Saturday, July 10, 2010
When Frank Sigrist installed a passive solar garage door in his Granite Bay house, he forgot to submit an application to his homeowner’s association.
He filed the required documents a month or so later, thinking he wouldn’t be denied permission because the $10,000 state-of-the-art door is energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing — besides, the garage sits far back off the street in this upper-end gated community.
“It’s not going to be a big deal,” Sigrist said.
But he was wrong.
Nah, who would have thunk it?
But board members are reasonable people, acting reasonably, right?
Friday, July 09, 2010
LOS ALTOS, Calif. — No need for tears, but the well-off are losing their master suites and saying goodbye to their wine cellars.
The housing bust that began among the working class in remote subdivisions and quickly progressed to the suburban middle class is striking the upper class in privileged enclaves like this one in Silicon Valley.
Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.
More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.
* * *
Lenders are fearful that many of the 11 million or so homeowners who owe more than their house is worth will walk away from them, especially if the real estate market begins to weaken again. The so-called strategic defaults have become a matter of intense debate in recent months.
Moral hazard -- the risk that parties to a financial transaction won't honor their obligations -- played a major role in the Wall Street crash in the fall of 2008. Now it poses a problem in the jumbo mortgage market: mortgages of $500K on up. Since a lot of these highly leveraged, high end properties lie within the upscale gated communities of Privatopia, they pose a risk for their HOAs as well since these "walk away" homeowners will have no qualms about also walking away from their HOA assessments.
Residents of Hillcrest Village in East Bridgewater learned a hard fiscal lesson when they let one person control the condo association’s money.
The group’s former treasurer, Edward M. Richards, 55, is now charged with embezzling $102,000 from the association.
“To let one person control the money is a horrible idea,” said Bob McBride, CEO of the Dartmouth Group, a condo and property management company based in Bedford, “because people don’t ask the right questions.”
The safest bet for associations – and other groups – is to have more than one person watching the books and sharing responsibility for the money.
“When it comes to finances, you absolutely need to go with a management company,” said Pamela Brown, a unit owner and former condo association trustee at another complex.
Brown is a 27-year resident of Pomponoho Pines Condominiums in East Bridgewater – a 128-unit complex just yards from Hillcrest Village.
I am gobsmacked! There must be something in HOA waters that addles people's thinking.
Millions of dollars have been embezzled by management company employees. As long as HOAs can operate under cover of darkness, embezzlement will be a very real part of association living.
Van Tassell wrote, "It is the feeling of the Board that this covers all of the Americas adequately. It is our request that any La Casa Clubs having a musical group follow this policy."
There are many rules that some of our residents don't care for," said Activity Association secretary Dorothy Freiler Wednesday. "We tried to establish a policy without offending people. Nobody has an objection to the 'Star Spangled Banner.' "
Freiler said the songs "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "America the Beautiful" are more "singable."
" 'The Star Spangled Banner" has a wide range of notes that some people can't reach," she said. "Other patriotic songs are more singable."
Aren't HOAs great? They even choose your music for you so you don't have to. I feel like singing "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood." I wonder if it is on the approved song list in my neighborhood?
Thursday, July 08, 2010
ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. -- A former employee was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for stealing more than $700,000 from homeowners associations in metro Denver.
Stacey Lynn Chevarria, who worked for Vista Management in Westminster, admitted she stole the money, authorities said. She was sentenced in Adams County District Court.
The thefts surfaced in October 2009 when Vista Management President Cindy Combs and her bookkeeper were trying to reconcile bank books and discovered money missing, police said.
More evidence that HOAs need the power to foreclose. Heavens, if they didn't some homeowners might not pay their assessments and that justwouldn't be fair, would it?
Hmmmm, something just isn't quite clicking.
It just keeps getting more and more interesting.
Thanks to Fred Fischer for this story.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
The embezzled money came primarily from association dues and assessments collected from nearly 100 Buck Island homeowners as well as monies set aside by property owners for ongoing maintenance and repair of their homes, the release states.
Let's see, HOAs must have the power to foreclose because without it some owners won't pay their dues which just won't be fair on the other owners. Right? But what about all the money that is embezzled from these same poor homeowners? Why is a million dollars" an isolated incident" but a couple of hundred dollars in unpaid assessments cause for foreclosure?
Interesting commentary on associations and why it is so difficult to get more homeowner friendly laws passed in Texas. Thanks to Bill Davis for the link.
Monday, July 05, 2010
Jon Hansen has lived in Woodstock's Summerchase subdivision for a decade. The disabled army veteran and former law enforcement officer has flown an American flag outside his Summer Point Drive home since moving in.
Here we go again. Oh, when will they ever learn?
This same issue keeps coming up over and over again. When will people, vets or plain old citizens, be allowed to live in peace in their own homes?
Zoom in on the Google Maps satellite view of University Acres in east Orlando, and the rooftops along Charlie Piper's cul-de-sac look like dark-gray, asphalt stepping stones baking in the sun.
Piper wants to change that. She wants to replace her dark roof with a white one that better reflects the sun and conserves energy inside her home.
Her homeowners association, though, disapproves.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A San Diego resident awoke to a shocking discovery: a naked stranger passed out on his downstairs sofa.
San Diego police Lt. Jim Filley says the Pacific Beach homeowner called police after wandering downstairs Sunday morning and finding the snoring man.
Filley says the naked man was drunk and thought he was in his own home in Mission Valley, some 20 miles away.
The man, whose name wasn't released, had taken off his clothes outside the house and walked in through the unlocked front door.
The homeowner declined to press charges. And since the intruder had sobered up, he was released to find his own way home.
Hey, it's summer at the beach in one of America's best beach towns. Whaddya expect?
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.)
That's the only possible explanation.
$#*+%! | If you can't say something nice...
When you string all these bon mots together like this, it is hilarious. Until you realize that he was elected Governor of Illinois, and then re-elected.
A trio of condo developments — one small, one medium and one large — announced price cuts recently as the market readjusts in a post-tax credit market and lenders show their nervousness about the summer selling season.
I guess the realtors will tell us this means it's TIME TO BUY!
A taxing dilemma: Rising property taxes are strangling some homeowners, especially the elderly (With Video)
Pennsylvania is noted for its multiplicity of townships, boroughs, counties and other local government units that along with school districts make for big property tax bills.
When those taxes go up, seniors on fixed incomes feel squeezed. This cohort along with apartment building owners allied in 1978 to pass California's historic Proposition 13 to limit property taxes. That tax revolt spread throughout the nation and is a key driver of local government privatization. Will the Keystone State be the next battleground?
Do you suppose Zogby polled the 26% who did not know when they conducted the CAI "Happiness" polls? Yes? No? What do you think?
It's understandable why residents want local control of fire protection, parks and water. Hundreds of special districts sprouted across California to provide such services.
But there's a disturbing downside to the proliferation of all these fiefdoms, particularly independent special districts that have their own elected boards and run their own affairs.
As the 2009-10 Sacramento County grand jury's final report laid out in excruciating detail, because so many operate outside the same kind of public scrutiny trained on city councils and county boards of supervisors, there's an appalling lack of financial transparency, accountability and oversight.
For the last few years, California stood more or less unchallenged as a symbol of the fiscal collapse of states during the recession. Now Illinois has shouldered to the fore, as its dysfunctional political class refuses to pay the state’s bills and refuses to take the painful steps — cuts and tax increases — to close a deficit of at least $12 billion, equal to nearly half the state’s budget.
Then there is the spectacularly mismanaged pension system, which is at least 50 percent underfunded and, analysts warn, could push Illinois into insolvency if the economy fails to pick up.
----------------And I sincerely believe that the Illinois "dysfunctional political class" will not do anything to pull the state out of its death spiral.