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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 Jan Bergemann

In the civilized world a crime is a crime is a crime and will be treated as a crime.  Tax payers believe that their tax dollars protect them from ALL crimes and criminals.  Call the police, file a report and leave it in their capable hands.  In general that is true.  But when enormous sums of money are embezzled from condo coffers, why then does it become a "civil matter" and up to the condo owners to hire attorneys and investigate the theft?  Why aren't all crimes treated equally?  And why do we need laws making the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars a crime?  These thefts could lead to the loss of people's homes and their largest assets but they are swept under the rug.  The criminals get away with it and the victims are left helplessly to try to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Jan Bergemann joins us On The Commons.  Jan is a homeowner, an owner advocate and the founder and president of the Florida based Cyber Citizens for Justice.  As an advocate who has seen the abuses and the horrors that occur routinely in residential associations he has an intimate understanding of how and why such hideously outrageous abuses occur.  We'll talk to Jan about a new law that just took affect in Florida - HB 1237 - dubbed, of all things, "the Condo Crime bill".  The bill has many moving parts and addresses a number of insane situations that are so commonplace in condos and homeowner associations but would raise more than eyebrows in a civilized, sane society.   We go through some of the parts to understand why it was necessary to include them.  Some don't require much imagination like attorneys may not represent BOTH the HOA and its management company.  Picture that one in a court of law - arguing both sides of the case!   Any cartoonists want to tackle that one? . . .Listen to Jan Bergemann

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On the Commons with Jonathan Friedrich

First you scare them, then you promise to protect them and then you own them.  Once that is accomplished, perpetrating the biggest consumer scam is a piece of cake.  Buying a few state legislators' assistance, creating a very lucrative stream of "free" income for the municipalities, paving the way for developers to increase their profit margins exponentially seals the deal.  And that is how simple it has been to force housing consumers into HOAs where they can be robbed of their homes, their wealth and health and their peace of mind.  The lies that have been repeated over the decades to scare prospective homeowners appear to have become universally accepted truths.  After all, if you keep hearing the same thing over and over again, if must be true, right?  However, the one thing that is true is that non HOA controlled housing is almost nonexistent in most of the country.  So being told that the house you are buying is in a mandatory membership homeowner association is no surprise. 

Jonathan Friedrich joins us On The Commons.  When he retired, Jonathan left New York in search of lower property taxes and moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where he bought a house that needed a lot of work.  He rolled up his sleeves and got to work.  When he bought the house he was given an HOA disclosure package which contained a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions commonly known as CC&Rs.  Jonathan's concern was getting away from crippling property taxes and not so much HOAs.  His focus was fixing the house he had just bought and making it habitable. He also became involved in his new community.  And that's when the imperfections of his association and association living in general started rising to the top.  He dealt with all the usual insanity that seems to go along with HOAs which not so surprisingly led to the court house.  After 5 long years in court, Jonathan won his case.  But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details and to truly appreciate the win one has to hear the details of his story, in his own words.  The twists, the turns, the lies, the misrepresentations made along the way should alert consumers of what to look for and where to look when buying a house.  There may be more to come as Jonathan is not finished cleaning up the mess. Stay tuned.    


Jonathan also has a web page 
HOA Corruption - Check it out. . . . Listen to Jonathan Friedrich


Tell us your stories in

your own words 

 

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