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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 Deborah Goonan
Little boxes on the hillside, 
Little boxes all the same,
And they are all made out of ticky tacky,
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes,
And they came out all the same.

Melvina Reynolds' lyrics, written before ticky tacky little boxes were mass produced, were prophetic.  They perfectly capture the sense of soulless little boxes, all the same, all made of ticky tacky.  Any attempt to add a little personality or any deviation from the uniformity of the little boxes made of ticky tacky is not tolerated. And so the little boxes just keep multiplying like rabbits.  

The latest statistics from the Community Association Institute (CAI) is that 64 million people live in these little boxes and pay 65 BILLION Dollars a year for the privilege.  How much of those Billions of dollars goes to pay experts in invention to conjure up reasons for why these little boxes are the preferred way to live?  There was a time when people believed it but more and more folks are calling these flights of fantasy, "myths".

On The Commons with us today is Deborah Goonan.  Deborah no longer lives in an involuntary membership association but looks at them from the outside in.  She researches them and blogs about them, often pointing out many of the discrepancies and contradictions in the "official" blurbs put out by CAI.  Join us as we discuss just 3 of the most often repeated fallacies about HOAs. Myth #1, CAI represents homeowners - Myth #2 HOAs are the purest form of democracy and Myth #3 - Survey says.... homeowners are overwhelmingly happy with their HOAs.  Gives one the warm and fuzzies, doesn't it?  Deborah's research paper is available Here.       Listen to Deborah Here     
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On the Commons with Tyler Berding
We can continue to deny the systemic flaws in the nations homeowner associations, we can ignore the problems, make excuses, blame the victims, minimize the issues hoping they will miraculously disappear but at some point, those rose colored glasses are going to have to come off.  At some point we will have to stop fooling ourselves into believing that the light at the end of the tunnel is the rising sun and acknowledge that the train wreck is imminent.  This shoddily built house of cards is going to come tumbling down.  

Tyler Berding joins us On The Commons this week.  Tyler is an attorney in California who represents associations.  Unlike many of his colleagues, Tyler has been open about the problems with the HOA/condo model and admits that it is not working.  He has long been warning us about the problems of multi unit housing, particularly the condo conversions.  These buildings start off as rentals and are then sold as condos but as older products they have a shorter remaining life span than a newer building.  To compound the tragedy, they are usually sold to people who are least able to afford the special assessments for major repairs and replacements that aren't far behind.   We'll talk about the problems and try to figure out if there are any answers to the housing dilemma.  

Tyler maintains a blog called Condo Issues  http://condoissues.blogspot.com .  One of the entries is a 2013 report on a survey conducted in California about reserves in HOAs and Condos.  Interestingly enough, his survey finds that reserves are about 50% funded.  However, CAI released the results of their own survey today announcing that America's housing is healthy and association reserves are 70% funded.  OK folks, you can relax, CAI is on the job!      Listen to Tyler Berding      
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