Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Feds Intervening in HOA issues

What HOA issues are appropriate for federal intervention?

by George K. Staropoli

In my comment (see PVTGOV comment) to Evan McKenzie’s post in hisPrivatopia Papers blog, Las Vegas HOA corruption probe continues, (February 26, 2013) I supported McKenzie’s opinion that congressional hearings on HOAs was in order.  In North Carolina and Nevada several homeowner rights advocates felt the same and Norm McCullough contacted Nevada Congressman Joe Heck, who responded on April 22 with,
 I can certainly understand and appreciate your frustrations. Since HOAs are governed by local or state law rather than federal, it would be best to contact your state assemblyman or state senator and local county officials with your comments.
Please be assured that I will keep your comments in mind should this issue be brought to the attention of the House of Representatives for legislative action.
A careful reading of the first paragraph above leads to the obvious: “Not my problem. See your legislators” (my words).  However, he extends hope for homeowners in the second paragraph above, “If HOA issues get here, I’ll remember what you wrote” (my words).  Congratulations to Norm.
Well, just what are federal issues aside from constitutional issues that abound with HOAs?  Let’s take a look at some other recognizable federal laws or “acts”.  There’s the Americans With Disabilities Act, Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, Truth in Lending, Truth in Advertising, Right to Work, etc. all of which deal with practices within an industry that cross state lines.  These are the nationwide practices that need the broad reach of the federal government.  And all the above resulted from abuse against the consumer by the respective industry.  With HOAs, we have very strong legitimate arguments pertaining to constitutional violations that amount to state actions in all states.
If advocates wish to be effective at the national level, they must rise above HOA operational concerns and address issues of national import.  They must be able to understand and deal with these fundamental issues of democratic governance. 
And they must accept the fact that since 1973 CAI has been the aggressive protagonist for the HOA legal scheme or structure that is offensive to our principles of democratic government.

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