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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


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The new On The Commons  podcast site

Seven years of easy to find On the Commons Podcasts 



The Curent Show

On the Commons with David Russell
Have you ever wondered how some of the worst bills imaginable get passed into law?  Sponsoring a horrible bill for a special interest who happens to be a major campaign contributor requires extra care and finesse, especially when the bill has a snowball's chance of passing as a stand alone bill.  To get the bills voted into law, they are often rolled into a bill everyone favors.  Arizona, however, has a single issue requirement.  In other words, if the bill cannot stand on its own, you can't roll it into another one to get it passed.  A great idea but apparently the very people who write the laws don't think those laws apply to them.  An omnibus bill, including the fantasying provision of banning municipal HOA mandates, was enacted last year but a couple of citizens sued the state, alleging the law was in violation of the State single issue requirement, and they WON!  

Guess what?  Some Arizona legislators, who should know better, apparently did not learn that lesson because they have not one but two omnibus bills in the works right now.  And just like HOAs there is no adult supervision anywhere in sight because the task of enforcing the laws, in this case, falls on the citizens.

David Russell joins us On The Commons this week.  Dave in a community manager in Mesa, Arizona.  As an owner in a formerly mismanaged association, he fully understands the frustrations and problems encountered by the home and condo owners. He is also very aware of the desperate need for homeowner friendly legislation but not at the cost of violating other laws.  So he is on a mission to ensure that NO ONE is above the law, including, and perhaps especially, those who write and sponsor them.  Join us, we'll talk about how he got into management, some of the "red flags" in kontrolled  kommunities and why he is suing the State of Arizona.    Listen to David Russell    
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On the Commons with Bill Davis
The road to justice and equality in HOAs is fraught with huge roadblocks for the homeowner.  Just finding someone who can explain what is going on or how to deal with the threat and demand letters that keep pouring in can be daunting enough, but fInding an attorney knowledgeable in HOA law who is willing to represent a homeowner is almost impossible in some parts of the country and very difficult in other areas.

The Mis's are thriving in America's almost 330,000 mandatory membership homeowner associations - MISinformation, MISstatments, MISunderstandings, MIScalculations and MIStakes.  Housing consumers are often misinformed about what they are getting themselves into when they buy a unit in an HOA.  The information provided by all the professionals along the line is misstated and often miscalculated leading to some less than welcome surprises down the road.  Mistakes are made and somehow the homeowner always ends up paying.  

What can a homeowner, caught in the crosshairs of an out of control association, do?  WHat shouldn't they do?

Bill Davis is On The Commons with us this week.  Bill is an attorney in Texas who found himself in the unenviable position of having to go to court to protect his property rights.  He learned all about HOA law and now represents homeowners against their HOAs.  We'll find out what is going on in associations and talk about some things people need to watch out for and things homeowners should never agree to.    Listen to Bill Davis    
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