"A BILL of RIGHTS for HOMEOWNERS in ASSOCIATIONS:
Basic Principles of Consumer Protection and Sample Model Statute"
By David A. Kahne
Law Office of David A. Kahne
The AARP Public Policy Institute,
a part of the Policy and Strategy Group of AARP
We encourage every homeowner across the United States to read this Bill of Rights and become active in your home state to make it become law.
In August 2006, The AARP Policy and Strategy Group released this publication by David Kahne. Texas Homeowners for HOA Reform believes the Sample Model Statute in Mr. Kahne's publication addresses nearly all our objectives in a fair and reasonable manner for homeowners and associations alike. The approach taken in his Bill of Rights is a common sense way of balancing the rights of homeowners against an HOA board's duty to enforce Deed Restrictions and collect dues.
We endorse the Bill of Rights because it would go a long way to stop abuse of homeowners by their associations. Although it doesn't address all of the objectives of our organization, we feel we can endorse this Sample Model Statute and still work to achieve all our objectives.
Eliminating foreclosure powers by HOAs remains our first and most important objective.
The guidelines and restrictions on foreclosure contained in the Sample Model Statute is a great improvement over the current Texas laws. It would give enormous relief to a large majority of homeowners until foreclosure powers by HOAs are entirely eliminated.
The same is true regarding fines levied by associations, as we continue to work in eliminating this abuse as well.
The final reason for endorsement is for the first time there is a nationally recognized organization, totally unrelated to the HOA industry, which sees the need for a Homeowners Bill of Rights to stop HOA abuses. Homeowner activists across the United States should support this effort by AARP as a huge leap in halting the abuse.
Our nation's government was based on the premise that the people should rule and the government should be the instrument by which the people could rule. This Bill of Rights for Homeowners in Associations is built on that same premise. We encourage the citizens of Texas, as well as the citizens all across this nation, to go to the AARP link below and read this publication.
AARP’s Homeowner Bill of Rights
Below is the Bill of Rights. Each Right is explained in much more detail in the Sample Model Statute on the AARP link below.
A BILL of RIGHTS for HOMEOWNERS in ASSOCIATIONS
By David A. Kahne
- The Right to Security against Foreclosure - An association shall not foreclose against a homeowner except for significant unpaid assessments, and any such foreclosure shall require judicial review to ensure fairness.
- The Right to Resolve Disputes without Litigation - Homeowners and associations will have available alternative dispute resolution (ADR), although both parties preserve the right to litigate.
- The Right to Fairness in Litigation - Where there is litigation between an association and a homeowner, and the homeowner prevails, the association shall pay attorney fees to a reasonable level.
- The Right to Be Told of All Rules and Charges - Homeowners shall be told - before buying - of the association's broad powers, and the association may not exercise any power not clearly disclosed to the homeowner if the power unreasonably interferes with the homeownership.
- The Right to Stability in Rules and Charges - Homeowners shall have rights to vote to create, amend, or terminate deed restrictions and other important documents. Where an association's directors have power to change operating rules, the homeowners shall have notice and an opportunity, by majority vote, to override new rules and charges.
- The Right to Individual Autonomy - Homeowners shall not surrender any essential rights of individual autonomy because they live in a common-interest community. Homeowners shall have the right to peaceful advocacy during elections and other votes as well as use of common areas.
- The Right to Oversight of Associations and Directors - Homeowners shall have reasonable access to records and meetings, as well as specified abilities to call special meetings, to obtain oversight of elections and other votes, and to recall directors.
- The Right to Vote and Run for Office - Homeowners shall have well-defined voting rights, including secret ballots, and no director shall have a conflict of interest.
- The Right to Reasonable Associations and Directors - Associations, their directors, and other agents shall act reasonably in exercising their power over homeowners.
- The Right to an Ombudsperson for Homeowners - Homeowners shall have fair interpretation of their rights through the state Office of Ombudsperson for Homeowners. This ombudsperson enables state oversight where needed, and increases available information for all.