By Deborah Goonan
(Independent American Communities Blog, independentamericancommunities.com/)
Spokespersons for the US Common Interest, Association-Governed Communities industry give plenty of lip service to the concept of property rights. But what does that mean for special interests such as Community Associations Institute (CAI), National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and National Association of Realtors (NAR), to name three of the biggest players in the HOA industry?
I’ll let you in on a little secret: the industry is not interested in preserving your individual property rights, or even your Constitutional rights, for that matter. When CAI, NAHB, and NAR speak about property rights for residents in HOAs, it is generally in the context of balancing the rights of owners with the rights of the Association.
CAI attorneys are especially vocal about the rights of Associations. In their Public Policy Guide, here’s what CAI has to say about private property rights: (emphasis added)
Community Associations Institute (CAI) supports protections that enable property owners to challenge governmental taking of common or private property. CAI opposes legislative or judicial actions that would limit or restrict the ability and rights of community associations to maintain control over association common property.
Read between the lines. When CAI refers to “private property,” it is really talking about the Association’s “private” property. However, to be more precise, commonly owned property is, in fact, collective not private. And that collective ownership is structured as individual shareholders in a corporation.