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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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Its Here! 

The new On The Commons  podcast site

Seven years of easy to find On the Commons Podcasts 

 

The Curent Show

On the Commons with Frank Short

I have never much liked the idea of mandatory membership homeowner associations.  The concept of  binding private real property to a hodgepodge of real estate owned by a third party, maintained and controlled by a motley crew of individuals with no expertise in the art of management has always seemed counterintuitive to me.  That the model is not working is no real surprise.  What galls me the most however,  is the idea that a handful of owners and hired managers are allowed to fine the owners. This practice does get very personal.  People have been fined for some of the most ridiculous things.  A few examples include having a dusty roof and mailbox, a cracked flowerpot on the front porch, an "unapproved" garden hose in the yard, and "unapproved object" in a flowerpot (small US flag), talking to neighbors on front porch of ones own home, interior window blinds the wrong shade of white, a pet that exceeds the allowed weight limit, unapproved number of rose bushes, trash cans visible from the street.  The list goes on and on.  All as ridiculous as these examples.  Fining is a power that is often used as a bully tool and abused and should be STOPPED.  Fines can lead to the loss of a home through foreclosure and the loss of an owner's financial security.  

Frank Short joins us On The Commons.  Frank, an attorney and a popular repeat guest of the show, discusses fines in HOAs and Condominiums.  He explains why we have fines and who benefits from the fines.  Over the years there have been a number of court cases about fines.  He discuses those cases, explains what the courts considered and tells  us how they ruled.  He also explains the constitutional connections.  This is an excellent show from the archives.  For those being fined by their HOAs for whatever reason, this show is a must for the owner and their attorneys.  . . . Listen to Frank Short      

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On the Commons with Donna Fossum

There is much to ponder in this interview

Residential America has changed dramatically over the last 50 years.  Gone are the days when housing consumers bought a house or a plot of land and were lords of their mansions, kings or queens of their castles, where their word was law - within the confines of their property, of course.  Increasingly living in residential America is more complicated, more restrictive and more expensive.  Do American homeowners know and understand how and why their lives and homes have changed?

Donna Fossum joins us On The Commons.  Donna is an attorney, a long time resident and condo owner in the City of Alexandria, Virginia.  She was a senior policy analyst at the Rand Corporation, a former member of the Alexandria Planning Commission and a one time candidate for City Council.  Donna, with her analytical background, has written the most comprehensive and complete report on the changing residential communities. After a lot of research, Donna discovers what is essentially two cities in one, divided more or less equally by the east side and the west side of the City of Alexandria.

She explains how this shift resulted in double taxation for approximately half of the homeowners in Alexandria.  But probably one of the most eye opening discoveries she made was the differences in the political process and participation by the citizens of the two different halves of the city.  Tune in and hear her talk about all the issues that significantly affect the way we live in America today and read her report,  Fossum Files .  While her research and analysis centered on Alexandria, the same issues and resulting problems exist across the country. . . .    Listen to Donna Fossum     

Tell us your sstory in your own words    

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