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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 Donna Fossum

There is much to ponder in this interview

Residential America has changed dramatically over the last 50 years.  Gone are the days when housing consumers bought a house or a plot of land and were lords of their mansions, kings or queens of their castles, where their word was law - within the confines of their property, of course.  Increasingly living in residential America is more complicated, more restrictive and more expensive.  Do American homeowners know and understand how and why their lives and homes have changed?

Donna Fossum joins us On The Commons.  Donna is an attorney, a long time resident and condo owner in the City of Alexandria, Virginia.  She was a senior policy analyst at the Rand Corporation, a former member of the Alexandria Planning Commission and a one time candidate for City Council.  Donna, with her analytical background, has written the most comprehensive and complete report on the changing residential communities. After a lot of research, Donna discovers what is essentially two cities in one, divided more or less equally by the east side and the west side of the City of Alexandria.

She explains how this shift resulted in double taxation for approximately half of the homeowners in Alexandria.  But probably one of the most eye opening discoveries she made was the differences in the political process and participation by the citizens of the two different halves of the city.  Tune in and hear her talk about all the issues that significantly affect the way we live in America today and read her report,  Fossum Files .  While her research and analysis centered on Alexandria, the same issues and resulting problems exist across the country. . . .    Listen to Donna Fossum     

Tell us your sstory in your own words    

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On the Commons with Nila Ridings

I keep thinking that there really must be a breaking point.  A point where American housing consumers start digging a little deeper and looking beyond the frills and the pretty upgrades in a house they are considering buying. I hope they start looking for construction inspection reports (if such a thing exists and if not it might be a good idea to turn around and RUN as far away as possible).  They should also find out whether or not there is a mandatory, involuntary membership requirement in a homeowners association.  An upgraded backsplash in the kitchen is not going to make up for a house that is poorly constructed, starts falling down around them and is run and managed by people they would be better off never having met.  The quality of their lives in such a place could very well become material for a horror story.

But, you think, the courts are always there to sort it all out, aren't they?  Tune in.  It is time to take those rose colored glasses off and take steps to prevent yourself from getting trapped in a real live horror movie.  

Nila Ridings joins us On The Commons.  Nila could be the poster child for what happens when the HOA seemingly has a personal vendetta against a member.  Her story starts many years ago when her driveway started sinking and got lower than the garage floor, causing problems in her house.  There were other construction problems that the HOA chose not to replace on her property, citing inadequate funds as the reason.  Miraculously they found the money to make the repairs on other homes in the development.  He request for access to the financial records of the HOA was, predictably, denied even though this is a basic right of the members.  To understand the twists and turns in her story and the road that led to years worth of very costly litigation and the loss of her house, you will have to tune in and hear Nila explain it and then to find out that at the end of the day, she was even denied her day in court.  Over the years Nila has used the knowledge she has gained from her own battles to help others who find themselves in a war for their home, their rights and their sanity while fighting for her own home.  Her story might help you loosen your grip on those rose colored glasses you have.   . . .   Listen to Nila Ridings     

Tell us your sstory in your own words   

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