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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 Curent Show

On the Commons with Bill Davis

The true value of anything is what a buyer is willing to pay and what a seller is willing to accept in exchange for that item.  If demand is high on something, and supply is low, the value tends to go up.  On the other hand if there is a glut on the market of an item, the value goes down because it is said to be a buyers market.  That's pretty much the way it works when it comes to determining value. And that includes housing.  So I am a little perplexed by the claim that a house that is subject to a mandatory membership housing association increases the value of the property.  It makes no sense and flies in the face of the traditional understanding of how values are arrived at and understood. It is especially perplexing given that so many housing consumers specifically request non HOA housing but are told they do not exist. "There is nothing on the market." On the off chance that a non HOA house becomes available it is advertised as "Non HOA" and that's a valuable marketing tool. It sets it apart from other houses on the market. It is true that non HOA housing is rare, often old and sometimes require a complete overhaul and update, making them expensive.  But they are still highly sought after.

Bill Davis joins me On The Commons.  Bill, a frequent guest, friend and attorney lives in Texas and is one of only a few attorneys who represents homeowners against their HOAs. He is well versed and experienced on what routinely goes on .  Bill and I talk about property values, what needs to be included when calculating the monetary value as well as other values and costs that we seldom think about.  One thing we both agree on is that housing consumers need to have all the facts and all the information they can get in order to make an educated decision on what they are buying, or not buying.  It is also important to know what questions to ask.  Join us as we dive into all the ins and outs of determining the true value of that jewel with the beautiful view that you just fell in love with.    Listen to Bill Davis     

 

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On the Commons with Sam Pilli
That there are problems in HOAs is a given, ask anyone, even some of the most ardent of HOA proponents will agree, there really and truly are problems.  OK, so what next?  Maybe starting at the begging.  What if you were to ask 100 people what the problems are, experience has shown that you will get 200 very different answers.  The reason is that everyone sees it from their personal perspective and their personal problem.  This is an incredibly complex problem with so many moving parts to it that " fixing" it has to start with a list of exactly what needs to be fixed, and that in and of itself will be a long list.  But you have to start somewhere and the best starting point is discussing the issues openly, freely, honestly and fearlessly.  Without that you'll never get out of the starting gate.

Samuel Pilli joins us On The Commons.  Sam and his colleagues have developed a website called  Zonzon which allows homeowners in HOAs, condos, coops and other closed groups to communicate freely with each other.  Sam believes this is the answer to all that ails HOAs.  We will talk about his secure communication idea, discuss some of the other mitigating factors involved and find out how Zonzon might play a role in evening out the playing field.   Listen to Sam Pilli      
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