Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Attorneys discuss rights to pooping in public after "Mad Pooper" video release - KRDO

Attorneys discuss rights to pooping in public after "Mad Pooper" video release - KRDO

I've heard many people talk about their rights as neighbors and residents and homeowners. Satellite dishes, flags, fences, pets, parking, pools, religious symbols, Halloween decorations...I thought I'd heard it all. But no. Is there a right to poop on your neighbor's lawn? Ask this lawyer, because he says his client has that right. Coming to an HOA near you? I hope not.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tracking Arizona homeowners association foreclosures

Tracking Arizona homeowners association foreclosures

The Arizona Republic is seriously going after the HOA foreclosure situation. I've been commenting on the issue for just about forever, and so have a lot of other people. The problem is that CIDs typically have exactly one source of income, which is assessments.  The volunteer owner-directors typically don't have enough training and experience to do their jobs, so they tend to rely on property managers and lawyers. In most areas where there are many CIDs, here are some law firms that function basically as HOA/condo assessment collection agencies. Their bread and butter is an automated business of sending demand letters, slapping liens on people's homes, doing foreclosures (often nonjudicial), and slapping attorney fees on every action they take. It is all collectable, all secured by the lien, and that means that the owner can't extinguish the lien unless s/he pays the attorney fees. So you get situations such as owing $1000 in unpaid assessments and $12,000 in attorney fees. The final piece of the problem is that in virtually every state these lawyers and their foreclosure mills are not regulated in any meaningful way. So there are abuses.  Now, I would be the first to say that CIDs need to collect assessments, and they need to be able to foreclose at some point--for the assessments. That is a serious situation. They will go under if they can't collect, and before they go under the burden of paying for delinquent owners fall on the other owners, which can drive them into delinquency, too. So associations need to be able to collect their assessments in a timely manner. But what about all the extra charges and attorney fees? Here, there has to be some oversight and some proportionality, so that people don't lose their homes not because they can't pay their association, but because they can't pay the padded bill of the association's lawyer. And no, I don't begrudge these lawyers their living, because they have to pay the rent, too. But there are many documented examples of abuses, and state legislatures need to set some standards.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Homeowners file lawsuit over odor from portable toilet facility | KOMO

Homeowners file lawsuit over odor from portable toilet facility | KOMO: "PACIFIC, Wash. -- Some homeowners in Pacific are pursuing legal action to try to stop the stink that sometimes fills the air around their homes, they said. They claim Northwest Cascade, Inc., a nearby company that cleans and stores portable toilets, is to blame."

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They "claim"??  How could that be in dispute, considering that the company cleans and stores porta-potties?

HOA, Sun City Grand residents clash over painted driveway borders

HOA, Sun City Grand residents clash over painted driveway borders:

People have been painting their driveway borders for years, and now suddenly the world will come to an end unless they paint over it the same uniform shade of grayish beige. Because everybody knows that nobody wants to buy a house unless it has a grayish beige driveway.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Researchers Are Mapping the Racist Foundations of Minneapolis Housing Patterns – Next City

Researchers Are Mapping the Racist Foundations of Minneapolis Housing Patterns – Next City: "...a group of researchers working out of Augsburg University in Minneapolis is taking on a less visible legacy: thousands of racially restrictive covenants in house deeds buried in the city’s property records.

Their project is called Mapping Prejudice. Their goal is to find every single racially restrictive covenant — a now-illegal type of deed restriction that prevented the sale of a home to a black person or, in some cases, anyone other than a white person — and plot them on a map of Minneapolis. The early results show, not too surprisingly, that the neighborhoods where racial covenants were clustered in the early part of the 20th century are still some of the city’s whitest."

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The early history of homeowners' associations was mainly about enforcing race restrictive covenants. These covenants created patterns of racial segregation that are still with us today in many cities.



'via Blog this'

California's housing costs are driving its citizens into poverty. Lawmakers need to act now - LA Times

California's housing costs are driving its citizens into poverty. Lawmakers need to act now - LA Times

"Annual data released this week again confirm that when housing costs and other living expenses are figured in, California has the nation’s highest poverty rate. One in five Californians lives in poverty. Why? Because the staggering cost of paying for a roof over one’s head has left people struggling to survive."

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And this opinion piece is based on this story

Homeowners association settles lawsuit against Loveland couple that built critical sign in front yard - Loveland Reporter-Herald

Homeowners association settles lawsuit against Loveland couple that built critical sign in front yard - Loveland Reporter-Herald

"A Loveland man removed a controversial sign from his front yard Thursday more than a month after he constructed the billboard to criticize his neighborhood's homeowners association.

But Rich Stephens, the resident, did so with a promise from the Alford Meadows Community Association that it would never again harass him over a wooden pallet painted to resemble a colonial American flag hanging from the side of his house on the corner of West 50th Street and Crabapple Drive."
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 First came the wooden colonial flag, then a giant sign warning people about the HOA. But now all is settled.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Arizona HOAs foreclosing on a record number of homeowners

Arizona HOAs foreclosing on a record number of homeowners: "Homeowners associations, the enforcers of neighborhood paint colors, holiday decorations and trash bins, are leading the latest surge in Phoenix-area foreclosures. HOAs are foreclosing on a record number of homeowners for as little as $1,200 in missed maintenance payments, according to an Arizona Republic investigation. And homeowners who thought only their mortgage lender could seize property are losing their houses at sheriff’s auctions, sometimes for just $100 more than they owe..Arizona allows an HOA to foreclose after a year of missed payments or a debt of $1200. But when HOAs add legal fees and interest to late payments, the debt can more than quadruple in a year."

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Yes, here we go again. For years after the 2007-08 crash in property values, HOAs and condo associations often decided not to foreclose because the units were underwater and there wouldn't be any equity left after the HOA foreclosure triggered the mortgagee (bank) to get into the act and take what was owed on the mortgage. Some states have a limited "super-priority lien" for some amount of overdue assessments, but the big payoffs, including hefty attorney fees, were not there because you can't get blood from a turnip. But now, housing values have come back in many markets, so HOAs are back in the foreclosure business.

Woodson: 'I'm not spending taxpayer money on private roads' | Riverhead News Review

Woodson: 'I'm not spending taxpayer money on private roads' | Riverhead News Review

And that is the answer that HOA residents should expect to hear for the next 20 years, as their private streets wear out and they realize to their horror that they don't have the money to repair them, and turn to the "gubmint" to bail them out. In this case, they turned to the courts:



"Last fall, the Oak Hills Association filed a lawsuit against the town, seeking to have a state Supreme Court judge require it to provide all highway services to the neighborhood, which has 85 homes and 11 roads. That lawsuit, which named both the Town Board and Mr. Woodson is defendants, is still pending and board members said settlement discussions have taken place."


The world’s largest car market just announced an imminent end to gas and diesel cars - Vox

The world’s largest car market just announced an imminent end to gas and diesel cars - Vox

China, India, and Europe are getting rid of gas and diesel vehicles much faster than most Americans realize. It will happen here, eventually, but the US is lagging behind the rest of the developed world in most important industrial and technological developments. Other nations are taking over the markets of the future and developing the technologies that will be at the heart of the economy in the near future. How about this sentence: "In most big markets outside the US, EVs are the hot thing"? Here's another: "In July, Volvo announced that all its models introduced in 2019 and after would be hybrid or electric." Yes, electric cars are "the hot thing" everywhere except here, where Americans are still salivating over V-8 pickup trucks and the national government is run by a party that denies the existence of global warming because they are on the take from the oil industry. And it isn't just that the switch to electric. At the same time, cars are going driverless, and the Chinese are trying to beat us to the market with this technology. The implications for the housing market of the transportation revolution that is happening everywhere but here are pretty dramatic.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Rich SF Homeowners Prepare For Legal Battle Against Asian Couple That Owns Their Street

Rich SF Homeowners Prepare For Legal Battle Against Asian Couple That Owns Their Street:

More from the Presidio Terrace conflict. Both sides have lawyered up and the Presidio Terrace HOA has hired former city attorneys. The owners aren't worried, though: "While the homeowners are trying their best to persuade supervisors into scraping the tax auction, the street’s new owners Michael Cheng and Tina Lam aren’t too worried. Cheng revealed that the supervisors haven’t mentioned anything about revoking the tax sale so he’s confident that they’re “on sound legal footing.”