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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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The new On The Commons  podcast site

Seven years of easy to find On the Commons Podcasts 

 

The Curent Show

On the Commons with Sara Benson
There was a time when, be it humble or lavish, your home was indeed your castle. However, with the "Smart Growth" advocates reducing the amount of land available for humans, the municipalities shunting off their responsibilities onto the private sector with their HOA mandates and developers enjoying the spoils of increased density and shoddier construction, our dwelling units are anything but a safe haven. Even the notion that a home is an asset, and a step on the ladder to success is questionable these days. But the biggest canard in all the HOA chatter is that HOAs protect property values.
 
Sara Benson joins us On The Commons this week. Sara is a Real Estate Broker in Chicago who, with Don DeBat, co-authored a book called Escaping Condo Jail: The Keys to Navigating Risks and Surviving Perils of the "Carefree" Community Lifestyle. We talk to Sara about the book, why she wrote it and what she learned along the way. As a condo owner herself, she is well aware of the problems and pitfalls of condo ownership. We talk about the "carrot" that is dangled in front of housing consumers about the HOA protecting property values. That notion that makes homeowners tolerate the unacceptable is explained and put to rest, once and for all in this interview.
 
A mismanaged association can, and does, reduce property values. We learn that 72% of residential associations are underfunded which means that a special assessment could be looming in their future. But how does a potential buyer know whether the unit they have fallen in love with and want to buy is going to be that special home they dream of or the first step on a trip to the poor house? Resale packages from the association do not give consumers all the information they need to make a good business decision on whether to buy or walk away. We also learn about a new service that is available called Association Evaluation, where consumers can order a comprehensive report on the association they are considering buying in. Listen to Sara Benson      
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On the Commons with Frank Short
There are several reasons to thank the Virginia Legislature this year, not the least of which is to have all the new bills in for us to talk about on our annual St. Patrick's Day show. ?Some years the news is pretty grim for homeowners because the special interests have managed to convince our esteemed law makers to further empower HOAs. ?This year, however, things were a little different and our legislators actually had the best interest of their constituents in mind. ?

Frank Short?joins us?On The Commons. ?Frank is an attorney and a friend and our resident St Patrick's Day leprechaun and takes us through all the new bills and laws that affect the Virginia Property Owners Association Act (POAA) and the Condo Act. ?He explains the new laws, tells us whether they passed or failed and how they would affect us. ?This year we talk about 6 bills, some passed and others were tabled. ?Should the ones that were passed over this year be reintroduced next year? ?How would they protect the homeowners' rights and their property? ?Could some of the bills be used as a model for other states? ?Tune in, you won't want to miss this one.

With special thanks to Senator Chap Peterson for sponsoring a bill titled "The Homeowners Bill of Rights". ?Thanks also to Senator Dave Marsden, Delegates Chris Peace, Brenda Pogge and Tom Rust for?sponsoring homeowner friendly bills this year. We appreciate your efforts on our behalf.    Listen to Frank Short    
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