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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 Curent Show

On the Commons with Nila Ridings

Millions of dollars unaccounted for, a neighborhood divided, lawsuits, shoddy repairs on some units, shunned members, bully boards, depreciating property values, lies, finger pointing and a thoroughly unpleasant place to live.  It must be a) a Bentley Little novel, b) a horror movie, c) an isolated incident or d) one of many dysfunctional homeowner associations across the country? 

If you guessed d, give yourself a pat on the back.  The stories, the details, the incidents just keep repeating themselves over and over again from the Atlantic to the Pacific and all points in between. Is it something in the water or do they clone incompetent people and put them in charge of YOUR home and your most valuable asset?  

Nila Ridings joins us On The Commons this week.  Nila has been right in the middle of a fight to save her home, her sanity and her health.  She is a frequent guest blogger and writes extensively on these issues.  She often hears from other homeowners who are having problems and looking for help.  Not surprisingly, finding someone to explain the problems and offer help is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Today Nila tells us, from her personal experience, what it is like being trapped in the crosshairs of an HOA that simply won't let go.  She also tells us how some of our best intentions can cause those we love some serious headaches.  And she shares  some valuable advice.     Listen to Nila Ridings     

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On the Commons Deborah Goonan

Over the last several decades, residential America has undergone a radical transformation.  Gone is the concept and practice of the owners enjoying sovereignty over their own homes.  No longer is the local municipal government the closest layer of government.  Although no one has actually signed away any constitutionally protected rights, the very structure of association housing has placed obstacles in the full use and enjoyment of those rights.  All these changes occurred without the consent of the governed. 

It was time to change that!  Association Evaluation, LLC decided to ask the very people stuck in these developments to share their thoughts, concerns and their experiences.  In a survey available online for about a month, over 300 people responded.  And how did homeowners respond to those questions?  The results of that survey have been tabulated and are available, in their entirety, no editing and no summaries, and are available for your inspection on the Coalition for Consumer Housing Policy in the Public Interest web page.

Deborah Goonan joins us On The Commons this week.  Deborah, is a prolific blogger and commentator about all things to do with homeowner associations, condominiums and co-operatives.  In addition to being a contributing writer for blogs and several online venues, she has her own blog called Independent American Communities.  Deborah was one of the people who worked behind the scenes on this survey right from the very beginning.  She explains why they asked the questions and talks about the responses they got.  Apparently not everything is as rosy and carefree in residential America as we have been led to believe.  There are some serious issues and some very serious problems.  One of the big problems is the lack of choices for housing consumers.  There are few surprises in the results.  The comments are consistent with what we have been hearing from the real people who have to live in the forced mandatory membership developments.    Listen to Deborah Goonan     

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