Condominiums and Homeowner Associations represent a $90 billion a year, unregulated industry.
21% of all Americans -- nearly 70 million people -- live in a community association.
Condos are more than twice as likely to go into foreclosure than traditional single-family homes.
On September 26, 2014, President Obama signed legislation removing condos from the HUD-administered Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act. There is now NO federal consumer protection for millions of Americans purchasing and living in condominium associations.
7 Misunderstood Facts About
The typical homeowners or condominium association puts either a profit-motivated Developer or your neighboring property owners (people you may barely know, and who often lack relevant qualifications) in charge of governing your home, your lifestyle choices, AND your money.
Today, four out of five real estate sales are in condominium or Homeowners Association communities--a $90 billion a year industry representing five times the amount the federal government spends to run NASA. An estimated 70 million Americans are living under the rule of an association.
Association-governed real estate ownership (which includes condominiums, cooperatives and single family homes within a Homeowners Association) comes with considerable risks of which few are aware when they sign on the dotted line.
Owners waive many of their Constitutional Rights in association-governed communities.
New purchasers essentially become business partners in a non-profit corporation with all of their new neighbors -- people who are often strangers with different values and priorities.
Largely untrained volunteer board members have the power to assess owners for any amount of money they deem necessary. Owners are fully obligated to pay for any and all debts, loans, lawsuits, settlements, liabilities, construction defects, and disaster rebuilds for the association.
If an owner fails to follow the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) Declaration and Bylaws, or Rules and Regulations, most boards have the authority to fine, lien, and foreclose on the property. And, even if the association does not honor the terms of the CC&Rs contract, owners are unconditionally obligated to pay assessments anyway, or risk losing their home to foreclosure by the association.
In many cases, the Association Board has broad authority to change and enact rules that directly affect all residents.
Mortgage-free real estate in an association-governed community is often an automatic target for foreclosure. In states without judicial foreclosure laws, if you become delinquent on payments to your Association, your home can be taken away from you in as little as 30 days.
During construction phases of a condominium or subdivision, the corporate structure of the Owners Association allows the developer to control the board. It may take several years or even decades until owners are legally able to elect a majority of the board. This effectively shields the builder from liability for construction defects, and often allows builders to waive paying full assessments on undeveloped lots. By the time the association is turned over, owners may be on the hook for extensive needed repairs, with little money to pay for them.
The total estimated value of all homes in association-governed communities is $5 trillion.
72% of associations are underfunded and more than 50% are in serious financial trouble.
Today, more than 80% of all new construction is located in an association-governed community.