Not-so-United States: a nation divided by HOAs

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Is America a nation divided by homeowners’ associations (HOAs)? Stakeholders in the real estate industry are fond of promoting association-governed common interest developments as utopian neighborhoods with a “sense of community.” You’ve probably seen the commercials for lushly landscaped planned subdivisions and villages, right? The ones that show happy, …

Can your HOA end neighbor on neighbor housing discrimination?

50th anniversary fair housing HUD poster

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities As explained in a previous post, in 2016, HUD published a rule that clarified that association-governed boards and their managing agents have legal duty to prevent housing discrimination in their communities. Some industry leaders, including members of trade group Community Associations Institute (CAI), expressed strong disapproval of the Quid …

HOAs from the Dark Side

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities A collection of un-neigbhorly association-governed communities in the U.S. Resident receives mean-spirited anonymous letter: Strongsville Police Blotter Updated Sep 20, 1:52 PM; Posted Sep 20, 7:34 AM By John Benson, special to cleveland.com STRONGSVILLE, Ohio -- Suspicious situation, Lakeview Circle: On Sept. 10, a Lakeview Circle resident came to …

New surveillance camera startup plans to serve HOAs – what could go wrong?

Security camera in use sign

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities How far are you willing to go to protect yourself and your community from crime? How much privacy are you willing to give up? How much would you be willing to pay for security services? A new startup surveillance company is hoping you — or your homeowners association — …

MI: Bay View Association members vote to revoke rule requiring owners to be Christians

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Good news! It appears that a federal lawsuit against Bay View Association, filed by current homeowners and potential home buyers, has generated enough public pressure to convince the association’s membership to vote to eliminate the requirement that all homeowners must be practicing Christians, actively affiliated with a church. …

Federal Housing Authority confirms investigation of Michigan HOA for religious discrimination

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   A federal lawsuit has prompted an investigation of Bay View Association, a seasonal community in Michigan, whose board recently enacted a policy requiring all of its property owners to be practicing Christians, affiliated with a church. See this AP news release: Feds investigate Michigan resort community that requires …

First Amendment, Fair Housing, & Civil Rights: Can MI HOA discriminate on basis of religious affiliation?

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   The Bay View Association (MI) case is particularly important because the Association possesses many of the same qualities, rights, and governing powers of modern association-governed communities (HOAs). If a federal court recognizes Bay View Association as a government entity, could it open the doors to future legal challenges …

Homeowners thankful for HOA Fair Housing legal victory

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Just in time for Thanksgiving, U.S. District Judge William Alsup has awarded a substantial class action settlement in a high profile fair housing, civil rights lawsuit. An $800,000 award has been ordered in favor of hundreds of current and former residents and tenants of the Silvertree Mojave Homeowners Association …

HOA Golf community lawsuis and redevelopment plans (November 2017)

By Deborah Goonan, Indepdendent American Communities     Palm Beach County approves 521 new homes on golf course Aug 25, 2017, 2:22pm EDT Brian Bandell Senior Reporter South Florida Business Journal The Palm Beach County Commission unanimously approved a plan to build 521 homes on the former Marina Lakes Golf Course west of Delray Beach. …

Viriginia Beach community displays the mean side of beach condo living

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Ever dream of owning a condo by the beach, spending your Golden Years enjoying the sand and surf? What if you paid big money for your retirement dream home by the sea, but your access to the beach was blocked by a sand dune? And what if the condo …