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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 Tom LePage

I have been scratching my head, trying to understand the thinking behind homeowner and condo associations. It was a big mystery 36 years ago when I first encountered these confounding things.  It is still a huge mystery. Condo associations are a different breed of animal but I still fail to understand the need for all the gibberish that seems to be part and parcel of this ancient and once simple and uncomplicated housing concept. After almost 30 years of studying residential associations and trying to understand them, I am still scratching my head.  What would happen if we removed that 4th layer of government and taxing power?  Would the world collapse?  Perhaps local municipal governments would have to become better stewards of public funds instead of thinking money grows on trees?  Now that would be a tragedy, wouldn't it?   Or would we become a nation of red doors, cars on blocks and toilets adorning front yards? Does anyone really believe that?  We are told that this form of governance brings us "democracy, up close and personal".  Still trying to understand that one. All the pretty speak surrounding this type of homeownership assures housing consumers they will have far greater influence over the way their communities work.  I say hogwash!

Tom LePage joins us On The Commons this week.  Tom is a property manager north of the border, in Ontario, Canada.  With over 30 years of experience in the field of property management he branched out into consulting and says he has a passion for well managed condominiums.  Tom has been following all the nonsense that goes on here, south of his border and is, no doubt, scratching his head as well. He is the founder of Condo-Ology and maintains a blog that can be accessed from his web page.  Property managers here, there and everywhere are a dime a dozen but one thing that makes Tom different is his firm belief in TRANSPARENCY.  That word is one of the first words you will find on his website.  Join us for a fun interview as we compare and contrast typical association issues, talk about potential "fixes", discuss some that have been tried in the US and start to explore more ideas.  Tom has a lot of ideas that deserve to be heard so listen to part one now as I hope he will be back sometime soon with more of his ideas. . . . Listen to Tom LePage     

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On the Commons with John Sellers

Increasingly in America homeowners are treated like incompetent idiots who are incapable of managing their own lives and their homes.  Members of the HOA industry have gone as far as to equate the owners as "children who do not know what is good for them".  Naturally they are more than happy to make all our important decisions for us- and leave us with the bill!  To add insult to injury, the false advertising and misinformation that, under most other circumstances, would be punishable by law, is swept under the rug and ignored.  Unit owners in homeowner and condo associations are often ridiculed, harassed  and penalized for demanding transparency or even questioning the  actions of the association.  Their duty is to not ask why but to pay up and shut up.

Well, times they are a changing.  Slowly but surely more and more talented people have had enough and are starting to move mountains, one stone at a time!

John Sellers joins us On The Commons this week.  John has worked in the banking industry for years and knows just where to look for any irregularities.  So when things just didn't smell quite right, he put his talents to work and started digging.  What he discovered is quite incredible.  Not only are the people who are supposed to be protecting your rights turning a blind eye to all the shenanigans going on behind closed doors, but they are also using YOUR tax dollars to cover up some missing funds in HOA banks.  John continued digging and was told to "get a hobby".  Fortunately for us, he took that advice to heart, expanded his search criteria and started a blog called ArizonaHOA where he intends to not only share information but to also gather information from other homeowners. He estimates there have been 3,000 court cases involving HOAs in Arizona.  Chances are those did not happen because associations were doing such a wonderful job, as proponents of HOAs would have you believe.  Tune in, it is an eye opening interview.     Listen to John Sellers     

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