The HOA Industry Is Killing The American Dream



Published January 25, 2020

Written by Sean Maclaren, posted on


Unless you own a Rolls Royce or restored WWII P-51 Mustang, your home is your biggest and most important material investment, and the equity your home generates over time is the largest part of your family’s wealth. 

The “American Dream” has long been a mainstay of our culture. Perhaps its most important part, short of becoming a millionaire, has been owning a home and property. And with that dream comes a steep price, a literal one: most people cannot afford to pay for a house in full, so they enter into a mortgage agreement that allows them to take out a loan to fund their dream.

As of January 2020, the median home price in the U.S. was about $200,000 and featured three bedrooms and two and a half baths under 1,500 square feet of living space.

That short description is dreamy enough, until you throw in other factors like interest rate, property taxes, and other fees most people don’t expect.

Americans with a mortgage will pay nearly twice the list price for this home over the span of fifteen or thirty years, and most will never even pay off the mortgage. That’s close to 100% interest, though all choose to ignore it, instead entering into a usurious contract that will likely cause great anxiety in the future.

All to live the great “American Dream.”

This series of articles takes an in-depth look at America’s secretive, dangerous and corrupt industry that is carefully designed, maintained and protected by the federal government and the U.S. Supreme Court, and all states and local governments. Our aim is to educate you and your family about how to protect yourselves against the entities that seek to rip you off and take your home away from you.

In this first story, we present background information and history about owning a home in America today, and some of the pitfalls.

Is Renting Becoming the New Norm?

The advantages to owning your own home have been eroding since 2007, when the housing market began its descent. Homeowners have been selling their homes or bravely walking away from their mortgages in record numbers and becoming renters.

The largest demographic keeping their homes are those sixty-five and older, and that’s mostly due to inertia, plus some own their home outright or owe little on it. These people can easily afford to keep these homes they have lived in for almost fifty years, if not more.

Millions of younger homeowners face a different situation: they simply can no longer afford to live in their home, nor do they see any real benefits to home ownership as advertised and propagandized by the “American Dream.”

As society evolves in ways difficult or impossible to predict, some prospective homeowners are opting instead to sell their home and rent a traditional house, or to enjoy an alternate lifestyle: live in tiny houses, i.e. dwellings less than the size of a 40-foot shipping container, live out of a van or r/v and travel around America and/or abroad.

A 25 January 2018 article on states:
“The idea of owning a home lost much of the charm that once made it a structural element of the American Dream. Although the most recent data shows that the growth of the rental segment is losing momentum, it’s in part because homeownership has great losses to recover and it’s just starting to bounce back from the impact of the recession.”

What is interesting, and also misleading, about these statements is the omission of another reason some homeowners are becoming renters: they despise living under the rules of a homeowners’ association (HOA), cannot find other non-HOA homes, and are opting instead to become full-time renters.

Renting or choosing an alternate lifestyle relieves them of the burden faced under home-ownership, especially under the strict rules of an HOA, and allows them to keep more of their hard-earned income, not to mention retaining the liberty to live a chosen life without an HOA mandating how they live in their own home, paid with their own money.

Your Home May Be Your Castle, But You Don’t Own It

Why do we choose to pay so much of our incomes and devote much of our lives for a “castle” that is not actually ours, though we are led to believe it is?

After all, homeowners are only temporary stewards of their own home and land, and the government can take both at any time.

Under certain circumstances, a bank, mortgage lender or private lender can call in a loan that cannot possibly be repaid right away, and seize your home and property.

No one advertises these facts, certainly not our own federal government or any bank or mortgage company. They all want you to contribute to and live the illusion of the “American Dream,” be ignorant of the laws, statutes, rules and regulations, so you will eagerly enter into a long-term contract that benefits them.

True, you have a home to live in, show off, entertain in, work from. But it is never really 100% yours. Never, even if you pay off the mortgage completely.

A bank, holding company, mortgage lender or any entity, like a private investor who bought the lien, that holds a security interest in your home can seize your property for nonpayment of mortgage and can repossess or foreclose on it. All you have to do is not pay the mortgage or abide by the terms of the mortgage agreement, and you could lose your home.

Does this still feel like homeownership to you?

Are you comfortable knowing that you pay what may be a large monthly mortgage loan payment, yet the majority of your payment goes to paying the interest on that loan?

Remember: when you enter into a mortgage agreement, you allow the holder to place a lien on your home. The only way to lift that lien is to pay off the mortgage balance in full. Even after thirty years, most people do not pay off their home’s mortgage loan.

If that’s not bad enough, consider this depressing issue:
Your city or county can seize your property for nonpayment of property taxes. The taxing authority can directly foreclose on your home or sell the lien to another party that ends up foreclosing on it. Alternatively, your lender could step in and pay the overdue property taxes, then assess you. And if you cannot pay the lender, they foreclose on your property.

In short, you could lose your home and property over a payment that may only be $2,000. And thousands of homeowners fall victim to this each year.

Wait, it gets worse:
An HOA can seize and foreclose on your property for nonpayment of a simple quarterly fee that may not be more than $100. It’s true: forget or refuse to pay the HOA fees or an expensive assessment and you could lose your home. It happens every single week in America, though you’d be hard pressed to hear about it in mainstream media. '

Grassroots alternative media regularly post horror stories about someone losing their home because they couldn’t pay an HOA fee or assessment. And what’s especially heartbreaking is that sometimes the amount owed is only one or two thousand dollars.

I ask you: where is our own federal government when we need it most? They sold us the “American Dream,” and now they’re allowing an HOA to legally take it from us even though we may have been paying on our home for twenty-five years and had excellent credit.

Not even your state’s ever-powerful and annoying Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has the power an HOA does. If you fail to renew your license or license plates, they may take away your driver’s license or seize your vehicle for noncompliance, but they can’t seize your home. Not yet.

No, the DMV cannot take away your home yet, but if you run afoul of an HOA, which is usually run by wholly unqualified and unsuitable volunteers, you could lose your entire home and property. That’s awesome power. Surprisingly, many homeowners who live under the strict rules of an HOA don’t even know about it . . . until they are confronted by their HOA.

You can bet there’re HOA industry lawyers hard at work conceiving ways to allow a DMV to seize your house for nonpayment of HOA fees or fines. The trends in the HOA industry strongly suggest this will happen in your lifetime.

Your Own City Can Take Away Your Home
Sadly too, a city can seize your home and property if you fail to maintain your lawn and yard up to their standards by fining you hundreds of dollars a day, sometimes continuing into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Of course, some people can’t possibly pay these fines, so the city takes away their home and property and sells it on the open market. And then sends them a bill for the city’s “services,” including attorney and court fees.

The City of Dunedin, Florida is notorious for doing just this, and even gloating about how “efficient” they and their system are. Such hubris by an organization that should be protecting its citizens only shows the extent of their psychopathic behavior.

Unfortunately, they have largely gotten away with such behaviors, simply because homeowners didn’t adequately protect themselves and their legal rights.

In fact, most homeowners have no idea what they’ve really gotten into when they sign a mortgage agreement to purchase a house. Most don’t even know they now live in a city or area with very strict statutes and regulations, and if you violate any of them, you could lose your home.

The City of Dunedin has been heavily criticized the last two years. It appears to be living by a double-standard that protects its wealthy citizens and the city’s top employees.

Recently, the mayor of Dunedin placed a tarp over her damaged roof, and parked an r/v in her driveway, in violation of the city’s codes. But she was not fined. Florida Statutes term this “selective enforcement,” when, for example, an HOA or city imposes fines on homeowners for an infraction, but allows one of their cronies to commit the same infraction without being cited or fined.

Institute for Justice attorney Ari Bargil said, “Every person in Dunedin, whether they’re an elected official or a lay citizen, should be required to play by the same set of rules. And it seems like that’s not really the case. You have folks that are getting tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands in fines for things like tall grass, having a tarp on their roof, while others, the mayor included, seems to be getting held to a different standard and that’s just fundamentally unfair.”

In the last five years, Dunedin code enforcement fines almost tripled. In 2018, it collected more than $1.1 million dollars, but only expects to collect about $400,000 in 2020.

The City of Dunedin addresses fines on their website: “Fine amounts are determined by the Code Enforcement Board, an independent panel of Dunedin residents appointed by the City Commission.”

A Dunedin city official said they can impose whatever fine they want, because the U.S. Supreme Court gave them permission to determine the exact amount of a fine. Such arrogance is regularly flaunted by Dunedin officials.

A 22 July 2019 article in USA Today states, “Fines are a reliable source of revenue for cash-starved cities, and they have become a big—and rapidly growing—business for local governments. States, cities and counties collected $15.3 billion in fines and forfeitures in 2016, according to the most recent financial records collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s a 44% jump from a decade earlier.”

The City of Dunedin is only one example of a city generating considerable revenue from fines alone. It has become more than just a cottage industry, it has become a true billion-dollar industry that supports more than just cities.

What’s even worse is that this frenzied behavior feeds off homeowners almost without bound, because federal, state and local laws are written to protect members of the HOA industry, not homeowners.

The U.S. Supreme Court Ruled On “Excessive Fines”
In early 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states cannot impose excessive fines. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the court: “Protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield through Anglo-American history for good reason. Such fines undermine other liberties.”

On the outside, the Supreme Court’s addition to the Eighth Amendment is good news for homeowners, but when you take a deeper look into the law, you’ll discover that the Court gave states the right to determine what “excessive” means. The City of Dunedin still takes unfair advantage of the Court’s decision.

Unfortunately, this bait-and-switch lawmaking happens all too often in America. A newly enacted law will appear to protect citizens, who suddenly feel safe and secure and continue on with their daily lives, not knowing that in reality the law was designed to protect special interests, those like the City of Dunedin.

In the end, there is absolutely no homeowner protection, though the Court has created the illusion of it.

Justice Ginsberg gives lip service to us about a law that does not protect homeowners or those threatened with excessive fines. Her seemingly sweet, calm demeanor masks her hidden contempt for ordinary Americans.

You Do Not Own Your Own Land
Did you know you do not actually own the land on the property you “bought”?

In fact, there is no allodial property on the planet.

“Allodial land” is the complete property of its owner and is not bound by any mortgage, lease or rent, any type of government or private service, property taxes and assessments, and is not beholden in any way to anyone who may be superior to the owner, e.g. a landlord, bank, mortgage lender, etc.

Every American homeowner is subject to one or more of the above criteria, usually a mortgage and property taxes, so they do not own their own purchased land or property.

To learn the ultimate “landlord,” follow the money and the power. This is not within the scope of this book.

The U.S. Government Can Seize Your Home and Property
Every piece of private property in the U.S. theoretically can be seized by the U.S. government under “eminent domain.” Federal law also allows for seizure of your personal property: patents, trademarks, copyrighted works, business trade secrets, etc.

Anyone who states otherwise is lying or attempting to mislead and misinform you, if not rip you off.
I’ll state this more clearly: you do not own your home or the land under it, and it can be taken from you at any time. Federal law allows this.

Many Americans Are Not Happy Living In Their Own Homes
More than three-fourths of all homeowners invest additional money in their homes for general maintenance, improvements, pest control, lawn and garden development and upkeep, or as a rental investment.

Americans, on average, report that their home is their greatest satisfaction and source of pride, as it does more than merely provide shelter and safety from weather, bugs and animals, neighbors, and the general noise of the outside world.

Twenty-five percent of these people say their home is also their biggest headache. When asked why, nearly all state it’s because of their HOA, its board members and property-management company.

They further lament about continually being bullied by an HOA board, harassed by individual members who intimidate homeowners, and coerced into paying unnecessary fees and penalties.

Though not formally recognized, “HOA Syndrome” is a term and concept developed by Dr. Gary Solomon, and it is much like PTSD. The homeowner suffers anxiety and stress from being harassed by an HOA, and these issues descend into depression and suicidal behavior, and a host of other physical issues resulting from chronic stress.

Don’t believe this? Talk with your fellow homeowners about your HOA, see how they react and what they say. Are they stressed about the HOA?

The Biggest Crooks Americans Don’t Know About: HOAs
Today, more than a quarter of Americans live in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA) that has strict covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&R). States have also adopted HOA statutes that further govern the legal actions and behaviors of HOAs and their boards, and property-management companies.

As of early 2020, there were nearly 350,000 nonprofit HOAs in America, taking in an estimated $100 billion dollars a year in HOA fees, penalties for noncompliance of general rules and those covered under CC&R, proceeds from foreclosures and collection agencies, etc.

That is a staggering number: $100 billion dollars.
Even more surprising is the fact that hardly anyone even knows about this industry, let alone talks about it or seeks to study and learn what it is and how it works.

Every person we interviewed for this book said they were disgusted by their HOA and associated board members. Not one single person in more than 100 of those interviewed had a positive thing to say about their HOA. Not one.

Mainstream media are little to no help, either. Instead, they report on what they say is the fastest-growing industry today: legal marijuana. In 2020, it is estimated to earn $35 billion dollars.

Think about that: a highly publicized industry that features a product still illegal under federal law is touted as the fastest-growing sector in America today, and it’s getting all the attention.

Do you get the feeling someone up the ladder or flagpole is directing mainstream media not to report on these important HOA issues?

All the while, the HOA industry continues to operate under everyone’s radar and grow at an unprecedented rate, and do great harm to millions of Americans in every state. And it does so in near secrecy and under the protection of the U.S., state and local governments and private entities.

Here we have a massive and well-protected bully with so much inertia that it operates in your neighborhood with impunity.

The HOA industry consists of federal, state and local politicians, crooked courts and their judges, law firms and attorneys, property-management companies and their associates, collection agencies, and thousands of volunteers who serve on HOA boards.

All these business entities and people serve one purpose: to rip off homeowners and take as much of their hard-earned income as possible.

The worst part about this growing phenomenon is that it is almost 100% legal and operates within the bounds of federal, state and local laws. HOA industry lobbyists regularly pressure our federal government, and state and local governing bodies, to pass legislation that effectively protects the HOA industry and erodes the rights of homeowners.

How does all this make you feel?
How do you react to the fact that there are specific laws that actually support the HOA industry and work against homeowners like you?

Most people react in anger and disbelief, then feel helpless to prevent or stop them. And for good reason.

On the surface, it appears that our own local, state and federal governments provide some measure of relief for homeowners, but the authorities don’t advertise it, much less encourage homeowners to study, understand and implement countermeasures against an HOA or property-management company, or the legal team that represents any one of them.

In secret, though, these government entities conspire against homeowners, although homeowners generally do not believe it.

Americans Are Too Inexperienced to Stand Up to HOAs
There are only a handful of grassroots organizations that have sprung up around America to educate homeowners and fight HOAs. Very few homeowners join or support these important organizations.

It begs the question: why don’t homeowners take an interest in these issues?

The reason: we are taught to rely on and trust mainstream media to deliver our news and information. Mainstream media tell us that alternative news outlets deliver “fake news,” so we should ignore them.

The problem is, traditional media outlets deliver the party line written by publicists in the HOA industry, so what we hear is what the HOA industry wants us to hear and learn.

Do you think the HOA industry wants homeowners to become educated about all these issues?

Homeowners have been taught to fear their HOA and the bullies who support and govern it. Homeowners are clearly in the majority, but they fear the minority because homeowners are inexperienced in all aspects of personal rights, laws that govern HOAs, and how to use those laws to protect their home.

All HOA boards are run by inexperienced volunteers from their own neighborhood. While some boards are run by well-intentioned men and women who look after their communities, most are run by a dictatorial director and his cronies, none of whom are actually qualified to serve on the board of a nonprofit organization.

Psychologist Dr. Gary Solomon has studied HOAs for years. He’s also carefully examined members of HOA boards and drawn up a general behavioral profile: “Some Board members suffer from Anti-Social Personality Disorder and they get great pleasure from controlling and hurting homeowners within the HOA community.”

Our very own neighbors, as soon as they are given a little power, often rally their HOA board and conspire against us, causing us untold grief and anxiety.

This article is not about psycho HOA board members, though it could fill hundreds of pages describing the various personality disorders they have, how they wield their power over homeowners in nefarious and sometimes illegal ways, and the horror stories these psychos create.

Read some of the alternative-news blogs that report on HOAs, and you’ll learn of some HOA board member going to jail for embezzlement and fraud. It’s more common than you may think, and it goes largely unnoticed because homeowners do not care enough to police their own HOA board’s activities and those of the property-management company that manages the board.

The entire HOA industry can accurately be seen as a giant psycho, much like typical corporations that also sometimes do great harm to innocent Americans. This book will touch upon the psychopathic nature of the HOA industry and how it affects homeowners. When a homeowner learns what type of entity they are up against, homeowners then will arm themselves with the necessary legal tools to counter any moves made by an HOA.

After all, psychos are just a different kind of beast. And any beast can be defeated with the right weapon.

Protect Yourself and Your Family from an HOA
You don’t have to give up your rights when you live in an HOA neighborhood. To protect yourself and family, your home and property from an HOA, you need three essential things:
1. Know your rights as an American citizen, resident of your state, city and county.
2. Know your state’s statutes that govern HOAs.
3. Know how to implement what you learn in a court of law or out of court.

These Articles Are Your New Tool and Weapon
HOA articles will introduce the history of the HOA and its industry, how it has grown to an estimated 350,000 HOAs across the country, how an HOA typically functions, the entities and people that support an HOA, the general laws and regulations that govern and protect an HOA, what a homeowner needs to fight an HOA, and how a homeowner can prevail in and out of court.

We will also include real-world examples of how to respond to a threatening letter or demand letter from your HOA, and how to get assistance from grassroots organizations that are experts in successfully defending homeowners and fighting HOAs.

Please keep this in mind: All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing, so please don’t be lazy and allow HOAs to frighten, intimidate or cause you harm. Get informed so you can protect yourself and family, and your home and property.