Sunday, July 04, 2010

Don't mess with Texas: Your home is not your castle; outlaw HOAs

Chuck Bloom: It's my castle -- not an HOA's

Some state laws hold that concept to be true; it's your castle if an unwanted intruder invades your property and you use your legally registered weapon to defend yourself – even with lethal force. Even anti-gun advocates have understood such thinking.

But when the intruder goes through the courts and takes the property with a pen, it's not your castle, and you have little say about it. Because of various factors (such as the almighty dollar), that's deemed acceptable behavior.

The very existence of homeowner associations should be outlawed in Texas, but, because of the overwhelming influence of major political donors (including major Texas homebuilders, who create the HOAs), we're left to read about such travesties that befell the Clauer family of Frisco.


I wonder if Chuck Bloom is related to John Irving Bloom aka Joe Bob Briggs, Dallas comedian and drive in movie reviewer.

(Home sells on courthouse steps for tiny fraction of value. Property owner left SOL. Media and blogosphere outrage. HOA foreclosure fu. One star. Joe Bob says check it out.)


Anonymous said...

"Your home is your castle except in a community association."

-Donna D. Berger, Esq.
"The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Living In A Common Ownership Community"
October 29, 2009

Regular readers of this blog should remember Ms. Berger as the HOA lawyer who urges her clients to "Be aggressive with your foreclosure actions" and appears as "General Berger" in the "Board Member Boot Camp" video. I don't know if "friendly fire" and "collateral damage" are discussed at these seminars.

gnut said...

Bloom concludes his column by writing

Perhaps the tea partiers should direct their considerable anger where it needs to go – to those living in their neighboring castles.

As Barbara Hogan pointed out in her outstanding Texas HOA Issues handbook, the only way to correct the behavior of HOA corporations is with extensive legislation. And that is something the conservatives/libertarians/Ayn Randians in the Tea Party crowd will never admit.

I don't believe there is anything that HOA corporations can do to enrage these people.

Example: The Falcon Pointe HOA recently prohibited one of its residents from conducting an internet-based firearms business out of his home, even though home businesses are generally permitted, and the homeowner in question had the necessary government permits.

In Pflugerville, Andrew Clements has become the target of persecution from the board of the Falcon Pointe subdivision because of his politically incorrect career choice. No, he's not skinning animals in the front yard or building his own nuclear reactor. He's running an Internet business where no customers come to his house and nothing he does is visible to his neighbors. Yet he has been threatened by his Homeowners Association and prohibited from earning a living as he chooses, despite the fact that there were no rules prohibiting home businesses in the neighborhood at the time he bought his home.

Clements' great transgression is that his business of choice — his method of earning a living in these lean times — is to sell firearms to hunters and law enforcement. It's a perfectly legal business. He has the right permits from the federal government. He has broken no state or federal laws and his business is protected by both the Second and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution. But none of that seems to protect him from the Falcon Point HOA which has passed a rule specifically prohibiting residents from buying and selling firearms in the neighborhood, a rule written specifically to target just one homehowner, Andrew Clements.

Even though this was in Texas(!), there has been no reaction from gun-rights activists.

I brought this up at one Reason's internet discussion forums about gun rights activism. Click here if you want to read the reactions of Reason's libertarian readers.