Saturday, July 16, 2011

HOA Horror Stories: NASCAR driver, Raleigh mom call for more oversight

A tale of trouble out of the South that follows the usual story line elements:

1. We didn't realize there was an HOA.
2. We didn't know HOAs have the power to foreclose for pennies on the dollar.
3. Legislative reform: there needs to be better consumer disclosure, more controls on HOA powers.
4. Rinse, repeat, every 5 years in every state.


Anonymous said...

"Legislative reform: there needs to be better consumer disclosure, more controls on HOA powers."

I've seen a lot of good proposals for limitations on HOA powers. However, I think that it is going to be hard to convince legislators, or even voters, to adopt a long laundry list of much needed ideas.

Instead, I think all we need is a "Right To Own Your Own Home" law, which would prohibit mandatory membership in an HOA union as a condition of home ownership.

Even conservatives and libertarians, who are going to oppose any government regulation of HOAs (except when it comes to the American flag), the idea of "Right To Own Your Own Home" is based on the conservative and libertarian idea of "Right To Work" laws, which prohibit mandatory membership in a labor union as a condition of employment.

Contract Requiring or Prohibiting HOA Union Membership Void
A contract is void if it requires that, to own home, homeowners or potential home buyers:
(1) must be or may not be members of an HOA union; or
(2) must remain or may not remain members of an HOA union.

Once homeowners can opt-out of an HOA at any time without having to give up their house, most of the other problems will take care of themselves.

This is not a radical idea. The above proposal is based on Texas 101.053, "Contract Requiring or Prohibiting Labor Union Membership Void." Anyone who follows conservative and/or libertarian pundits is aware that Texas's "Right To Work" environment is being hailed as a model for economic growth. And earlier this year, the Republican Party introduced a "National Right-To-Work" Bill in the U.S. Senate (Fox News. March 09, 2011)

GOP senators in Washington said national legislation is needed to stop the "strong-arm tactics" they claim HOAs are using to compel new homeowners into joining their ranks. They introduced the National Right-To-Own-Your-Own-Home Act Tuesday.

"No American should be forced to join an HOA union and pay dues to get a house in this country," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said in a statement. "Many Americans are already struggling just to put food on the table, and they shouldn't have to fear losing their homes or face discrimination if they don't want to join an HOA union. Forced-HOA-unionism shields HOA unions from member accountability and has a detrimental effect on the economy."

Opponents of right-to-own-your-own-home legislation say the proposals would lower property values and hurt homeowners.

And this:

Al Franken made a late appearance and demonstrated, once again, why Saturday Night Live suits him better than the United States Senate. Franken got angry and said it is untrue that anyone is ever forced to join an HOA. He obviously never tried to buy a house built within the past 30 years, unaware that municipalities have been mandating the creation of HOAs. In all states, the law require homeowners to be members of an HOA if the developers created one. Senator Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) quipped, in response to Franken’s error, that you wouldn’t have to join an HOA unless “you wanted to own your own home.”

Fred Pilot said...

HOAs are not voluntary organizations like unions so unless your suggestion was tongue in cheek, the metaphor doesn't work.

Since public policy has favored the privatization of local government in the form of HOAs, opting out of HOA membership is about as impractical as opting out of municipal or county jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

"HOAs are not voluntary organizations like unions"

Funny. Conservatives and libertarians will tell you the exact opposite: labor unions are not voluntary organizations, while HOAs are completely voluntary.

I've just set up a web site, , that will go into this in more detail.

Because I'm having some strange issue, either with DNS or with Google Apps (which hosts the site), click here for now, until I can get this problem fixed.