How government uses HOAs and special districts to create stealth tax

How many layers of government do we really need? By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Have you ever stopped to think about all the costs associated with owning a home? Property taxes. Homeowners, condominium, or cooperative association maintenance fees and assessments. Insurance. Short and long term maintenance. Homeowners and home buyers may not fully understand …

MO HOA faces millions in special assessments to stop landslides

This is the third landslide in 20 years for Winter Valley subdivision, near Fenton By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Making its rounds on the news and social media is the report of a landslide at Winter Valley subdivision near Fenton, Missouri. Homeowners report that the earth movement of May 4 is the third event …

Private communities often come with burdensome costs

HOAs, condo associations pay extra for private infrastructure, amenities By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities About 4 or 5 decades ago, many local governments began approving new development of planned communities and condominiums. Many of these housing developments include private infrastructure and recreational amenities. But most buyers and homeowners do not realize the primary incentive …

West Virginia HOA seeks annexation to City

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   The industry that builds, sells, and services association-governed common interest communities is fond of stating that these communities are an "institution" that is "here to stay." And, in fact, the industry, and many local governments, have intentionally set the HOA trap for decades, with complicated statutes and land …

HOA trends: erosion of support for storm water management

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities I read several reports each week involving flooding, sinkholes, and soil subsidence caused by inadequate or failing storm water management systems. And every time I post one of these reports on social media, or feature the topic on my blog, I receive several private messages from homeowners with similar …

State legislators want to prevent multi-million dollar HOA, condo construction defect verdicts

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   I love it when I get the opportunity to present two different HOA reports side by side. It illustrates the level of controversy in the industry, and provides the reader with perspective. One hot issue is how to deal with shoddy construction of homes, particularly in condominium and …

AZ HOA bills address foreclosure, voting, conflicts of interest and more

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Legislative season is in full gear across the U.S. And while some state advocate groups are proposing omnibus bills - bills that address multiple amendments to current HOA, condo or cooperative association statute - one Arizona homeowner advocacy group is taking a different approach. Arizona Homeowners Coalition is working …

City and Developers make deal to double tax homeowners

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Have you ever wondered why local governments are so enthusiastic about approving construction contracts for common interest communities with HOAs? It comes down to one thing. The money. Specifically, property tax revenue. And in many cases, local governments double dip into the tax revenue abyss. One case in …

HOA’s “lousy” roads are doubly taxing (MS)

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities   Road maintenance - or lack of it - is becoming a common headache for homeowners, especially in Association Governed Communities such as HOAs. Today's report comes from a very small homeowners association in Mississippi. Oak Hill Estates has only 20 homes situated on two roads, Hill Drive and …

Tampa CDD condo owners left paying debts of convicted developer

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities     The vast majority of home buyers and homeowners have very little understanding of Special Tax Districts, particularly the kind that are set up for residential housing. They go by several different names, but in Florida, these are called Community Development Districts (CDDs). A CDD is not a …