Monday, April 10, 2017

YOU ASK. WE INVESTIGATE. Family debating HOA over Christmas wreath fine - Story

YOU ASK. WE INVESTIGATE. Family debating HOA over Christmas wreath fine - Story: "LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - A man living in the Arroyo Canyon subdivision near the 215 Beltway and Hualapai Way says his homeowners association is threatening to fine him $100 over a decorative wreath.

Milan Thakkar says his wife picked out the wreaths to decorate their front door and make it less plain. They say it's not a Christmas wreath, but their HOA sent a letter claiming they violated a rule that holiday decorations have to be taken down within 30 days of the holiday.

"It's petty. ... I can take it down in 2 seconds. ... It's the principle of it," he says."


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So there is a "principle" involved with displaying Christmas decorations in Las Vegas in April.

4 comments:

IC_deLight said...

They aren't Christmas wreaths and a "hearing" before a non-governmental corporate board is laughable. "Hearings" are before independent tribunals. The HOA board is not a tribunal and it is certainly not independent.

robert @ colorado hoa . com said...

Evan McKenzie wrote…So there is a ‘principle’ involved with displaying Christmas decorations in Las Vegas in April.

IC_deLight said…They aren't Christmas wreaths

IC is correct. Not all wreaths are Christmas wreaths. For example, the retail store Target sells wreaths as “home accents and decor”, not “holiday decorations”.

The principle involved is the right of the home owner to use and enjoy his property, and it’s sad to see you of all people mocking him for that.

Conversely, there is another “principle” at stake: the effectively unlimited authority and power and right of an H.O.A. corporation to bully, harass, intimidate, and terrorize home owners at will, all backed with the threats of fines, liens, and foreclosure. There's a simple solution to that problem, but apparently nobody is interested in it...

robert @ colorado hoa . com said...

his homeowners association is threatening to fine him $100 over a decorative wreath.

There’s a way to eliminate these type of conflicts: H.O.A. corporations should be prohibited by law from enforcing restrictive covenants on an owner’s personal property, and prohibited by law from issuing fines to home owners, regardless of what is written in the governing documents of the H.O.A. corporation.

This idea is so simple, I have no idea why whatever it is that calls itself an H.O.A. reform movement hasn’t been lobbying for this.

Prohibiting H.O.A. fines would not eliminate restrictive covenants. An individual home owner who believes he has been “damaged” by a neighbor’s violation of the covenants would still be free to bring suit against the offending neighbor. But there would be significantly important differences from the current system:

-- the plaintiff owner could not claim fines to be monetary damages

-- the plaintiff owner could not claim fines to be a “debt” owed by the defendant owner

-- the plaintiff owner would actually have to demonstrate and quantify monetary damages if suing for some dollar amount; otherwise the most a plaintiff owner could sue for would be a Court Order for the defendant owner to comply with the covenants

-- the plaintiff owner would not be able to compel his neighbors to fund the lawsuit against their wishes

-- the plaintiff owner would have to pay for his own legal costs up front, the same as defendant owners currently do

-- the plaintiff owner would still be free to persuade his neighbors to join the suit, or at least contribute to the legal costs

-- the plaintiff owner would not be able to act anonymously (see “It’s Your Neighbors, Stupid!” by Tyler Berding, 05/21/2011).

-- the plaintiff owner would not be able to “hide behind the corporate veil”; as a result, there would be more “equality before the law” (unlike the current farce, where officers and managers and attorneys of an H.O.A. corporation can repeatedly violate the law and a judge’s Court Orders, plural, without being held accountable in any way, because it was legal-fiction-person-corporation that committed the violations; I speak from extremely bitter personal experience)

-- unlike an H.O.A. corporation, and its mangers and attorneys, the plaintiff owner would be subject to the same ethical, moral, and social pressures that the defendant owner is; and thus have incentive to behave in a more “neighborly” manner

-- unlike an H.O.A. corporation, and its managers and attorneys, the plaintiff owner would not have the same perverse incentives, moral hazards, and profit motives to engage in destructive and expensive litigation for trivial reasons

With the H.O.A. industry’s power to enforce restrictive covenants on an owner’s personal property and to fine home owners taken away, individual owners would still be free to assume responsibility for enforcing the covenants themselves, by suing their neighbors. But most normal and sane and community-minded people aren’t going to do that, unless it is for some reason that is really damn important.

robert @ colorado hoa . com said...

robert @ colorado hoa . com said …Here’s an exercise for the reader : Try to fit whatever it is you want to convey onto a single 8 1/2“ x 11” page. It can be background information, description of the problem, proposals for change, or a combination thereof. It doesn’t matter. Just try to fit it onto one page.” (03/30/2017)

Per my challenge in the earlier discussion about H.O.A. activism (at “HOA Critics: Proposed Missouri Legislation Won’t Protect Homeowners”, see also “Census Data Show HOAs Present Few Economic Benefits”), I created a (slightly modified) version of my comment above into a one-page PDF document. The file is about 60 KB.

- without logo, here
- with logo, here

It is suitable for printing, sending to your elected representative, handing out at political rallies, community events, or framing and proudly displaying in your home or office.

If anybody has any ideas on how to make it better, or notices any mistakes, I am open to suggestions.