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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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Seven years of easy to find On the Commons Podcasts 


The Curent Show

On the Commons with Mary Mcandrew

Whenever I think of paradise, images of Hawaii come to mind.  Miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches, a never ending expanse of a deep blue ocean with gently rolling waves, lapping on the sand.  So peaceful, so serene, so relaxing.  It must be paradise. Even the thought of condominiums and homeowner associations are not enough to mar the image of paradise.  After all, how could people living in such an idyllic place, waste time on such stupid, irrational and immature petty squabbles that are so common in residential associations of all kinds?  Not only have my dreams been shattered but just when I thought I had heard it all, someone has to come along and prove me wrong.

Mary McAndrew joins us On The Commons.  Mary lives in Hawaii right on the water, watching the gentle waves lap on the shore and listening to the special music they make as the wash over the sands.  But she is apparently far from the paradise I envisioned.  She is a mother and a handicapped widow.  Mary bought a dilapidated condo, right on the water that needed some major TLC.  So she rolled up her sleeves and started transforming her unit into her dream home.  We talk to Mary about all the usual bumps in the road, the surprises behind the walls, the problems with the association, living next door to a board member (yes, you know how that goes), the threats, the fines and the lawsuits.  So far it is all par for the course, right?  So where does the moonshine come in?  You'll have to tune in to find out.  That was a new one on me.

What is life like in your residential association?  Please take the survey and let us know.  

Do you have an HOA story you'd like to share?   We'd love to hear from you.  . . .  Listen to Mary McAndrew     

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On the Commons with Sara and Debbie

As regular as clockwork, the Community Associations Institute, CAI, comes out with an annual survey, that, incredibly, year after year confirms their assertion that homeowners in condos, HOAs and co-ops are overwhelmingly happy with their lot in life.  Now, I don't doubt that many homeowners are pleased and think they got a great deal but I have always questioned CAI's numbers.  We know there are major issues and problems that grab the headlines, yet these problems fail to make a dent in these annual surveys.  When owners become homeless through no fault of their own, are they likely to be tickled pink with the association?  So many things do not add up.  So, what is really going on in the homes of American homeowners?  Are they really as happy and thrilled as we are led to believe they are?  Are the problems just "isolated incidents" and not worth worrying about?  To find out how homeowners really feel about their HOA housing, the Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest (CHPPI) a not for profit, independent organization without a vested interest in HOAs, decided to ask them.  

Please take the survey

Sara Benson and Deborah Goonan join us On The Commons.  Sara is a real estate broker in Chicago and the co author of the book "Escaping Condo Jail: The keys to navigating risks and surviving perils of the "carefree" community lifestyle".  Deborah is a very active blogger and a seemingly tireless researcher on all the latest news and events taking place in association controlled housing.  Her blog is called Independent American Communities.  We talk to Sara and Deborah about the survey and the reason for having another one.  We talk about the need to find out what really is going on.  We are following up on the responses from the last survey CHPPI took.  Based on the responses it seemed prudent to dig in a little deeper and find out just how much homeowners really know and understand about the association they live in and are financially responsible for.  It is fascinating to start putting the pieces of the puzzle together and to perhaps find the missing pieces.  Tune in and please take the survey, send it to your friends and relatives who live in associations and please ask them to also reply to the survey

 . . .Listen to Sara and Debbie      Write Comment (0 comments), Powered by Mambo and Maintained by Terry Bartholomew