Common Democratic Principals Back
Probably few homebuyers realized when they purchased a home in Shavano Ridge that they were signing away many of their Constitutional rights when they signed the CC&Rs. Many of the rules and safeguards of U.S. law do not apply here. If you want them back, you're going to have to earn them, and you're going to have to protect them. You're going to have to participate in the governing process, which means you're going to have to go to the Board meetings and voice your opinions. You can also use this website to augment that voice. If you don't get involved, those common democratic principals will be lost. You won't find them in the CC&Rs, they left that part out. What homeowners need to remember is that, if they don't take charge of their own homeowner's association, somebody else will.
Below is a collection of quotes from various experts in the field. The original articles can be found on this website. Most of this information should come as a big shock to homeowners here in Shavano Ridge.
"... unlike with city governments, which ostensibly must follow democratic laws of governance, HOAs are woefully unregulated...homeowner associations have evolved from a utopian socialistic ideal to undemocratic, private governments that govern without a Bill of Rights and proper checks and balances..."
"...the builder writes the “laws” otherwise known as covenants and is the only one with input on how they should be drafted. Making the rules in a Monarchial setting means that the power and authority does not come from the people being governed, in fact, they have no say whatsoever."
"There is no signed document that informs the home buyer they are giving up their Constitutional rights when they purchase their home."
"...homeowners enter into a private contract whereby they surrendered their civil rights without any information that this was indeed what they had agreed to..."
"Often, when people buy homes with HOAs, they don't know what they are signing away." They have not really meaningfully consented to be governed by HOAs. Most haven't read the covenants -- they don't know what they mean."
"HOAs currently engage in many activities that would be prohibited if they were viewed by the courts as the equivalent of local governments...they are lacking in government oversight, a grievance process, and limits on their power and authority."
"When you join a homeowners association, you are handing over control of the way you want your home to look, and what you want to do in and around it to the association's board of directors. They can be untrained people with no knowledge of the law or business, and sometimes have very bizarre ideas of what they want in their community."
"...all you need is one or two power-hungry control freaks on a board to create a lot of problems... petty disputes can turn serious if the transgression collides with a vindictive HOA member or, worse, an avaricious lawyer. It can even lead to people losing their homes."
"... there is now an entire cottage industry of lawyers and property managers who feed off liens and fees, offering their services to the generally inexperienced HOAs...the worst part about the whole process is that it's legal...the bar even offers workshops on the process."
"What's more ominous is the professional industries that have grown around the homeowner's associations complete with their own lobbying groups -- eager to make sure government oversight remains at a minimum...already, there is a powerful trade association, the Community Association Institute, which tends to resist laws that increase government oversight."
"We need a more general statement from the states saying that you have basic rights as a homeowner -- a bill of rights for owners -- that even if we have privatized our neighborhoods, we can't privatize our constitutional rights."