Trashy, decaying HOAs and Condos

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Yesterday I told you about the Obsessive HOA Homeowner. Today let’s look at the darker side of homeowners’ associations.

The people who sell property in HOAs for a living continuously tout the benefits: a well-maintained, attractive community with rules and standards that protect property values.


But is that reality or simply marketing hype?

Here’s the truth that the HOA industry doesn’t want you to know. Even if there are restrictive covenants and standards in place, and even though a homeowner is required to pay “dues” or assessments on a regular basis to fund proper maintenance and repair, the Association is under no legal obligation to deliver those services to your complete satisfaction!

And if money is tight, chances are very good that services will suffer. That means the Association might put off needed maintenance and repair of common areas. Not only will the community start to look worn out and, well, ugly, it will also not function as intended.

Trash overflowing the dumpsters. Weeds growing through cracks in the sidewalk. Crumbling roads and parking lots. Broken elevators. Unsafe balconies. Unusable swimming pools.

These sound like characteristics of a forgotten inner city slum. But now blight and decay is becoming common in Association Governed Housing.

Below are some prime examples of Associations that are not well-maintained, mainly because they are barely financially solvent. Are they protecting property values?

New homeowner complains of dirty neighborhood, unresponsive HOA

Posted: Sep 16, 2016 8:34 PM EDT Updated: Sep 16, 2016 9:21 PM EDT


Dirty mattresses, syringes and shattered glass comprise some of the debris one new homeowner says clutters her neighborhood streets.

Sandy, who asked FOX5 not to use her last name, said she moved in to her home, located near Interstate 215 and Fort Apache Road, two months ago and is alarmed by the piles of trash polluting the neighborhood.

“I’m horrified,” Sandy said. “I spent $25,000 of my life savings to buy the first house I’ve ever purchased. I did it because there’s an HOA, and I never thought I would move into a neighborhood full of garbage so badly that there’s rats in the neighborhood.”

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Condominiums in crisis: Financial troubles put many communities at risk

By Bill Turque September 18

The shutdown swimming pool at the Grand Bel II condominium complex, where there is no money to operate it. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

For five summers, a tarp has covered the swimming pool at Grand Bel II, a condominium community in Silver Spring that has no money for lifeguards, chemicals or insurance. The Vistas at Washingtonian Woods in Gaithersburg faces $600,000 in repairs but has just $400,000 in cash reserves.

At Saxony Square in Alexandria, an unemployed man nine months behind on his mortgage negotiates with lenders to keep his two-bedroom condo. His neighbors struggle to pay their monthly fees; since 2010, Saxony’s board of directors has filed more than 80 court actions to try to collect such assessments.

Even as posh condos rise in trendy neighborhoods around the nation’s capital, many older complexes are mired in a recession that never ended.

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