Presidential Estates Homeowners Association in West Palm Beach, Florida

Just the opinion of a former Member of a Florida Homeowners’ Association
Published August 16, 2003

The Presidential Homeowners Association was run by an evil dictatorship in my opinion. At one HOA meeting, the manager introduced himself literally as "THE EVIL BEHIND THE INK."   Soon after I purchased my home, the “dictatorship” tried to control me.  It started with a letter about a statue, a collector’s item of a little black boy.  The letter informed me that having the statue sit on a wall in my yard “offended people who do not even live in the neighborhood.”  To be cooperative, I moved the statue to a place where it was no longer visible.  To me the statue simply represents life, nothing more.

At first I went along with the homeowners associations rules, even though I noticed that my neighbors broke rule after rule without being threatened or harassed.  My older sons, my 11-year-old son and I were all controlled in numerous ways by the management.  As a widow, I felt I was unduly harassed.

First, a lawsuit threat forced me to landscape my yard during a drought.

Second, a lawsuit threat of “slander” was brought by the manager of the HOA.
Because of this threat, I had to cancel a trip for which I had purchased a $17,000 travel trailer.  The manager claimed that I “slandered” him in a letter I wrote to him, to Security and to Board of Directors demanding clickers in gates to be reactivated.  I had told Security in advance about the purchase of the travel trailer and the need to bring it into the neighborhood to stock it for the proposed trip.  However, as soon as I brought this travel trailer into my street, Security deactivated my clicker.  When I complained, a lawsuit was threatened. 

Yet a neighbor occasionally allows a large motor-home to be parked on a vacant lot next to his home.  The visitors in the motor-home act as though they are camping out  --  washing the motor-home, placing chairs outside, rolling out the awning.  Usually these visitors are present for a few days at a time.  It is my understanding that the gate clickers have never been deactivated in response to the presence of this motor-home, although this is a clear violation of the rules.  It is interesting to note that the persons who entertain these visitors have a son who has worked for the HOA Security Guards for many years!

Hey, an attorney neighbor even came to my door one day and threatened to break my 11-year-old son’s neck!  Security did nothing about this.  I called the police and filed a police report myself.  If I hadn't, it never would have been reported to the West Palm Beach Police.  By the way, this attorney’s wife was a member of the Board of Directors of the HOA.

Just prior to the closing of my new home, I brought my 26-foot travel trailer to my WPB house to load for the move.   As soon as I passed through the community gate, the security guard radioed to her superior to report that I had brought the travel trailer into the neighborhood.  Immediately gate clickers to all three cars registered in my name were deactivated.  I found my clicker would not work the next time I tried to enter the neighborhood gate. When I ask why, I was told that I had brought my travel trailer into the neighborhood and kept it overnight. That was a LIE.  The travel trailer was at my home in my circular driveway for only three hours, while I loaded it for the move to my new home.

During the entire four days until the home closing, Security refused to reactive my clickers.  Each time I came to the gate I asked, “Have you reactivated my clickers?”  Each time the answer was “NO.”  Let me add that I had paid the homeowners’ association their dues and for these clickers and for their use. 
Seems that Security wanted just one last chance to harass me.  Realistically, they knew that the Management of the Homeowners Association would support their decision.

It was at their discretion from the liberty given them by association management. I confronted Security several times asking why my clickers had not been reactivated?  They told me I would have to go to the "other gate" and to see "the superior" about it.  It was one more discouraging thing to add to the long list of things that had happened to my family during the three years we lived there.

It took my West Palm Beach home a whole year to sell.  I believe it was because of the HOA’s practices and presence in the neighborhood. I also had to reduce the price of the house $100,000 under its market value.  This was a very serious financial loss for my family and me.

Did I sell the house to a friend? Heavens, NO!  I would not do such a thing to a friend of mine.  Besides most of my close friends already knew of the harassment and discrimination that I had encountered as a resident there and would not even consider living in such a community.

I noticed a pattern in the neighborhood.  Homeowners who were harassed by management:  Single women, the not-so-wealthy, and the minorities.  Thirteen Security Guards worked for the HOA.  This little army of Security Guards were eager to harass certain homeowners.  Photographs and videos were documented to prove these allegations, in case I ever needed to defend myself against a lawsuit.

At one point I even mentioned to management that all the evil that they had in the hard drive of their computers could easily be subpoenaed. Strangely enough,
not long afterwards I noticed that Security had new computers. Interesting!

So many homeowners complained about Security, the HOA Management Company and its manager.  Yet no one wanted to stand up to them to stop all of their wrongdoing. The abused homeowners would rather sell and move.

However, if the homeowner was considered powerful and wealthy, then as the President of the Board of Directors said in his own words "I didn't see anything." 

Praise God!  The closing took place and I am no longer legally subject to the Presidential Estates Homeowners Association, Security Guards and their "evil behind the ink."  It’s a good feeling.  I have since moved out of Florida and, let me tell you, I have already noticed a huge difference in being released from the grasp of the Homeowners’ Association.

My freedom is now restored.  Praise God!  Public servants known as “The Police” do the security for my new neighborhood and I do not have to pay $616.50 every three months for their services.  Their salaries come out of tax dollars, just the same as I paid when living in Presidential Estates.  Funny thing is I rarely saw a policeman in my neighborhood in West Palm Beach.

Someone asks if it is worth all the trouble and effort to move out of a homeowners’ association?  My advice is "YES”!

If you stay in an HOA, you will never own your home  --  even if it is paid for and you pay your taxes faithfully and obey their rules. The Homeowners’ Association will own it unless legally terminated.

That day when I exited the West Palm Beach gate for the last time...with me I took the memories, scars and emotional pain that had been forced upon me by the Homeowners’ Association.  As a Christian, I forgive them.  I have vowed to never again live in a Homeowners’ Association  --  NEVER EVER again, so help me God.