Abandon hope all ye who enter a community controlled by an HOA @ Fines! Fees! Liens! Foreclosure! Owners losing their homes to an HOA!

How can this happen in Texas?     How can this happen in America?  They can't do this, can they?
They can and they do. They are the HOA industry ( NOTE: It is an INDUSTRY ) which has worked to change Texas laws to allow the HOA industry to make yet more money from Texas homeowners.

Homeowners' associations were supposedly created by Real Estate Developers to oversee neighborhood maintenance, and to help developers to efficiently manage and market their properties.

But it often seems that their true purpose in life is to drive homeowners insane. Just listen for this "mantra" they use, the propaganda that HOAs are protecting property values -- definitely a fairy tale, but sadly often blindly believed by homeowners.  In 1980, the Texas Constitutional homestead protection prevented an HOA from foreclosing on a home.  Today, and in fact, since a Texas Supreme Court decision in 1987, the Constitutional homestead protection is ignored for all HOA liens for assessments.  There was no statewide election on an amendment to the Texas Constitution on whether to eliminate the homestead protection.  There was no legislative vote on a new law to eliminate the homestead protection, with the accompanying committee hearings and ultimate governor signature.  There was not even a court hearing where Texas homeowners in general or even one Texas homeowner presented arguments against the loss of the homestead protection.  Texas homeowners lost their homestead protection in a Texas Supreme Court 3-2 decision, that reversed “judgments upholding the homestead protection by the trial court and the court of appeals”, where only the HOA had an attorney and only the HOA presented arguments.  No one argued for the Texas homeowners.

Now, Texas HOAs file thousands of foreclosure actions every year, causing many Texas homeowners either to abandon their homes or to lose their homes at foreclosure sale.  HOA attorneys and HOA management companies reap untold profits every year from these foreclosure actions – all taken from Texas homeowners.

From Lanty Wylie  

After fighting with my board for 3.5 yrs thru legal counsel spending close to $100k, I failed to remove a board. The State Statutes are the most worthless set of laws enacted. The insurer behind the attorney who represents my board KNOWS the board has refused and will not release docs. The CC&R’s are worthless; the ByLaws are worthless. Think an HOA will protect the value of your community? Think again.

Homeowner wins right to park truck in own driveway (Say what?)

A.J. Vizzi spent almost $200,000 in legal fees to fight his HOA, the hilariously named Eagle Masters Association, after it sued him for parking his pick-up truck in his own driveway. In the first go-round at court, Vizzi won—but the HOA, being dicks, appealed. Vizzi prevailed again, however, and the judge awarded him $187,000 to pay his lawyers. After reading about this case, I think there should be a Constitutional amendment that explicitly protects people's right to park in their own driveways.

The Good News (According to Joe O. Westridge Neighbor)

In a news release from his law firm, Anderson said the association will have incurred more than $300,000 in legal fees and costs after paying the Vizzis. He said the Vizzis regret the fact that the homeowners will end up paying the bill, but had no other choice aside from giving in to the association's demands.

Governed by boards of directors homeowners ostensibly chosen by their peers to represent the interests of their communities HOAs are organizations that have become some what infamous for imposing arbitrary fines and liens on unpopular or "rogue" homeowners, making shit up as they go along, treating people unfairly, enforcing strict adherence to their rules, collecting fees, and acting irrationally or illegally. The people who sit on their boards are often petty, vindictive, utterly incompetent, and/or control-freakish. Regardless, anyone who wants to move into a housing development ruled by an HOA has to agree to follow the HOA's rules ”which can prove troublesome for anyone who's even slightly individualistic, or simply laissez-faire about the color of their neighbors' driveways.

And if you somehow end up on the board's bad side by, say, planting an unauthorized flower, or flying your flag on the wrong type of pole, it's likely that your HOA will fine you, lien you, and threaten you with foreclosure just like Jim Lane's HOA did.

“If you want to spend your free time crafting bylaws regarding what color your neighbors paint their houses, what flowers they plant in their yards or what vehicle-types they park in their driveways, that proves you’re too much of a control freak to be trusted with the job.” 

From CONSUMER AFFAIRS:  Buying into an HOA leads to buyer's remorse...Many readers empathized with our recent "HOA horrors" story

Houston TX - FAKE - WANNABE HOA - HOA from Hell #2

Sure, you can decide against moving into a HOA governed development except that in many parts of the country, doing so has become increasingly difficult. More than 80 percent of newly built homes belong to association communities, reports the Associated Press; 24.4 million homes, or 20 percent of all homes in America, are represented by HOAs, with concentrations higher in some states. You can try to look for an HOA whose culture, rules, and members appeal to you but then again, if just one or two board members quit or are replaced, your HOA's culture and rules might become completely different/personally unbearable to you.

And if you somehow end up on the board's bad side by, say, planting an unauthorized flower, or flying your flag on the wrong type of pole, it's likely that your HOA will fine you, lien you, and threaten you with foreclosure.

Example: A North Carolina man who's caught up in a dispute with his HOA because he planted some pansies in a community common area. He "felt the flowers would spruce up the park, which he viewed as unsightly and unkempt," reports the Huntersville Herald. For committing his act of botanical goodwill, the Gilead Ridge Homeowners Association fined him. Then, when he refused to pay, the HOA placed a lien on his house. In the interest of avoiding foreclosure, Lane paid the fine”but he's now suing the HOA for $800,000 for abuse of process and other things. He's also founded a statewide coalition to help other homeowners in his state fight back against their HOAs.

Don't think Lane's HOA "couldn't possibly" take his house just because he didn't pay their fines, because they totally could: "Before now, associations rarely, if ever, foreclosed on homeowners," reports AP. "But today, encouraged by a new industry of lawyers and consultants, boards are increasingly foreclosing on people 60 days past due on association fees."

Evan McKenzie, a University of Illinois-Chicago political science professor and author of the book Beyond Privatopia: Rethinking Residential Private Government, recently explained to me that a complicating aspect of HOA disputes is that they often become personalized, "so you can't even resolve them." When board members interpret the rules to suit their own ends, homeowners often must look to the courts to enforce basic standards of accountability”and that can get expensive. "There's no training or actual requirements" for board positions, McKenzie adds, which means that the people in charge often don't understand the most basic requirements of the law. Many homeowners don't, either.


HOA prevents family whose house burned down from rebuilding on their own property

The Mitchell family of Clearlake, TX lost their home and all of its contents in a fire. They moved into an apartment while swiftly taking actions to build a new house on their property. There was only one thing stopping them: Their homeowners association.

The HOA said the house the Mitchells had selected would not fit into the community, which was built in the early 1960s. The board encouraged the Mitchells to reapply with a different design, but the Mitchells expressed doubt that their designs would ever be accepted.

The Bay Area Citizen reported that, after months of “muddling through” the board’s approval process, the Mitchells got the go-ahead to rebuild on their property. The success came several revisions into the process, however, chipping away at the home the Mitchells really wanted. One proposed blueprint, for example, had been rejected for not having the right brick color, while another was turned down for being too narrow.

After receiving final approval, Jason Mitchell told the the Citizen, “Now hopefully we can get on with our lives.”


HOA tries to evict famous pet pig

This Vietnamese pot-bellied pig from Spring, Texas, is a bit of an Internet celebrity, and even had a live cam capturing his everyday moments.

>Wilbur Sardo’s thousands of Facebook fans, however, couldn’t shield him from his homeowners association.

The controversy came down to semantics: The Sardos saw Wilbur as a “household pet,” but the HOA considered him “livestock,” which isn’t allowed in the community. They wanted him removed from the house within 30 days.

Who was right?

The Sardo family sued the Cypresswood Community Improvement Association—and won. The district court judge ruled in the Sardos’ favor, saying the evidence indicated that Wilbur’s breed was clearly not used for commercial purposes. The judge also issued a general warning to HOAs for ignoring their “responsibilities not to infringe too much on homeowners’ use of their land the way they see fit.”

 Dear Mr. Oliver,

I live in home that is under the guns of an HOA in San Marcos, TX. that charges home owners $65  for a certified letters if they send one which only cost $3.35.  Thief's.

The HOA fines for small weeds in a Xeriscape, which are difficult to remove because the roots attach to the weed-preventing fabric, which doesn’t serve its purpose. Along with the violation letters, they send low quality black and white pictures that don’t show the actual home and the violation in the same picture. I contacted them to let them know the weeds were removed, that the lawn was short and edged, sent them a picture but still they went ahead and charged me 3 more times $65, for a total of $325 for a few weeds.

They argued that all weeds were not removed, but they failed to send clear proof that the weeds belong to my home (they have made wrong accusations in the past about leaving trash bins outside, when they belong to the neighbor). The home is occupied by responsible tenants and I feel awful passing those fines to them, since they say they corrected the issue. I contacted the property manager who sustains the accusations even though they don’t have proof to show that the weeds are actually in my yard.

The fining system of some HOAs is worse than owing money to the IRS. With the IRS one only gets interest. Interest does not accumulate the way HOA fines do. This community keeps charging the same amount for the same violation. One violation can accumulate hundreds of dollars if residents don’t keep the home up to “their standards”, when the standards are not that clear in the CCRs.

The residents are subjected to the interpretation of the ones in power to fine residents.  It is a version of communism.  Next home owners will be sent to mandatory stays at reeducation camps.

Feel free to post.

HOA: Remove your Christmas lights


My HOA is in Houston, TX. I bought my home here 4 years ago and the problems began the first night we moved in. When we went to see the home for a potential purchase, we went during the day time. Little did we know that our HOA had not paid the electric bill for the street lights. We were in the dark for about a good 2 months until the power was finally restored. I wasn’t familiar with HOAs and unable to do anything or speak with anybody.

Once I began to ask what our HOA does for us and how can we fix things the HOA chairman began to completely ignore me. I tried to visit the home Office that is listed online but the whole building is gated and seems to have no entry for anybody. When calling the phone number listed you never get an answer from anyone. I have left numerous messages with no call back at all. I have called his personal cell, the work phone, emails, and I even looked him up on Facebook to try to get something out of him and yet I get no answer at all.

Recently as of August 27th our HOA decided to cancel our trash services. The only reason I found out is because I called them and they said our HOA had canceled. Today is September 7th, 2016, and we have not had any trash picked up because we simply do not know who our new trash provider is. We never received any notice to simply advise us to call and get our services started with whomever we have now. We have no idea what to do at this point and do not know how long our trash will sit on the curb.

What can we do as the residents in order to get this resolved? How can we change things with our HOA? Who can we get involved to help us? How can we remove him of power for this unreasonable control of a community he has?

HOA in San Antonio, would not allow me to replace my roof heavily damaged by spring hailstorms. I applied twice already. The first time they denied the request claiming I was going to use the wrong type of shingles (although I picked the one of the seven types of shingles allowed by HOA). After a week of trying to explain that it is exactly the same listed product, management stated that I need to change the shingle description on application to exactly the same wording as on the approved list. I complied and re-applied. I have not received any confirmation that my application was received and submitted to ACC committee. I tried to follow up. The request form says: “Owners with an email will receive an acknowledgement letter once a complete ACC is received”. I have not received any responses. If in 1 month I will not receive the response my request will be considered denied by HOA rules.
My house desperately needs a new roof ASAP. Every rainy day I get more damage to my house.


HOA Homeowners Accuse HOA Board of Misspending

"Homeowners are at a disadvantage," Daurio said. "Associations have the purse strings, so when you want to fight them, it's nearly impossible!"

 And so you have chaos.

With that in mind, if you live in Westridge: Westridge has a "Civic Association" that has no formal right to do any thing to a home owner or their land or a tenant, period, save exercise a right we all enjoy, request the city enforce the deed restrictions. Enjoy your freedoms that come with freedom from any HOA; the freedom of home ownership and the right to do, within the covenants of the deed restrictions, city ordinances and laws, what ever you choose to do.

I know I will.

Do not let the few control Nazi's who want to bring in a HOA by hook or by crook steal those freedoms from you.

-- Joe Oliver, A Neighbor
Over 68 years on the planet
3321 Rochdale

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