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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 Martha Boneta

Few of us know what we want to be when we grow up.  As we grow and our world opens us up to all sorts of new and exciting possibilities, we start to explore our options and change our minds.  But imagine knowing, from a very young age, exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life and still wanting the same thing when you grow up?  And imagine working hard to realize that dream?

Martha Boneta joins us On The Commons this week.  With a love for the land and a passion for growing plants and animals,  Martha always knew she wanted to be a farmer.  Her dream came true when she and her family bought Liberty Farms in Paris, Virginia.  That is also when her problems began.  Liberty Farms came with a conservation easement that was overseen by the Piedmont Environmental Council.  The PEC is a tax funded 501C3 organization with the power to enforce the easement but. predictably,  with no checks and balances, no oversight and with the ability to operate under cover of darkness. It will come as no surprise then that the PEC went a little over the top by bullying Martha and her family and violating her individual and property rights. Watch a video of one of these inspections.

Despite the abuse and the harassment, Martha was always smiling, upbeat and cheerful.  She is the perfect role model for a property rights advocate.  She stood her ground and never wavered from what she believed was right and because of the way she presented herself and the problems, Richmond listened to her and enacted legislation to protect family farms.  She has stolen the hearts of farmers and rights advocates across the country.  Martha has a web page in the making where you will find contact information for her. Tune in, you will be inspired by this amazing lady.    Listen to Martha Boneta    

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On the Commons with Bill Davis and John Cowherd

Most people aspire to own they own homes.  What homes look like may have changed over the years.   They might be a log cabin, a single family detached home with a garden, an attached townhouse or even an apartment in a high rise building, but what remains a constant is the sense of "home", the pride of having achieved a certain level of success.   A sense of having control over your home and being able to make it personal.   The knowledge that it will always be there.  

Or will it?  

As the  desire for homeownership increases, the risks also increase. The headlines of late have been screaming about mortgage foreclosures.  In some of the smaller text, foreclosures by HOAs to collect past due assessments, fines and the never-ending legal fees that seem to spiral out of control have also made headlines.  Scams to defraud homeowners of their property and money abound.

Bill Davis and John Cowherd join us On The Commons this week.  My two guests are pioneers in a way.   They are among a very small handful of attorneys across the country who focus their respective practices on representing homeowners against their residential associations.   Bill is in Texas and John in Northern Virginia.  They talk about the many ways property owners lose their homes and explain how "condo terminations" work, what happens to property values and why some owners can force the sale of a condo even when the owner wants to stay and how the process also robs the reluctant sellers much of the equity they have built up.    Listen to Bill Davis and John Cowherd   

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