Friday, October 01, 2004

Are HOAs becoming one of the most hated institutions in the United States?

As we contemplate the Presidential election, and we espouse our concerns for American security, freedom, and justice, isn’t it time to ask this question: “Why have so many Americans willingly given up their civil rights???”

Civil rights protections guaranteed to all Americans in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights do not apply to the 50 million Americans who live in Common Interest Development (CIDs) communities. CID’s include Homeowners Associations (HOAs), Property Owners Associations (POA’s), and Condominium Associations.

Although HOA’s have more power and control over homeowners than any local government, they are considered private corporations and there is little governmental oversight and practically no accountability. Most CID’s are corporations established under Not-for Profit Corporation Law. Contract law governs all homeowner/HOA disputes. Actions taken by HOAs against individual homeowners are not protected by the Constitution because a “private government HOA” is not yet recognized as a local government in most states. In addition, the First Amendment restricts only government, not "private government HOAs". The Texas Homestead Act protections for homeowners do not apply either.

Would that this were still true . . .

“A special respect for individual liberty in the home has long been part of our culture and our law.” (Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 1994)

See related stories below . . .

Note: Links and Archives are now at the bottom of this page until Blogspot.com glitch is resolved.

Welcome to Two New Links: American Homeowners Resource Center and The Texas Homeowner Advocate Group (See related stories below)

Fortune Magazine Predicts Real Estate Bust

Summary of the September 20th issue of the Fortune Magazine article “Is the Housing Boom Over?”

The Fortune article predicts that “yes” the real estate bubble is about to burst due to soaring prices and the gap between housing values and personal income and job growth, which is greater than ever. Speculative fervor and momentum investing is to blame. Since 1995 the median house prices rose 47%!!! Much of this is due to “flipping” – quickly selling a house for profit. For example, 3.1% of Californians resell their houses in 6 months! There are growing signs that speculators are about to bring about a bust similar to the Internet stock bust in the late 1990’s.

What will bring prices down? - Rising interest rates and soaring property taxes. If the economy slows, the impact will be worse. A downturn in housing prices will “slam the economy.” Homeowners should be bracing for several years of flat or falling prices in the hot real estate markets.

Advice . . . Only buy if you plan to stay 10 years or more. Don’t buy a lavish house. And it might be best to stay in a rental. “This is no time to gamble or invest in the Real Estate Market.”


PEOPLE MAGAZINE has published a devastating article on homeowner associations in its current October 4th edition( now on the stands). It is titled "Loathe Thy Neighbor", and can be located on Page 123 . . ..”

Source: (AHRC News Press Release 9/30/04). American Homeowners Resource Center (AHRC) is an interactive news and resource portal for all states in the US. It has a communication system for the public to write and track letters to all levels of government, business and media.

Visit The Texas Homeowner Advocate Group

“Homeowners across the state are weary of being micro-managed and threatened with foreclosure language letters every time they attempt to improve their property, or fail to cut their lawns when the neighborhood boards want them to cut their lawns, hang a flag, etc. Did you know this homestead foreclosure practice is unconstitutional? In violation of Article XVI, Section 50, of the Texas Constitution . . .”


CNN Airs Special: "How to Fight a Homeowners Association"

“MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2004 WAS A GROUNDBREAKING DAY IN NEWS MEDIA HISTORY. The subject of non-judicial foreclosure in homeowner associations was covered in a special segment of CNN Financial Networks Open House show with Journalist Gerri Willis.

Within minutes of the show titled, "How to Fight a Homeowners Association", the American Homeowner Resource center received passionate responses from the public and was flooded with pleas of help from homeowners across the country trapped in bitter battles with their homeowner association. . ."

Source: American Homeowners Resource Center

HOA Non-Judicial Foreclosures To Continue
Excerpts From AP Wire 9/30/04. . .

“Although it had wide bipartisan support, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Thursday vetoed a bill that would have stopped California's 37,000 homeowner associations from foreclosing on homes for small debts. . .

The bill's backers argued it would stop foreclosure abuses that have generated national publicity at least a dozen times since 2001, and had predicted Schwarzenegger's support would embolden other states to also rein in foreclosure powers. . . .

Efforts by homeowner groups to pass similar legislation in other states - such as Texas, Florida and Arizona, which contain more than half the nation's 260,000 homeowners associations - have also repeatedly failed. . .

Builders and developers have been among Schwarzenegger's top contributors, giving $2.5 million to his election campaign last year and hundreds of thousands more to his political committees after he took office.”

Texas Legislature and Accountability

“Texas is the largest state not to require a recorded vote on final passage of a bill in its legislature. Not only that, but requiring recorded votes could force the state to find a more efficient system of tracking, organizing and presenting information about votes. . .

As it is now, to find out how your lawmakers voted on important matters that are recorded, you need to grab a flashlight and a few days' supplies before venturing into the online catacombs to dig for the evidence of what your representatives are doing in Austin. . .

The Legislature considered thousands of bills and amendments in its last regular session and passed 725 new laws. We cannot assume that even the most forthright legislator will be able to spot every controversial item. . .

A House bill authored by Collin County's own Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, required candidates to file finance reports electronically, but an amendment let lawmakers who are computer illiterate off the hook. Because it was passed on a voice vote, you'll never know who voted to allow candidates to hide behind a claim of ignorance. ”


Our Local News

Curtis Sadler New Game Warden

“Curtis Sadler is accustomed to asking people for their licenses. In his old job, he sought driver’s licenses. Now he seeks hunting and fishing licenses.Sadler, a former Fort Worth police officer, took over as game warden for Wise County on July 1, filling the position vacanted by Mike Sibila, who went to work for Bosque County as a game warden. . . .

Sadler said Wise County should be getting another game warden in October or February.Sadler, whose title is Region II, District I game warden for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, described the training process to be a game warden. . . .

“One thing that we’re increasingly running into are meth labs out here,” Sadler said. “That’s an area of concern.”


Lowe’s and Clili’s May Come to Decatur

“The Decatur City Council provided the Lowe-down at its meeting Monday on the “big box” merchant interested in opening a store in Decatur.The council approved a memorandum of understanding with Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. for a new store to open in Decatur. . . .

Also at the meeting, the council approved a final plat for a new Chili’s restaurant on the U.S. 81/287 service road south of Whataburger, an $8 million budget and a schedule of city fees.”


Volunteer Fire Departments Under New Financial Reporting Regulations

“- Commissioners agreed to two different agreements with volunteer fire departments. The agreements require departments to provide financial reports and comply with other recordkeeping in return for the monthly stipend of $1,100.”


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