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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.


 "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


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 Larry Murphree and Stephanie Krasowski

We have lost sight of the true value of homeownership in this country.  Traditionally buying property included a "Legal Bundle of Rights" that came with the deed. Those "rights" included the rights of possession, control, exclusion, enjoyment and disposition  and were irrefutable.  As long as the tax man was paid and the banker got the mortgage money, the owners were the royalties in residence.  They enjoyed every bit of the rights they acquired when they got the title to their castles.  The concept worked well until mandatory membership HOAs were involuntarily foisted on American homeowners.  No longer does ownership guarantee any of those rights, no longer do governments protect those rights and no longer is ownership a thing of pride and dignity.  In the kontrolled world of HOA living, pride, dignity, security, control and individuality have been replaced by fear, terror, abuse, theft and ill health.  

On The Commons this week we are rejoined by Larry Murphree.  You will recall that Larry, a condo owner in Florida, was cited by his HOA for having an "unauthorized object in his flowerpot" and was being fined $100/day for his transgression.  Yes, you read it right, the kondo kommandos in Larry's little bit of heaven decided to come up with a list of "flowerpot rules"!  Author of condo flowerpot rules. Put that on your epitaph!  Larry's 11X17 INCH flag violates the rules, offends their aesthetics and the uniformity of the look alike units.  As if that was not bad and stupid enough, the HOA attorney has started foreclosing to collect fines and legal fees.  in a power HOAs have commonly known as the priority of payment scam, legitimate assessments are diverted to pay the HOA attorney FIRST (wonder who wrote those laws?), fines, interest and other junk fees before making sure their share of the commons expenses are covered.   And as often happens,  there is nothing left the owner and the owner is behind in his or her dues. Time to foreclose and collect dues from "these deadbeat homeowners". You can read more about Larry's plight in his condo

What if you don't violate a flowerpot rule?  How well are your Rights of ownership being protected?

Stephanie Krasowski joins us during the second half of the show.  Stephanie, also a condo owner in Florida, is fighting a much bigger problem than a stupid flowerpot rule.  In her case it is not stupid neighbors but a stupid government that made it possible for her and thousands of Floridians to lose their homes in what amounts to a hostile takeover.  When a law is enacted as a knee jerk reaction to address a relatively small issue without putting in adequate protections to protect the citizens and prevent a small group of people from using and abusing the law for their own benefit, the lives of many people can be ruined.  A law that allows 80% of the owners in a condo project to terminate the condominium, stripping the remaining 20% of the owners of their RIGHTS and rendering them homeless is a huge problem.  Exact numbers may not be available but it is known that at least 17,010 people have lost their homes through no fault of their own and another 1035 families are at risk of being victims of this particular scam.  You can read more about this disaster and sign Stephanie's petition to save her home    Listen to Larry and Stephanie

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On the Commons with Lisa Kapsokefales
"We have met the enemy and he is us" - Pogo.  

If they can get it right in a cartoon why can't we see it?  We have been tinkering with residential America to the point where it is worse than anything imaginable. First we privatized public functions, not to make them more economically sound but to give local municipal governments a free pass on the tax money they collected. Then we lied to housing consumers and constituents by telling them these new fancy schemes will protect property values. Then we took away all the choices consumers and potential owners had NOT to live behind bars, being micromanaged by bullies.  What this fancy new scam did was allow governments to mandate associations that benefits them, that benefit the developers who get away with increasing density and cutting corners and by building an entire new career field on the backs of the homeowners.  This new industry is costing home and condo owners 65 Billion dollars annually,

When all the tweaking, massaging and lies were said and done what we ended up with is a housing scheme that terrorizes residents, is run by a bunch of inept lunatics, is adding immeasurably to the stress level of Americans, costing them their health, their wealth and yes, even their homes.  What is happening in residential America is, simply, a disgrace.  But that's OK, there is always the government, right?  The only legitimate function of any government is to protect its citizens and in America we have lots of layers of government so lots of protections, right?  Let's see, we have the Federal government, with a President, Senators, Congressman, the FBI, the CIA, the Justices, the courts, to oversee things.  In fact they have an entire city to rule from.  Then we have State governments with Governors and Lt Governors, an Attorney General with deputies, there are state legislators and state agencies and small and large county governments and city mayors and more agencies than you can shake a stick at.  They'll help, right?  After all they are there to protect you, the citizen, the tax payer, the constituent, the homeowner.  That's what you pay your taxes for, isn't it?

Lisa Kapsokefalos joins us On The Commons this week. Lisa and her family bought a townhouse on Lake Champlain in New York state as a second home.  They needed a place to slow down, recharge their batteries and provide their kids with a healthy environment to go to.   But the peaceful and healthy home they thought they bought turned out to be anything but.  Their saga covers well over a decade of harassment and abuse by their neighbors - for no apparent reason other than just because they could.  But there is something very different about this particular "association".  It is NOT an association.  Just because 3 of the neighbors decide to charge everyone monthly dues doesn't mean they have the authority to do so.  You'd think THAT little fact would put an end to the tyranny.  There was no constructive notice, there was nothing to agree to.  Unfortunately the courts didn't see it that way.  And it will probably not surprise you to learn that every single government office or agency Lisa contacted just shrugged their shoulders and said there was nothing they could do.  You will have to hear her story.   Listen to Lisa Kapsokefalos    
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