Evan McKenzie on the rise of private urban governance and the law of homeowner and condominium associations. Visit evanmckenzie.wikispaces.com for my published articles and services.
Evan McKenzie wrote ... "I think if owner activists tried to link their causes with those of other interest groups that have larger concerns and broader constituencies, such as consumers, seniors, affordable housing advocates, for example, it would make their activism more effective" (03/15/2016).Seniors living on a fixed income are especially hard hit by these out-of-control increases. Perhaps this is an opportunity for self-appointed H.O.A. activists to work with groups such as A.A.R.P. to lobby for meaningful reform.
Another group that H.O.A. reform activists might want to ally with are anti-tax groups. This is a bit counter-intuitive and will be harder, since anti-tax activists tend to believe in the same anti-consumer pro-corporate pro-privatization ideologies that support H.O.A.-burdened housing. But there are some points to consider-- double taxation : Owners of H.O.A.-burdened housing are subsidizing the property taxes of non-H.O.A. owners, in the form of H.O.A. fees.-- I am told that there are court cases that treat H.O.A. assessments more like taxes than contractualy agreed fees ; i.e., owners don’t have the right to withhold payment for contractual violations or non-service by the H.O.A. corporation, and/or assessments can be raised by amounts above permitted by the “contractually agreed to” governing documents. This will take some research.-- Conservatives and libertarians often argue something like “since your house can be foreclosed by the evil government to collect property taxes, even after the mortgage is paid off, you never really own your home”. As regular readers of this blog are well aware, the same is true of H.O.A. assessments. And H.O.A. corporations are much more aggressive about foreclosure. Suggested talking point: “You don’t own your home, you’re merely licensing it from the H.O.A. corporation”.-- In 2006, the Larimer County Colorado Republican Party adopted “Resolution # 24 - Homeowners Associations (HOA) Accountability” (here):“Whereas… Homeowners associations are prevalent and their actions impact property values, property rights, living environment, and personal rights of the residents; and many of the HOA’s have abused their power, disobeyed the law, and generally acted in ways harmful to their members and have failed to meet their fiduciary duties:”“Therefore let it be Resolved… That the Larimer County Republican Party urge the Colorado General Assembly to cause HOA's to be legally accountable to their members such that members harmed by the HOA’s action can take pro se legal action through the court to recover damages, remove board members, and apply the same level of accountability generally expected of all levels of government.”It’s about as toothless and poorly thought out as what usually comes from whatever it is that calls itself an H.O.A. reform movement. But it does show that even some who are actually active in the G.O.P. are aware that there is a problem.
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