the situation or to fight-back. Skip to “CONTENTS” ONE NOT SO UNCOMMON HOA STORY: A couple nearing retirement were living in a nice seaside town. But it was so far away from any of the children and grandchildren. They looked and looked for a home closer to their family. They also wanted to find a home that could be their “final move” for their retired, elder years. Everything was so expensive! Then, they found a neat little community. It had a lake, community pool, hiking trails, a restaurant, an equestrian center, a golf course, AND, it was right in the heart of “Wine Country.” They found a cute house, open and airy, all on one floor, plenty of bathrooms and looking out onto the golf course and mountains. Almost everything appeared so, so perfect. The “CC&R’s” as the community association rules and regulations are called, looked straight-forward and workable for this law-abiding pair. To get to know their new community, they attended several “Board Meetings.” Immediately, something seemed awry, even spurious. Soon, they discovered that this Homeowner’s Association (HOA) had been controlled by a small insider-group of long-time residents, many of them rabid golfers. These folks actually considered themselves like “community founders” “original builders” (some actually were!) and “elite.” Over a period of 30-40 years, this group had managed to gain control over every aspect of Association functioning: boards, committees, staff, media/IT, environmental control, security, and, even connections with local political-powers. Several other small groups had rose-up over the years to challenge them, but none was ever able to grow large enough or to sustain an effort long enough to overcome their powerful influence. This Association ran essentially on the basis of what has variously been called the “Good Ol’ Boys n’ Girls Club”: cronyism, nepotism, insider-dealing, etc. Even up until 2014, this HOA did not use standard accounting methods, always did in-house reserve studies, never used an independent “inspector of elections”, operated with an antiquated IT-sysyem, never sought a professional-golf-consult despite the fact that it’s “Golf Ops.” had lost about $550,000 per year since 2001, and, had burned through 9 GM’s since 1992 (i.e., 1992-2014; then 4 more thru 2020)! The CONSEQUENCES of all this? Sorely neglected non-golf amenities (community center had to be demolished), a lake that had NEVER been de-silted in 50+ years (most other HOA’s do that at least every 5 years), a golf course that had lost over $10 Million by 2018, reserves at 19% (2019), a mostly disenfranchised owner-membership, and that same small insider-group still in control AND….actively pursuing construction of a $10-12 Mllion clubhouse! Back to our senior couple. They tried to support those wanting a more fair, equitable, democratic governance. They had several run-ins with the controlling group….some quite nasty and of questionable legality. Finally, realizing that this was not their dream home-community, they decided that leaving was their only option. Another move, ugh! They had hoped this was their last. Why? Wasn’t this America? NO…Not in an HOA. HOA’s aren’t democracies. They are one of last bastions of those who want to CONTROL their “community” however they see fit and regardless of the consequences to others. HOA’s Hurt us ordinary people, emotionally, socially and economically! Especially seniors! Next…..OUR MISSION Skip to - CONTENTS
HOA’s from Hell? Not Really. They’re right here on Earth! Just down the road. Next door. HOA’s have become as All-American as…well…as you know. There are about 350,000 of them across the USA! Roughly 60-70 Million American live in them! It’s not that they have any more or less problems than your typical municipal-government-type-communities. The heart of the problem with HOA’s is that due their governance design, they have much more of a tendency to fall under the CONTROL of “control-freaks”, AND, they offer significantly fewer and less viable options for homeowners to correct the situation or to fight-back. Skip to “CONTENTS” ONE NOT SO UNCOMMON HOA STORY: A couple nearing retirement were living in a nice seaside town. But it was so far away from any of the children and grandchildren. They looked and looked for a home closer to their family. They also wanted to find a home that could be their “final move” for their retired, elder years. Everything was so expensive! Then, they found a neat little community. It had a lake, community pool, hiking trails, a restaurant, an equestrian center, a golf course, AND, it was right in the heart of “Wine Country.” They found a cute house, open and airy, all on one floor, plenty of bathrooms and looking out onto the golf course and mountains. Almost everything appeared so, so perfect. The “CC&R’s” as the community association rules and regulations are called, looked straight-forward and workable for this law-abiding pair. To get to know their new community, they attended several “Board Meetings.” Immediately, something seemed awry, even spurious. Soon, they discovered that this Homeowner’s Association (HOA) had been controlled by a small insider-group of long-time residents, many of them rabid golfers. These folks actually considered themselves like “community founders” “original builders” (some actually were!) and “elite.” Over a period of 30-40 years, this group had managed to gain control over every aspect of Association functioning: boards, committees, staff, media/IT, environmental control, security, and, even connections with local political-powers. Several other small groups had rose-up over the years to challenge them, but none was ever able to grow large enough or to sustain an effort long enough to overcome their powerful influence. This Association ran essentially on the basis of what has variously been called the “Good Ol’ Boys n’ Girls Club”: cronyism, nepotism, insider-dealing, etc. Even up until 2014, this HOA did not use standard accounting methods, always did in-house reserve studies, never used an independent “inspector of elections”, operated with an antiquated IT-sysyem, never sought a professional-golf-consult despite the fact that it’s “Golf Ops.” had lost about $550,000 per year since 2001, and, had burned through 9 GM’s since 1992 (i.e., 1992-2014; then 4 more thru 2020)! The CONSEQUENCES of all this? Sorely neglected non-golf amenities (community center had to be demolished), a lake that had NEVER been de-silted in 50+ years (most other HOA’s do that at least every 5 years), a golf course that had lost over $10 Million by 2018, reserves at 19% (2019), a mostly disenfranchised owner-membership, and that same small insider-group still in control AND….actively pursuing construction of a $10-12 Mllion clubhouse! Back to our senior couple. They tried to support those wanting a more fair, equitable, democratic governance. They had several run-ins with the controlling group….some quite nasty and of questionable legality. Finally, realizing that this was not their dream home-community, they decided that leaving was their only option. Another move, ugh! They had hoped this was their last. Why? Wasn’t this America? NO…Not in an HOA. HOA’s aren’t democracies. They are one of last bastions of those who want to CONTROL their “community” however they see fit and regardless of the consequences to others. HOA’s Hurt us ordinary people, emotionally, socially and economically! Especially seniors! Next…..OUR MISSION Skip to - CONTENTS