Sunday, October 27, 2019

How Did You Get into The HOA Mess?

Florida’s Feudal Kingdom Law

Tampa Bay, Fl
Opinion by:  Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

Reasons for HOAs
In existence since the 1960s, HOAs were developed for a multitude of reasons, including the following: They helped developers by allowing them to transfer the day-to-day operations of their properties to an association of the property homeowners once a certain percentage of homes were sold.
By Jake Mitchell of Credit Donky: 23 Reasons Why Homeowners Associations are Good
Florida Statute 720 is the primary guiding law for the establishment and operation of Homeowners and Condo associations.
720.302 Purposes, scope, and application.—
(1) The purposes of this chapter are to give statutory recognition to corporations not for profit that operate residential communities in this state, to provide procedures for operating homeowners’ associations, and to protect the rights of association members without unduly impairing the ability of such associations to perform their functions.
(2) The Legislature recognizes that it is not in the best interest of homeowners’ associations or the individual association members thereof to create or impose a bureau or other agency of state government to regulate the affairs of homeowners’ associations. However, in accordance with s. 720.311, the Legislature finds that homeowners’ associations and their individual members will benefit from an expedited alternative process for resolution of election and recall disputes and presuit mediation of other disputes involving covenant enforcement and authorizes the department to hear, administer, and determine these disputes as more fully set forth in this chapter. Further, the Legislature recognizes that certain contract rights have been created for the benefit of homeowners’ associations and members thereof before the effective date of this act and that ss. 720.301-720.407 are not intended to impair such contract rights, including, but not limited to, the rights of the developer to complete the community as initially contemplated.
Disclosure: Comments here are presented without individual references for obvious reasons. They are taken from social media, Reddit, Facebook and other similar sources.
I've never heard of someone having a good experience with an HOA. I understand they were originally to keep property values up but I've heard lately they can bring them down because people don't want to deal with the HOA. So why do they still exist? Is it possible to live in a neighborhood and disband one?
My neighborhood had one and decided to do away with it and right after that one of my neighbors started a pig farm in his yard. So things like that could be a reason.
That said, I like the pigs better than the HOA.

There’s probably a reason why “Two-thirds of people who live in the jurisdiction of a homeowners association” have a negative opinion of them“19% have been in what they call a ‘war’ with their HOA““54% of respondents said they’d rather live with a ‘sloppy neighbor’ than deal with an HOA”“78% of those responding to the poll said they might consider NOT buying a home because it would be under the jurisdiction of an HOA”

Because HOAs have a tendency to devolve into petty tyrannies run by busybodies who arbitrarily limit the esthetic choices of someone who ostensibly owns a home and the land it's on. Which usually leads to bland, soulless, cookie-cutter neighborhoods with 3 or 4 different shades of brown and beige trim and all the same fences, sourced from the HOA president's brother-in-law, who happens to be the only authorized fence installer.

HOAs can also become feifdoms, with power-hungry cliques taking over control of a neighborhood through HOA board seats. HOAs can be the source of much drama and nepotism. As HOAs are private organizations, they are not subject to the same open meetings laws and rules that municipalities employ in their governance. They can suck the joy out of home ownership all in the name of "preserving property value".

But the problem is not just the board members and their petty authoritarianism that we so frequently hear about. Those folks are just the public front, and often puppets. There is an entire industry of property managers, specialized attorneys, and other vendors that has come into existence to feed off of home owners, because the law is so incredibly weighted against the home owners in H.O.A. corporations that the home owners are essentially powerless.

HOAs suck because they have almost limitless power and aren't required to provide any sort of due process. Living under a powerful HOA that's out to get you is like living under a totalitarian regime that has the power to ruin you financially with arbitrary fees and liens. I will never again in life purchase a property that's under the jurisdiction of an HOA, even if it means living in the middle of a swamp. Give me liberty or give me a lease!

From Kathy Price-Robinson. “Two-Thirds ‘Annoyed’ With HOA, Survey Says” Two-thirds of people who live in the jurisdiction of a homeowners association are "annoyed" by them, or worse, and 19% have been in what they call a "war" with their HOA. This is according to a survey of more than 3,000 customers by Service Magic.

On the upside, 24% responded positively about HOAs. However, while a primary purpose of HOAs is to force neighbors to keep up the appearance of their homes, 54% of respondents said they’d rather live with a “sloppy neighbor” than deal with an HOA. Here are the results to this question:

What is your opinion of homeowners associations?

They’re great 8%
They’re okay 16%
Minor annoyance 21%
Major headache 48%
No opinion 7%

Plus, 78% of those responding to the poll said they might consider NOT buying a home because it would be under the jurisdiction of an HOA.

End of Comments

I personally have never been in a conversation about HOAs when someone bragged about how wonderful their HOA is.

I will continue our trip through Florida Statute 720 in the next post.

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