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Showing posts from April, 2015

Q/A: When handicap parking is blocked for HOA resident

At our HOA in Southern California's Inland Empire, the issue of handicap parking with residential areas is a non-issue, but that is not true in other communities that don't have private driveways and wide off-street parking. The issue of handicap parking for HOAs has been visited by the courts and the decision is often not favorable to the petitioner.

[View the story "Parking handicaps in HOAs" on Storify]

"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." ~Truman Capote #dailyqotd#qotd— Mike Foxworth (@ALTALOMAN) April 30, 2015

Twitter chirps with HOA comments

Chances are the local press is not noted for coverage of HOA matters for whatever reason, but social media doesn't have the same inhibition of covering the affairs of private governments.  How do we know?  Well, here is a trilogy of clips at the top of today's Twitter search for matters HOA:
Agoura Hills man says HOA fined him for installing artificial turf in response to drought
— KTLA (@KTLA) April 23, 2015
Don't Let Your HOA Get Itself Boxed In via @RealtyTimes
— Real Estate & Homes (@REI_247) April 28, 2015
Dallas #HOA Still Affected by Internal Strife ~
— Ward Lucas (@Ward_Lucas) April 29, 2015

[View the story "Twitter chirps with HOA comments" on Storify]

Sources to help track RE values today

According to the National Association of REALTORS©, nearly 80% of consumers search online for real estate today. For one location of leads and real estate data visit to request a free personalized home market evaluation. Of course, any type of real estate search on the web is certain to produce countless resources for both buyers and sellers.

[View the story "Selling, buying a home: Value finders" on Storify]

FICO ends restrictions on sharing credit scores and reports by consumer financial counseling organizations.
— REALTORS® (@REALTORS) April 28, 2015

Feds get more control in HOA foreclosures

Like my HOA (a 55+ community in Southern California's Inland Empire), a majority of your neighbors probably purchased their dwellings with cash or with conventional financing. Not many (if any) required, or were even allowed the option of government-backed financing. So this 'social current see' may not be relevant for your situation.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is an independent federal agency created as the successor regulatory agency resulting from the statutory merger of the Federal Housing Finance Board, the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development government-sponsored enterprise mission team, absorbing the powers and regulatory authority of both entities, with expanded legal and regulatory authority, including the ability to place government sponsored enterprises into receivership or conservatorship.

[View the story "HOA foreclosure complications" …

No relief in the 'drats' and 'rats' of HOA CC&Rs

Conflicts between members (homeowners) and HOA boards over excessive restrictions or the unfair enforcement of CC&Rs is legendary in common interest developments (CIDs). In California, the state with the second highest number of HOAs (just behind Florida), these enforcement policies are being tested by the long-running California drought. The 'social current see' that follows details some examples of this conflict.

[View the story "No drought of conflict in HOA matters" on Storify]

"Once you choose hope, anything's possible." ~Christopher Reeve #dailyqotd#qotd
— Mike Foxworth (@ALTALOMAN) April 24, 2015

Desert HOAs may lead CA to drought solutions

Will desert landscaping soon become the norm for your HOA, perhaps every HOA in California due to the extended drought?

Out in the Southern California desert communities where rain has always been sparse, some trailblazing reformations are being done to advance water conservation and transform landscapes into drought-tolerant scenery.

In the reports and 'social current see' that follows, one account offers the success story of Sunshine landscape operator Tim Salvador who said the company's construction division has doubled in size in the past two years, from 15 to 30 people, strictly to handle lawn-to-desertscape conversions. He thinks the company tears out about five condominium or single-family home lawns every week.

[View the story "Will CA HOA golfers hit the 'browns'?" on Storify]

"Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience."... #dailyqotd#qotd…

Pest removal is no circus

All of us have driven through neighborhoods and spotted the large, circus-type tents covering a home or two. Perhaps you have even had the same covering temporarily placed over your dwelling for pest mitigation. New technologies are now available, but the most common pest extermination method remains tenting. The topic prompted the following assembly of 'social current see,' a comment archive on topic.

[View the story "HOA pest extermination 101" on Storify]

"He who is afraid to ask is ashamed of learning." ~Danish Proverb #dailyqotd#qotd
— Mike Foxworth (@ALTALOMAN) April 21, 2015

CC&R changes take planting, cultivation

When it comes to the CC&Rs (covenants, rules, and conditions) around an HOA, the first legal documents to be drafted and submitted by the developer are those bylaws and CC&Rs. These are also the hardest to change because vote of the membership is required and that process can be time consuming and costly. That's why these documents are changed so seldom, particularly when state laws change, it can time much time for HOA CC&Rs to reflect those changes, notably in the area that is highlighted in this 'social current see'...


Some associations try to make rules for common areas only. Others attempt to address common areas and individual units. Still, others make no effort to address the issue anywhere at all.

[View the story "Is your HOA going to pot?" on Storify]

"The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." ~Chine... #dailyqotd#qotd
— Mike Foxworth (@ALTALO…

When searching for matters HOA

When a BING search for 'social current see' for things HOA produced the following results, I immediately was struck by the location, Falls Church, Virginia.  That location rang a bell because it is also the headquarters location of the Association for Hospital Philanthropy (AHP), of which I was a member for most of the 40 years working in hospital development.  A relatively small city (about 13,000 as of 2013), Falls Church proximity to Washington, D.C., makes it an attractive location for the headquarters of national trade associations.

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) is a trade association and special interest group headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, with about 60 chapters in the United States that provides "education and resources to the volunteer homeowners who govern community associations", and petitions for legislative and regulatory beneficence for its members.

[View the story "HOA Hubs 2015" o…

Left coast conversations are 'high and dry' on this topic

No topic in the State of California is more top-of-mind than the current, long drought for Southern California. Nightly news reports on every media outlet offer information, details about political efforts to mandate water conservation across all segments of the population. Time will tell if these efforts bring relief, but only Mother Nature, a significant climate shift will bring rain. Almost caught as a pawn in the crisis are the 6-million-some residents of common interest developments (CIDs) or HOAs with their specific covenants, conditions, and regulations that mandate green lawns and surroundings. No doubt, we are at a point when those requirements will change.

[View the story "Climate change in HOA and beyond" on Storify]

Florida again fails to find homeowner safeguards for HOAs

It is true in California, Florida, and probably all across the USA:  HOA laws are difficult to pass, particularly when these laws or changes to existing laws are advocated by homeowners and members, not the HOA boards, managers, and attorneys who represent HOAs.  The Florida case is proof enough for that observation.

[View the story "Lawyer up if your address is HOA FLA" on Storify]
Outlet Section - Find discounted items up to 60% OFF only at

HOA 'democracy' at work

Now (through annual meeting date of May 16) is election season for our California Inland Empire HOA with about 1317 members (homeowners). Unfortunately, last year the voter turnout was only 477, or about 36 percent of the electorate.  Despite some contentious and controversial stands by the board in the last couple of years, member apathy, angst, and anger remain a key factor for the political scene in our community.  No doubt, this situation is typical for most HOAs out there.

[View the story "HOA Board elections trigger inspection" on Storify]

No news is good news for most HOAs

As a rule, HOAs (homeowner associations) are nothing more than a group of homeowners who live and conduct their lives under a group of CC&Rs, covenants, conditions, and restrictions.  Have you noticed how little news is found in the general press about HOAs?  For the most part, the local, regional, and national press avoids these stories for unknown reasons.  This is true despite the fact that ...

The fastest growing form of housing in the United States today is common-interest development (CID), a category that includes planned unit developments of single-family homes, condominiums, and cooperative apartments. Since 1964, HOAs have become increasingly common in the USA. The Community Associations Institute trade association estimated that HOAs governed 24.8 million American homes and 62 million residents in 2010.

[View the story "The H-spot for HOAs" on Storify]

Who, what controls your HOA?

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Michael Crichton, with a screenplay written by Crichton and David Koepp. The film centers on the fictional Isla Nublar, an islet located off Central America's Pacific Coast, near Costa Rica Nicaragua border, where a billionaire philanthropist and a small team of genetic scientists have created a wildlife park of cloned dinosaurs.

So what does the Spielberg creation have to do with HOAs?  Probably not much except that roaming the confines of the latter are a variety of creatures who take special handling.

[View the story "Is your HOA a 'Jurassic Park'?" on Storify]

Caps coming for HOA foreclosure legal fees?

Apparently, the true champion here may be politician Roland Gutierrez is a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives.  He is spearheading an effort to cap legal fees in that state for HOA foreclosures.  Often, these fees are excessive and the tipping point that brings foreclosure, not the actual delinquency of HOA fees.

Also see,
VIDEOS on topic +

Flip②▶STORIFYFLIPBOARDBLOGGER[View the story "Happy ending for TX HOA foreclosure" on Storify]

Not to be confused with The Masters

If you have visited this site before, you know that the chief moniker for ALTACITIES is "Common Interest Developments - MORE than HOAs", so what is the MORE part?

I will spare you the details of all of the topics and just share (for now) that one of those topics is golf, given that I am a charter member of SCAGA (the rules follow).

And as a rule, on any given day you can find countless numbers of golf tournaments in play around the world, including today's start (April 9) of the 2015 Masters.  Not to be confused with The Masters in Augusta, GA, is a little event I will participate in tomorrow:  The Corona Cup, just four golfing buddies who occasionally get together for a friendly round of competition under the rules you will see described below.
[View the story "RULES OF GOLF" on Storify]

Water everywhere, but not on land

Rainmakers and thought leaders abound with ideas and suggestions to deal with the current California drought, but not a one of them can make rain magically appear. Instead, all that we read, for the most part, has to do with what caused the problem (too much population in an historical and perpetual arid land). Just to the left of the West Coast is an abundant supply of water, but the resolve to tap into that source with the technology we already have at our disposal is decades away and some say this will never happen.  Is that true?
[View the story "Right coast vs Left coast and 'CA Dry'" on Storify]

CPK chief on CA drought

For a long time, one of our favorite places to eat has been California Pizza Kitchen (CPK), a popular chain in this area, although we now have to drive to Orange County, Temecula, or Rancho Cucamonga if we are to enjoy their menu.  But this post is not really about that business, but the universal concern about the ongoing and never-ending California drought.
[View the story "CPK chief on CA drought" on Storify]

Our CA HOA lawns and parkways are about to be DOA

One of the major perks of living in a homeowners association may soon become as extinct as the rain gauge at the local weather station. That, of course, is a reference to green lawns and common spaces that surround these communities. In fact, if there has ever been a significant perk for living in an HOA, it is the way in which these communities typically care for these green spaces. This era may soon live no more.

[ALERT] April 1, 2015 - Following the lowest snowpack ever recorded and with no end to the drought in sight, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced actions that will save water, increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use, streamline the state's drought response and invest in new technologies that will make California more drought resilient.  Read More
[View the story "Parched landscapes tarnish CA gold" on Storify]

The film your HOA doesn't want you to see

Now two years after initial release, the film HOAX follows an investigative reporter, homeowners, and HOA reform activists as they illustrate shocking evidence of financial and psychological hardships throughout Texas and Nevada. A few of these people, including the filmmaker, are the subject of adverse actions from the very homeowners associations created to help them.

Prior to this production, in 2006, Rodney Gray produced and directed the documentary short, A Tenant’s Action, that explored the humiliation and fear of retaliation from landlords, he and other tenants have gone through as a lived experience in Philadelphia, PA. This documentary showed tenants as underdogs, standing up against private and corporate landlords who take their money, bullies them, and at times puts their lives in danger with inadequate maintenance, unsanitary conditions, and fire code violations. This documentary won a Freese Foundational Award at Temple University in 2006.
[View the story "HOAx ~ As…

Not my first look at HOA reading material

Next to New Year's Day (Jan 1), no first day of the month stands out like April 1, aka April Fool's Day.  In western culture, the day is usually marked by some practical jokes and whimsy played on family and associates.  Generally, this is a 24-hour period set aside from serious matters, although plenty will take exception to that.  Not meaning to disrupt the spirit in which this day is intended, I am offering the following ...
[View the story "HOA reader: 1 not just for 4/1/15" on Storify]

Democracy on review at HOA committees

Back in August 2012, our first experience to attend an HOA open forum when the HOA legal counsel was invited to address homeowners for the Board did not go so well.

That is, an attorney representing the long-time counsel for the HOA came to the meeting solely to help put disgruntled homeowners in this place after the board had made a controversial, unpopular decision.

Essentially (I paraphrase), the attorney explained: "The HOA is not a democracy and there was nothing that homeowners could do to override the board decision."

As it turns out, something was done about 18 months later when, after mediation, the decision was reversed and homeowner democracy prevailed.
Another area in which democracy is prevalent in HOAs has to do with committee work.

If these volunteer groups did not follow a democratic model, why would a homeowner volunteer for the role?
[View the story "R&RC has pivotal HOA role" on Storify]