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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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The Curent Show

On the Commons with Nila Ridings

For decades there has been a concerted effort nationwide by homeowners, and some legislators, to ensure proper and adequate disclosures of exactly what owning an HOA controlled home entails. One of the biggest pitfalls, as I see it, is that the message is missing the target by a wide margin. While a place to live is a necessity, we all need shelter and a safe place to live, raise our families and nourish our soles, buying a house is an emotional purchase. Once a potential buyer has approved the curbside appeal of a house and goes through the front door, they either hate the paint color in the entry, (an easy fix) and turn tail and head right back out, or they start to visualize themselves having breakfast at the kitchen bar, reading a book by the fireplace, enjoying the views from the living room windows and they start to fall in love with their vision of what living in this house would be like. Informing them that there is an HOA that will "protect them from red doors in their neighborhood will not force them to remove their rose colored glasses. The sale pitch is emotional so asking them to dig a little deeper is not going to be terribly productive.

How do we find a common language?

Nila Ridings joins us On The Commons. Nila, an advocate for protecting housing consumers from falling into the HOA trap shares with us her personal nightmare. In fact Nila was warned by her dad who was a builder, NOT to buy a house that is subject to a mandatory membership HOA. But then she fell in love with a house. It had so many lovely features, lots of promises and pots of dreams so just how bad could it be? She dumped her lifesavings and her inheritance that she got from her father into buying her dream house. And then she found out just how bad it not only can be, but is. Tune in and hear Nila's story and how, despite her unwillingness to pass on her nightmare to anyone else, another buyer, despite being warned, is in the hot seat of her HOA.  . . . Listen to Nila Ridings . . .

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On the Commons with Carolyn Douglas

As Americans we like to think of ourselves as being a  free people, able to come and go as we please, live how and where we like, spend time with our friends and neighbors, watch the TV shows and movies that interest us and read the books we want to read.  But things they are a changing.  And if you are a regular listener of our show, On The Commons  and reader of this web page you would be guessing now that I would be talking about the choices and liberties that have been taken from us in regards to our homes, our color choices, the plants in our gardens, the birdbaths and the bird feeders on our private grounds, and all the other little details that make our homes uniquely ours.  And you would be right.  But it is getting worse.  What if I were to tell you that "they" (whoever "THEY" are) are also after your intellectual and possibly even recreational growth?  Nah, that can't be possible, can it?

Caroline George joins us On The commons.  Many of my listeners will remember Caroline's past visits as many people have taken the time to comment on her shows.  You may also remember that Caroline wrote a book titled, The Dark Side of Law, a law treatise on judging.  It is a huge and a hugely heavy book that we have talked about on the show. 

Through her thousands of interviews and reviews of actual court cases she brings the process of going to court down to an easier to understand level and demystifies much of what goes on behind the scenes.  

The book WAS available on Amazon, that's right, WAS, past tense.  It seems that Amazon decided to BAN the book so you can no longer buy it or read it or get any help from it. Why is Amazon deciding what you can and cannot read?  Who else is involved in making some of your basic and personal decisions for you?  What other books have been banned?  Who is making these decisions and what gives them the right to do so?  Tune in.. . . Listen to Carolyn Douglas . . .

Share your stories on  From the HOA Trenches

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