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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 Ward Lucas

Before the internet, homeowners who found themselves in the crosshairs of their homeowners association were usually left scratching their heads, wondering what had hit them.  There was nowhere for them to turn, no one who had their best interests at heart to explain the issues and help them sort things out.  Because they were embarrassed,  they were reluctant to talk about their problems, believing they had committed a terrible misdeed, or better yet, they had "broken the law".  With heads hung low, they would quietly sell their homes and move as far away as possible, hoping friends, family and neighbors never caught wind of their problems.  Of course this all worked to benefit HOAs who often got away with murder. 

But, times they are a changing!  Homeowners are talking, the media is listening and writing their stories, more or less accurately but most importantly homeowners now know they are not alone.  However one of the best things to happen is the number of homeowner advocates who have have taken on the responsibility to reach out to their peers, explain what the issues are, assure them they are not alone and point them in the direction to get much needed help.  While this movement is still in its infancy, it is making a difference.  

Ward Lucas joins us On The Commons this week.  Ward is an award winning investigative journalist and TV reporter.  Having experienced the horrors of HOAs firsthand he decided to put his professional skills to work and investigate the state of affairs in America's kontrolled developments.  What he learned was enough to make his blood boil and to fill a book.  That's exactly what he did.  His book is called "Neighbors at War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association".  But when the stories kept coming, he felt it only right to continue getting them out there so he has a blog  Join us, we will talk about his blog, find out how many unique hits he gets and the number of emails he gets from homeowners who just don't quite know what hit them and where to go from there. Next time anyone tries to convince you that all the problems in HOAs are "isolated incidents", remember this show and know that isolated, they really aren't.    Listen to Ward Lucas


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On the Commons with Dave Russell

Have you ever wondered why we have so many horror stories in condominiums and homeowner associations?  How do we get from the concept of living in a community with neighbors, to penalizing them for having the temerity to annoy us? And if someone is bold enough to displease us in anyway, what on earth does one do?  Talk to the offending sot and explain why he or she is being so boorish and insensitive?  But wait, in a kontrolled kommunity there is a better way.  The computer to the rescue!  

Turnaround is fair play, so this week we find out what it is like to be a condominium manager.  

Dave Russell joins us On The Commons this week.  Dave is a resident owner and an onsite manager in a fairly large condominium complex in Arizona.  The advantage of not having to deal with rush hour traffic, road rage and traffic jams is offset by the fact that he never really leaves work.  But Dave is a cheerful chap who seems to take it all in stride.  Having the patience of Job and a sense of humor certainly help but what is particularly impressive is the way he handles some of the whacky people and the completely nutty issues he has to deal with.  Join us as we hear about some of the problems he has been asked to handle, they'll make you smile, laugh and applaud that the problems are solved all without resorting to fines and attorneys and ultimately maintaining a sense of community in the Arizona desert.  And when you listen to Dave's entertaining stories, bear in mind that some of these "neighbors" can end up on the board which might explain why we have so many horror stories.    
Listen to Dave Russell   

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