Saturday, February 26, 2011

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Wants a Six-Foot Security Wall Erected Around His Mansion

It's called the Getty House, and apparently, its stumpy rectangular bushes -- all manicured and Tudor-styled -- are not sufficient protection from the, er, elements of the surrounding neighborhood, described by Wikipedia as "small, historic and wealthy."

But no 'hood is small or wealthy enough to protect his royal highness. Much to the dismay of the Windsor Square Association, whose residents generally abide by the city's 42-inch yard-wall limit, Villaraigosa just applied for a six-footer:

This lefty man of the people (he even went to People's College of the Law, after which he failed the bar exam four times) has decided that living in a ritzy community isn't enough. He needs a six foot fence to keep out the proletariat.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nevadans Share Horror Stories Of HOAs

Heather Spaniol said she loved living in a neighborhood with a homeowner's association. But she described the past three years as harassment. Her car was towed twice and she was penalized for putting the trash cans out too early.Spaniol was among dozens of witnesses who testified before the Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. She and others characterized association boards as "The Gestapo" and "cartels."At least 19 bills addressing homeowner associations have been requested this session.
Reforms are also under consideration in Arizona where longtime HOA reform activists George Staropoli and Pat Haruff are once again working to counter community association industry lobbying efforts. In California, two bills that would overhaul the Davis Stirling Common Interest Development Act have been introduced.

The (mandatory) green grass of Privatopia

Homeowners who suffer from brown lawns are being told to dye their lawn green. If they don't, they are in violation of the homeowners association's rules and restrictions, and there could be consequences.

Neighborhood resident Bev McLain said, "We were very surprised that we would have to do this. I've never heard of dying your lawn green. This is our second notice; with the third they threaten to take you to court."
As the perfessor said, you can't make this stuff up. It really happens. Looks like another HOA -- this one in Arizona -- is going to get its turn in the harsh glare of negative media coverage.

News Brief from California Center for Homeowner Association Law re foreclosure prevention workshop

This just came in from Marjorie Murray at the California Center for Homeowner Association Law:

Hi, Evan: Please post CCHAL’s NewsBrief on its foreclosure prevention workshop held Thursday at the University of California Riverside. We had a great turnout!

More than 60 homeowners, Legal Services and private bar attorneys, homeowners, housing counselors and federal officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) came to CCHAL's workshop “Protecting Homeowners from Association Debt Collectors and Foreclosure” on Thursday. Also in attendance was an attorney from one of the biggest association industry law firms in the state -- Fiore Racobs Powers.

The workshop focused on the nuts-and-bolts of the association lien: who records it and why. The association lien has now become an obstacle to homeowners attempting to get a loan modification on their first mortgage. Big lenders like Chase and Bank of America are telling homeowners that unless they get the assessment lien removed, they can’t even get in line to request a loan modification.

A key tool for getting the lien removed can be an affordable payment plan. But one HUD housing counselor reported that she couldn’t get the association lawyer to respond to her multiple requests for a payment plan, much less to give the homeowner an affordable one.

CCHAL routinely gets requests for one-on-one tutorials in the assessment lien from housing counselors and Legal Services attorneys working with HOA homeowners. The goal of Thursday’s workshop was to educate both homeowners and counselors as a group in strategies for removing the lien and/or negotiating an affordable payment plan.

Assessment liens are also an obstacle to short sales [Keyword: SHORT SALES on the CCHAL website.]

What few people understand – whether homeowners or counselors – is that the assessment lien may come to haunt the owner even if the bank forecloses. Workshop trainer Attorney Dan Mulligan explained that, if left unpaid, the assessment debt becomes a personal debt of the homeowner long after the home has been lost.

CCHAL sent a NewsBrief recently about the homeowner sued by Angius & Terry Collections for $11,000 in assessments and collection costs on a home she lost to foreclosure two years ago. The bulk of the figure is actually collection costs – not assessments due the association.

Association debt collectors routinely levy collection costs that are 5-10 times the amount of the assessments owed. There are no statutory caps on collection costs and assessment debt collectors are not regulated.

We hope that the attorney from Fiore Racobs Powers brings this message back to the HOA industry as a whole: its collection practices are injuring homeowners and creating more obstacles to economic recovery. If they themselves don’t reform their business practices, then somebody else might do it for them.

The workshop was held at the University of California Riverside Extension Center. We will soon be posting photos from the workshop on the CCHAL website: in the photo gallery.

CCHAL foreclosure defense workshops are made possible through the support of the California Attorney General's office.

CCHAL NewsBrief
February 20, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Annandale civic association elects dog as president

Annandale civic association elects dog as president:
Dogs have many good qualities. Most of them are loyal, like people, and are housebroken. Can the same be said for all the humans who serve on boards like this?

I wish the Hillbrook-Tall Oaks Civic Association a good year under their new canine overlord. Woof.