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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 Gary Solomon

It is no secret that homeowners in HOAs are often isolated and bullied by insecure, abusive board members, ignorant managers or people in a pseudo official capacity with delusions of grandeur.  The sad fact is that neighbors, afraid of being targeted by the same bullies, tend to distance themselves from the homeowner lest they find themselves in the crosshairs of the association.  Because of this dynamic, the bullies get away with it, they live to bully, abuse and harass other people again and again because they can, because there are no checks and balances and no oversight.  The homeowner agreed to be abused, didn't he?  So where is the problem?

Dr. Gary Solomon joins us On The Commons this week.  Dr. Solomon, a retired professor of psychology noticed problems in his neighborhood.  After spending a little time observing his neighbors it dawned on him that things weren't quite right so he started studying the effect HOAs had on homeowners.  That led to his writing a couple of papers, HOA Syndrome and Elder Abuse and more recently he wrote an e-book that is free, is downloadable, it is in audio format as well as video.  His book is called  HOA: Crisis in America .  It will answer many of your questions, get you thinking, make you mad, fascinate you and it will also make you laugh but above all, it will educate you. On the show Dr. Solomon gives advice on where to turn for help if you are feeling stressed out by your HOA. He also gives us a lesson on how to help someone who does seek help from us.  Although he is retired he is not one to sit around watching the grass grow and has undertaken a new area to research, "Child Abuse by Proxy".  You'll just have to tune in to hear what he has to say about it.     

Listen to Gary Solomon    

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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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