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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 Mike Pugh

I have never bought into the notion that Home Owner Associations are a necessity for any dwelling especially if it is free standing.  And I am not sure you can convince me that there is any value added even in a high rise situation.  Oh, I can hear the gasps out there!  Take a deep breath!  There certainly is no reason at all in a development where all the lots are measured in acres instead of inches, as they seem to be these days.  All right, I exaggerate, maybe not inches but certainly feet. Probably the worst aspect of the current residential association model is the governance.  It creates two classes of "neighbors" where some neighbors have authority over others.  This in turn ensures that there will always be some form of conflict that provides lots of opportunities to enrich the legal profession.  

Michael Pugh joins us On The Commons. Many years ago, Mike and his wife bought a large house on almost 6 acres of land in Virginia.  And yes, there is a mandatory membership HOA.  I suspect that is due to municipal mandates because there really is no rhyme or reason for imposing yet another layer of government on the residents.  In fact there is every reason in the world not to have one.  On the back 2 acres of the Pugh property that butts on to Tranquility Road, the developer put in a meadow.  A little bit of nature before man interfered with it.  For the last 27 years those 2 acres have been maintained as a meadow where the wildflowers grow and provide a refuge for the animals and insects and where the monarch butterflies are protected.  It is indeed a tranquil haven, and had been until the HOA reared its ugly head and demanded that the meadow, that is only visible from the Pugh's property, be mowed down.  This battle, sadly, is headed to court.  The Pughs are determined to protect their property rights, their meadow and the beautiful monarch butterflies that return to their meadow every year.  And in case you are wondering, no, there is nothing in the governing documents prohibiting the meadow. It has always been there.  And with a little luck and some common sense, it always will be.

The local paper did a story on the Pughs and their meadow called Meadow Must Go Says HOA.  Doesn't that say it all? There is also a video  of the meadow in all its glory that you will want to watch.   . . .Listen to Mike Pugh    

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On the Commons with Bill Davis

Homeownership is not a new idea, it has been around a long time.  For ages people have saved their money/got a mortgage bought a house and lived happily ever after.  When did this sensible concept get replaced and why did we have to make such a complicated mess out of an otherwise simple and easy to understand part of life?  Who benefits?  Certainly not the housing consumers.  And what exactly are we paying for when we fall in love with that perfect house and put our lifesavings on the table to buy the house?  How much is that dream home REALLY costing us?  Are we given a full break down of the costs, now and in the future?  If not, should we be told before we turn our pockets inside out to get the keys to the house?

Bill Davis joins us On The Commons.  Bill, a Texas attorney and one of only a handful of attorneys nationwide, who represents homeowners and consumers at odds with their HOAs.   A frequent guest, Bill has an uncanny ability to get to the  bottom of the problem and shed a slightly different light on issues that most of us have never thought about.  We talk to Bill about how our understanding of property values, that carrot that is dangled in front of every homeowner to get them to give up rights, has changed the way we see property, property rights and property values.  Concepts once easily understood but now " subject to interpretation".  We also talk about true costs of buying a home and identify some of the hidden costs and how they affect our ongoing financial outlay. We have a lot of questions, a few answers and a piece of advice:  "take off those rose colored glasses and get to the bottom of this housing mess".     . . . Listen to Bill Davis     

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