What do HOA managers really think of the homeowners and residents they serve?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities


Do you know what the community association (HOA) management industry is up to? What is their agenda? What makes them tick?

There are several wonks like me across the U.S. who follow websites, discussion threads, posts, advertisements, news releases, and general talking points of members of the industry who manage and serve association-governed communities.

While much of the communication is rather dry and boring, I have found some recent posts and announcements to be both shocking and offensive.

The following information was not intended for housing consumers. But that is precisely why you need to know about it.

Whether you are a millennial or Gen-Xer searching for your first “affordable” home, or about to retire and looking to downsize or move to an active adult community, take the time to review the following information.

Apparently, some professional HOA managers and attorneys do not think very highly of homeowners and residents in the association-governed communities.

Webinar teaches board members how to label difficult homeowners as Sociopaths

Take a look at a promotion for a webinar presented by an attorney and community association manager affiliated with Community Associations Institute (CAI), the international trade group for HOA service providers.

Webinar: How to Protect Yourself and HOA from the Neighborhood Sociopath

Did you notice that this presentation is designed for HOA board members, not for all homeowners or residents of association-governed communities? The major emphasis, according to the synopsis, is how to cope with uncooperative, difficult residents.

Now, I am not denying that a community might have its share of people with serious social dysfunction or mental health problems.

My grave concern about this webinar is that it seems likely to encourage board members to label the outspoken owner, or the owner seeking access to official records, as the Neighborhood Sociopath. But I suspect that, in most cases, the clinical diagnosis would not apply.

The manager and attorney presenting this webinar are not licensed psychologists or counselors, nor are they qualified to evaluate and diagnose mental illness.

Besides, far, far bigger problems result for homeowners and residents when a bully or a genuine sociopath exerts unchecked power as a board member, or when a paid manager or attorney exploits the Association or its residents.

And, yes, the promo does mention that “fellow board members” might be identified as sociopaths. But given the context, I wonder if incumbent board members might choose to apply the “sociopath” label to newly elected board members who just so happen to disagree with their point of view, or who speak up and object to the status quo. What better way to isolate and dismiss new volunteer leaders?

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Podcast casts homeowners as big bullies

Now check out this podcast released last month. HOA Talk Time is a radio program produced by two entrepreneurs who happen to own an HOA Inspection Business. The topic of discussion is “reverse bullying” by homeowners against managers who enforce HOA Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).

No, I am not making this up. Listen for yourself.

You can skip the first few minutes of banter, and start listening to the podcast at the 9-minute mark. The term “reverse-bully” is introduced at approximately 12:50.

And who do these HOA Inspectors consider to be reserve-bullies? Homeowners who have the sheer audacity to:

  • write back lengthy emails in all caps,
  • go back and complain to the community manager who hired the inspection company,
  • object to the timing of a required pressure-wash for siding, and
  • ask for more time due to personal issues.

In other words, community association management professionals are engaging the practice of labeling homeowners as bullies, even though it sounds to me as if these so-called bullies are nothing more than a few irritated homeowners taking a stand or voicing an objection.

In the examples presented, it’s not as if the homeowners were threatening to harm the manager or the hired inspectors in any way.

But you can bet that the association stands ready to impose fines and make a legal case over an unsealed driveway or dirty siding, because they certainly have the legal power to do so.

Be sure to listen to the last few minutes of this episode, at about the 23-minute mark, where Tab and Z make a call to action for all community association managers to “band together” against owners and residents who dare to resist the enforcers.

Notice that this podcast is sponsored by CAI, the organization that claims to serve the interests of homeowners.


HOA Talk Time – Episode – 087

Oct 27, 2017
In this episode, Tab and Z discuss an issue that is plaguing the nation…bullying. But not the kind you might be thinking. Listen to Z go off on what he coined “reverse bullying”. It’s the HOA inspection company, property managers and HOA board members who are victims, not the homeowners. Time to take a stand!



Interesting reading:

Sociopath vs. Psychopath: What’s the Difference? (WebMD)


4 Replies to “What do HOA managers really think of the homeowners and residents they serve?”

  1. I have been on multiple sides of HOAs, 1) Homeowner in multiple HOA communities in Texas and Virginia; 2) Managing HOAs; 3) Paralegal researching and documenting title work concerning HOAs; and now 4) as President of a HOA; 5) I am currently a member of CAI for the purposes of finding out what it is all about, and how things are really done; and 6) consult on websites for associations and non-profits.

    My experience with a property management company is terrible. They have an awful attitude about their communities, the boards and the residents. I pointed out to them their lack of respect toward our board and the irony since they work for us and are getting paid for their bad services and bad attitude. That changed some of the hostility toward us. We have multiple directors, so it isn’t up to me to fire them.

    I have been an active participant in one of the forums for property managers and board members. There is an attitude of them vs. us. The owner of the property management company we deal with is pretty gruff, as our attorney put it to me, and the way they treat you is the way you can expect. They have shown their loyalty with vendors this year is to the vendors and not to our board or our homeowners. They left things undone, and supposedly the property management company’s owner came out and inspected it because he knew how difficult we are in wanting things done right. (Yes!). Well, I have photos from after that to prove he’s either blind or incompetent or he doesn’t care. That’s the owner, so you can only expect worst downstream to the community managers.

    Right now we are getting into a fight with the company because they want to just pick up a phone and call one of their vendor buddies when a resident calls in for a repair, without the company being vetted, and without regard for the price. Our board won’t tolerate that. We will go over the property management company because we live here and we have to make the money last, and we have to deal with the residents, not them.

    If I had the authority to fire this company, I would have six months ago. The disclosure statement that is required at closings, that has the president’s name on it? Well, I have been president for a year and the company has refused to provide me with a copy of the document that I supposedly signed, yet have never seen!!!!

    I rather take the money we are spending each month on the management company and put it toward our reserve fund.


  2. I agree, these management companies are not into really caring what any of the homeowners think as long as they can control most of the board and this goes for many HOA attorneys’ as well, its about the money, kickbacks how long they can drag many issues out in most cases it drains the HOA funds. There can be solution between the Board/homeowners, but as long as these entities’ are involved you will never have solution ever. People just like these two guys on “HOA Talk Time” you rub my back we will rub your back (Preferred Vendors List) isn’t that what they are doing drumming up business from these association management companies oh and lets not forget CAI as a sponsor. . It is time, these HOA management companies powers were reduced. Its all about propaganda period. Blame the home owners by telling everyone they are trouble makers people believe them and that is the sad part because home owners by nature are not informed nor do many care its not on their door step issues it is on their door step by the lost of civil and property rights. Plus the many abuses of any State Laws or their very own governing documents.


  3. Great article Deborah Goonan. However, outrageous! The way I see it, they have completely turned the tables. They are talking about themselves when it comes to bullies, etc. Do the research! How can anyone forget the industry’s magazine cover “depictions” (memes) and article, May-June 2006! A must see and read, if you have not! Fallacies and fiction!

    pvtgov.org/pvtgov, http://pvtgov.wordpress.com/ and neighborsatwar.com
    God Bless George Staropoli! | Ward Lucas & The HOA Hell Blog

    Subject: CAI Magazine cover (2006) at the end of this email. http://pvtgov.org/pvtgov/downloads/florida/flselect-pt2.pdf

    This appears to be a violent and hostile organization…yet, “they want to preserve property values..” Sure! I believe they want to create conflict, start knowing fraudulent, extortion lawsuits for money and to steal homes! Some, want far too much control, because they are predators of the most vulnerable populations!

    The entire article is eyeopening, but the magazine cover and “depictions” are violent and malicious…totally undeserved for innocent people who only want their rights upheld and treated fairly, not like someones property to buy and sell at will. Or, punish, intentionally and unlawfully victimized (the court abuse) horribly, and costly, like in your case for their criminality.



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