Saturday, July 17, 2010

At Mass this morning, there was a reading from Micah, II,1-3

Sent to me from a friend. Am sharing with permission.

"Shame on those who lie in bed planning evil and wicked deeds and rise at daybreak to do them, knowing that they have the power!
They covet land and take it by force; if they want a house they seize it; they rob a man of his home and steal every man's inheritance.

Therefore these are the words of the Lord:
Listen, for this whole brood I am planning disaster...

Goodness! I didn't know the CAI-HOA was active then, too!

Texas HOA property owners outraged over lack of transparency, questionable expenditures

The neighbors wanted everyone to know exactly where their dues were going, so they also presented their findings at a recent HOA meeting that got so out of control some people were threatened with arrests.

"People are outraged," exclaimed Peggy Sue Wilson-Schmueckle. She’s the homeowner leading the fight to rid the association of what she calls gross mismanagement of funds by the board. “Once we uncovered it and did an audit, people were very outraged. They want them [the current board] to resign.”

The information we uncovered explain why the homeowners are so bent out of shape. Records detail board meetings at nice restaurants; meetings that were not open to the public. We also found a document showing a $4,200 expense paid to the board president's son-in-law for brush work he did in the neighborhood. Additional records showed the HOA donated thousands of dollars to random charities. The HOA even gave more than $1,300 to a group of HOA lawyers to help them lobby the legislature.

Florida HOA threatens $100 a day fine for unapproved shade of mulch

Lynn of Davie couldn’t believe her eyes, but a letter from her homeowners association confirmed the worst: She faces a potential $100-a-day fine for having the wrong-colored mulch in front of her house.

Lynn tells me that her problems began when the Association made it known it was displeased that home’s mulch had thinned out too much and needed replacing. To appease the board, Lynn and her husband added new match, but apparently the golden shade of mulch the couple chose was not in accordance with what the Association wants. Thus the ultimatum: Put in new mulch or pay $100 a day until you do.


As the owner of this blog has noted, there seems to be no limit to how frivolous HOAs can be.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Homeowners Associations Get Nasty: Foreclose or Sue to Collect Dues

In 30 states, HOAs have the power to foreclose on homeowners who do not pay up, which has made them even more vilified than the IRS!And now some are resorting to cutting off utilities: A Georgia woman has been living without water for more than a year now, all because she failed to pay her HOA dues.

Texas State Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas), who serves as president of a huge national realty property management firm with $400 million revenue, says the Texas law that permits HOAs to foreclose should not be changed. Tweaked, but not changed. When you sign for your mortgage, he said, you also sign and legally agree to be a part of the homeowners association. That's fair -- you are duly warned and don't have to buy the property if you don't like the association's terms (my words). He advises buyers to read HOA rules carefully before buying. Seek counsel, if necessary. He also says that homeowners who don't pay their share of homeowners association dues force a hardship on other homeowners in the neighborhood, who often have to kick in more for expenses.


Life is so simple, "if you don't like it, move" or better yet, "Don't live there". If you sign your mortgage docs, you agree to be abused, fined, have your water turned off, get evicted from your own home.

And you thought the IRS was the most hated entity in the country.

Ah yes, more happy homeowners Zogby missed - this time around.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sailor faces fine for leasing condo

Homeowner's association charges sailor $10 a day CHEASPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) - For three years, the condo on Rivanna River Reach was home for Mike Lukaszonas.
But when the Navy transferred the helicopter pilot to Florida, he started leasing his home to someone else to help pay for the mortgage. He asked his homeowner's association for permission
"They decided unanimously to vote no," said Mike Lukaszonas, "and the reason was never cited in the letter. They just said denied."


Another genius board at work here.

I wonder if Zogby ever talked to anyone in this haven of happy homeowners?

Power company tells customer she is dead

Power company tells customer she is dead

VIENNA (Reuters) – An Austrian woman has had to convince her electricity supplier that she is alive after the company wrote to her asking for information about her contract following her "passing away."

In a personally addressed letter, the Linz-based company said it had heard of her death through her bank, daily Oesterreich reported on Thursday.

"I am not the dead one," 58-year-old Christine R. wrote back in a fax and email to the company, explaining that it was her neighbor who had died and she was the custodian. She eventually went to the customer center in person to prove her existence.

The Next Foreclosure Fight

CNBC does a segment oh HOA foreclosures. Tom Skiba of CAI defends the HOA's ability to foreclose and Bill Davis does a great job of presenting the other side. You can view the video clip at this link.

HOA Turns Off Marietta Woman's Water

MARIETTA, Ga. - A condominium owner who's been without water for over a year is pleading with the Magnolia Lane Homeowner's Association in Marietta to turn her water back on. Helen Burgess says she is trying to pay off her debt but says the HOA just won't work with her.

Burgess' attorney said if the Magnolia Lane HOA accepted Burgess' offer last year, she would've shaved close to $3,000 off her debt, but now she's added another $3,000.

They're all heart, these HOAs, aren't they? They won't work with her and instead of making it easy, they just make it harder for her.

Here is another happy homeowner Zogby missed. An "isolated incident"? I think not.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On the front lines in Vegas: Economic firefight erupts from residential real estate crash

In Clark County, Nevada there's little tolerance for owners of foreclosed REO (Real Estate Owned) properties who fail to keep them up to county building and HOA standards. Clark County is levying daily fines of $1000 for failure to correct violations of Clark County Code Title 11, the Rehabilitation of Abandoned or Rental Residential Property, according to this Las Vegas Business Press story. The newspaper reports the fines and similar sanctions levied by homeowners associations "have already chased away prospective buyers" who would have to pay them.

The upshot is if REOs aren't maintained and the fines rapidly accumulate into big liens, the properties could ultimately become worthless since the cost to acquire them with the county and/or HOA liens tacked on could reach an appreciable fraction of their already depressed market value.

This is a real economic firefight arising out of the residential real estate crash that could end up with no winners and plenty of casualties. The owners of the REOs would lose and so would Clark County and HOAs with their jurisdictions littered with unmarketable, dilapidated properties.

Mamas don't let your babies grow up to buy condos

Some Orange County condo owners are living with a nasty green swimming pool and large holes in the buildings even though the owners pay more than $250 a month in homeowner association dues.WFTV learned Tuesday that the property managers at the Silver Pines Apartments on Pine Chase Drive (see map) , near Silver Star Road, won't do anything to fix the problems.Brenda Mallard has a nice condo inside, but it's the outside she's worried about.“I'm angry, yes, I am angry because it's ridiculous," Mallard said.Four the past four years, she's seen the place go from bad to worse and she's not the only one who feels that way."It's just bad, man, it's just really bad," condo owner James White said.There are holes under the eaves, you can look straight into the attic at night, and people there say they hear animals running around inside. Then there's the swimming pool, which is filled with green goop. No one has gone swimming there in years.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blagojevich: Musings of ex-governor included Bleep the public, Oprah for senator

CHICAGO -- Former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich may or may not have broken the law, but he sure did hate his job. He reviled his political enemies, mocked many of the candidates for a vacant U.S. Senate seat and disparaged the voters who failed to appreciate his talents.

"Only 13 percent of you all out there think I'm doing a good job. So [expletive] all of you," the salty-tongued Blagojevich (D), referring to poll numbers, said in a secretly taped conversation played at his federal corruption trial.

By the time Democrat Barack Obama had won the White House in 2008, the two-term governor was deeply in debt and obsessed with finding a new job that paid well. He spent as few as two hours a week in the office, sometimes hiding in the restroom to avoid his budget director.


Why is it we manage to elect the worst candidates for leadership positions in this country? Is it because the good leaders don't run for office? Here is another gem!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Economists see U.S. recovery weakening: survey

Economists see U.S. recovery weakening: survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy will lose steam as the year progresses but will not slide back into recession, even though unemployment is unlikely to fall significantly, according to a survey released on Saturday.

The Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey of private forecasters found analysts increasingly glum about the outlook. They now see the economy expanding just 3.1 percent in 2010, down from 3.3 percent in the June poll.

They do not, however, envisage a renewed period of contraction, which has been widely debated in financial markets in recent weeks.

"Our panelists think talk of a double-dip recession is overblown absent a new, major shock," the group said in its report.


One of the more significant parts of this economic story is near the end:

Along with more moderate growth, inflation is expected to remain extremely tame. Forecasters are looking for a 0.9 percent increase in prices for 2010 as a whole, the smallest rise since 1950.


When the economy gets the stuffing knocked out of it to the extent it has over the past three years of 2007-2010, the danger of deflation looms. Think of deflation as reverse inflation. Instead of the cost of goods and services being ratcheted up, prices enter a self reinforcing spiral of decline. Instead of too much money chasing too few goods and services, there’s too little money chasing a plethora of products and services. They become undervalued instead of overvalued.

Unlike in an inflationary economy where people accelerate buying decisions in the hope of beating price increases, in a deflationary economy these decisions are delayed with the expectation that prices will decline and a better deal can be had simply by waiting. With consumers tapped out of credit and many unemployed, waiting becomes far easier. That of course retards economic growth, stalling a speedy recovery.

The last time the economy was tanked by speculation and excess leverage was in the Great Depression of the 1930s. It lasted about ten years. We are in a similar situation today. The decade of 2010-20 could end up as a deflationary “lost” decade that people endure and muddle through until a more sustainable socio-economic environment emerges. The deflationary decade may in retrospect mark the death of an economy driven by excess consumerism, speculation and leverage, a passing necessary to make way for the birth of a new and more sustainable economy.