By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Two great articles to share today!
Despite rumors you may have heard about apathy in HOAs, homeowners in Arizona and California are standing up for their rights, and going public with their fights against injustice.
California man takes a stand for free speech
Patrick Foley, a San Diego resident of La Costa Valley, is taking a stand for free speech in his Master Homeowners’ Association.
A few weeks ago, the property manager mailed a letter to Foley, asking the resident to remove some political signs he placed in the window of his home. Foley says that, in the U.S., he has a First Amendment right to free speech, so the signs are not coming down.
One very illuminating fact reported by the San Diego Tribune: the HOA board has granted the community association manager free reign to issue covenant violation letters, without first obtaining approval from the board.
Most residents of HOA-ville across America may not realize that this is standard procedure in many “professionally” managed association-governed communities.
Board members often don’t know about alleged rule-breakers unless and until the manager reports violations at a meeting of directors and officers. And many of my readers tell me that their management companies actually charge the HOA a fee for each violation notice they generate.
That said, it’s not always a case of the manager roaming the community with cellphone or clipboard in hand, in search of problems to solve, to justify their paychecks.
The truth is, nearly every HOA has at least one nosey neighbor who loves to snitch on rule breakers — sometimes even if no rules have been broken.
In this case, perhaps one of Foley’s neighbors disagrees with his point of view?
So, here’s a question for anyone in La Costa Valley who wants Foley to remove his signs from his private property: you may disagree with Foley’s political views, but are you also willing to give up your right to express a different opinion?
And, more importantly, why should American residents “agree” to give up their First Amendment rights within the boundaries of their association-governed communities?
La Costa resident battles HOA over immigration rights signs
Phil DiehlContact Reporter
San Diego Tribune
August 2, 2018. 6:00 AM
A La Costa resident’s ongoing battle with his homeowners association has reached new heights since he put signs in his front window protesting the president’s immigration policy.
Patrick Foley has two rectangular printed signs, about 30 inches across, taped to the inside of the glass.
“In The Name Of Humanity, Stop Terrorizing Immigrant Children,” reads the top sign, with ”#TrumpPenceMustGo” and “RefuseFascism.org” in smaller type.
Beneath that sign, a second, slightly smaller one reads, “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor,” in English, Spanish and Arabic.
In July, Foley received a letter from the La Costa Valley Master Association telling him, “It appears there is an unauthorized sign in the window.
“Please remove the signs immediately,” the letter states, and it cites a subsection of the association’s codes, covenants and restrictions.
The letter is from Linda Anderson of the homeowners association’s management company. She did not return messages or an email to her office this week.
Foley wrote a letter late in July disputing the association’s authority over his signs. He has no plans to remove them, he said this week.
Arizona property owner sues HOA for discrimination against his tenants
In a small 9-unit condominium association in Phoenix, Ward Tyczka owns a unit that he leases to tenants.
His previous tenant was a family with two children. According to Tyczka, the condo association manager sent emails to the homeowner making derogatory statements about his tenant’s race.
And, in response to alleged damages caused by children of tenants, the condo association abruptly decided not to rent to families with children under the age of 16.
But Sunrise Village Condominium Association is not a legally age-restricted community. So the board’s new rule was illegal.
When Tyczka pointed out that age restrictions violate Fair Housing laws, the property manager reportedly doubled down, insisting that HOAs can have age restrictions on residents.
From my reading of the direct quotes in the Arizona Republic, it’s quite clear that the condo manager’s remarks are insensitive, at best, if not downright offensive.
So Tyczka hired Attorney Jonathan Dessaules, and sued his condo association, seeking $300,000 in damages.
Of course, after the lawsuit was filed, the condo association suddenly denied the existence of a written age restriction policy. Funny how that happens.
Apparently, however, the lawsuit references evidence of the board’s unanimous vote for the age restriction rule earlier this year.
‘No, you can’t,’ condo owner says to HOA after alleged age and race discrimination
Lorraine Longhi, Arizona Republic
Published 6:00 a.m. MT Aug. 27, 2018 | Updated 10:52 a.m. MT Aug. 27, 2018
Ward Tyczka was renting his Phoenix condo to a family with two children when the property manager began raising concerns.
The family eventually moved out when their lease was up, but the property manager informed him this spring that Sunrise Village Condominiums Association had changed its rules to prohibit kids under age 16.
Tyczka filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against the association and its manager, saying the new rule discriminated against tenants based on age and tied his hands in legally renting or selling the condo.
The lawsuit also cites emails in which the property manager highlights that the family renting his condo is black.
Bravo to both Mr. Foley and Mr. Tyczka for speaking out in public. When courageous individuals stand up for their rights, everyone wins. Fellow homeowners should join these true homeowner leaders in their defense of freedom and equality.
No American resident should be expected to set aside their rights based upon the whims or bully pulpit of an ignorant or power-hungry HOA. It’s high time that association-governing boards and managers respect the Civil Rights and liberties of all residents.
Likewise, it’s time for U.S. and state policy makers to ensure that all 70 million residents of association-governed communities receive equal protection of their rights. The Constitution, and its Bill of Rights, must apply to all Americans, no matter where they happen to live.