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Welcome to On the Commons!

Image On The Commons is a weekly radio show, dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding homeowner associations (HOAs) and condominiums.  It is broadcast live from WEBR, Fairfax, Virginia and available on this web site.

Join us as we explore the world of homeowner associations and condominiums, which are the fastest growing form of residential development in America today.  This housing concept includes homeowner associations, condominiums, cooperatives, and both attached and detached single-family homes.  Unfortunately this type of housing is not as utopian as its advocates would have us believe.  Living in a homeowner association means giving up a part of the American dream.  It means giving up Constitutional rights and control over one’s most valuable asset - one’s home.

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 "Property in a thing consists not merely in its ownership and possession, but in the unrestricted right of use, enjoyment, and disposal. Anything which destroys any of the elements of property, to that extent, destroys the property itself. The substantial value of property lies in its use. If the right of use be denied, the value of the property is annihilated and ownership is rendered a barren right."  --- Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard B Sanders

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Its Here! 

The new On The Commons  podcast site

Seven years of easy to find On the Commons Podcasts 

 

The Curent Show

On the Commons with John Cowherd

A simple concept:  Get homeowners to pay for neighborhood infrastructure and municipal services -TWICE - has morphed into a massive costly mess, making life even more complicated, unfair and intolerable.  No longer do we live in real communities, where neighbors are friends and can be counted on to be there for each other.  Instead the chap next door feels duty bound to spy on neighbors and to report any perceived problem, great or small, real or imagined to the neighborhood Junta.  In this brave new world the balance of power is tilted away from the individual and because of the politics involved with associations, individuals in the unenviable position of having to defend themselves are isolated, intimidated and belittled.  

Slowly, very slowly, the scales are starting to tip the other way. First there was one, then two, then another one and one more and even more attorneys are beginning to realize that their hearts really are on the side of the homeowners.  

John Cowherd joins us On The Commons this week.  John is a young attorney who has practiced real estate law in Northern Virginia for about a decade.  In his practice he has represented homeowners in HOAs as well as handled other real estate related cases.  He is well versed in the Virginia Property Owners and Condo Acts as well as Fair Housing, Fair Debt Collections and other related topics.  John is going into practice for himself where the focus of his practice will be on homeowners.  We talk about the existing laws that apply to homeowners in associations, we discuss the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and property values.  John also maintains a blog called Words of Conveyance .  Check it out, tune in to the show and stand up for your rights and those of your neighbors, because you really don't have to take it any more.    Listen to John Cowherd    

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On the Commons with David Russell

Confucius said,  "The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home". Given the lack of integrity in residential America and the ill health of our homes, I would say the strength of our nation is in serious jeopardy.  We have talked about the health risks of stress on our bodies, the problems with living in leaky, moldy and poorly constructed housing, the financial affects of mismanaged associations, the assault on our individual and private property rights and the absolutely abusive and unfair conditions we are raising our children in. I think it is fair to say we have a lot of problems. 

It is time to learn how to deal with all these problems and to find a way out of the abyss so we can start rebuilding our homes and strengthening our nation.  

Dave Russell joins us On The Commons this week.  Dave is a manager in Arizona who works hard to make sure that the rules in his condo association are adhered to while ensuring that individual and private property rights are respected and not trampled in the process.  Dave acknowledges that it can be a delicate balancing act but he assures us that it can be done.  He also admits there is precious little adult supervision once an association is developed and sold to real people but he reminds us that we do have some help out there.  We talk about at least one Federal law that is designed to protect some of our most vulnerable neighbors - the Fair Housing Act.  Dave explains the law, how it relates to the controlled developments, shares some great ideas and tools and tells us about free training and how to file a complaint if necessary.  This won't fix all the problems with the HOA concept but if it makes inroads into augmenting the integrity of our homes, we might help strengthen our nation as well.   Listen to David Russell    

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