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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Now even HUD knows that there are BIG problems in Communities.

This is a posting IK did about this in 2004. Does anyone want to guess how many regulators or elected officials have even taken notice. Even Mike Wallace at 60 minutes refuses to talk about this issue since i have called faxed and in person asked him too.

Now even HUD knows that there are BIG problems in Communities.
In the recent Federal Register ( 65324 Vol. 69, No. 217/Wednesday, November 10 2004 Proposed Rules ) HUD is proposing a new rule that would amend 24 CFR 203.23(a) to require a provision in the mortgage for the payment of homeowner or condominium association fees among the other payments that the mortgage is required to make under the mortgage. According to HUD, after performing a study on the various state laws they find that there is "great variance amongst the states with the states". Quoting directly "Further, HUD desires to protect the viability of homeowners's and condominium association by providing a method whereby there would be greater assurance of the associations collecting their fees. HUD also wants to protect hose homeowners who do pay their fees from being assessed for maintenance and other expenses that cannot be paid because other homeowners do not pay their fees."
I have a personally been writing to national elected leaders about this issue and others for at least 5-6 years. The fact that HUD when they are in position of a property often their closing contractors refuse to pay community assessment claiming that HUD is not obligated to pay them. In fact on April 8th 2002 Meldoy H. Dennel, Assistant Secretary of HUD responded to my request via Senator Mikulski office about this issues with the following. " The Department feels that modifying the HUD-1 Settlement Statement, as suggested by Mr. Jacobsen, may well ensure that HUD's closing agents are in compliance with State and local laws. A review for implementation of this approach is now underway. That was over 2 years ago.
Well I believe we can all see that from their review that they have discovered that this is a real issue and hence the need for the revisions to the Single Family Mortgage Insurance Program. While I have many felling about this approach I do believe that this is a wake up call and if we do not get the mortgage industry and our elected officials to understand the overall scope of this problem we are just going to create more problems. My desired changes to the HUD-1 were to merely add a place for the name and phone number of the association and management if in place so that communities were at least made part of the process not some after thought as they are still today.
If anyone thinks that by making the mortgage companies responsible for assessment payments this problem will go away has not considered that it is their lack of diligence and correct information on the CondoHoa Certs, i.e. the correct community name, including master or sub associations, the correct number of delinquent accounts, and existence of other financial responsibility this is causing many of the problems that we are experiencing today. I urge those reading this to demand that our national leaders come up with a set of laws that would cover these disclosure.
We must also start to educate ourselves as to what Common Interest Communities are to began with and what is the impact on individuals and society.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

What you are not being told about the housing problems

Pending Home Sales Sink in July -
Lawrence Yun, the Realtors trade group's senior economist, called the problems "temporary," and related to jumbo home loans above $417,000 that can't be packaged into securities sold to investors by government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

ONCE AGAIN, if the community you live in has more than 10 percent of the unit owners behind in their assessments then all federal underwriting options are off the table. You cannot refinance the loan because of deliquencies in Associations fees and having too many owner investors will disqualify you as well.

It's all there in the 921 Form and every HUD1 requires one when a Common Interest Community is part of the land convenants.

As a general priciple communities cannot run a deficit budget because bills for services have to be paid and the repair and mantainance of the falicities are impacted. This more ofen than not results in a special assessments to be paid by members of the community.

Once you have increasing debit and declining assets or this case clubhouses, sidewalks lights and other amenities that are not repaired and maintained and the dues keep going up and the special assessments pile on who is going to be left holding the bag.

Having talked to every major figure on the Hill about the impact of non payement of assessments and then have done nothing about this and in some case have proposed laws that make the matters worse I can tell you they all get a failing grade on support for those Tens of Millions of owners in a Community Associations.

We well be naming names as the election year approaches becuase they too need to be held accountable might have to do a voting index on this subject. HUMMMMMMMMMM.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Bail-Out Deadlines and what they forgot to print in the Post.

Bail-Out Deadlines by E-Mail -
Bail-Out Deadlines by E-Mail

By Elizabeth Razzi
Sunday, July 15, 2007; Page F05

Buying a condominium? A house in a neighborhood run by a homeowners association? You had better stay on top of your e-mail.

A very large and extremely important document could be coming your way. Its arrival starts the clock ticking on a short period during which you can cancel the deal, should you desire to back out of your purchase contract.
New laws that took effect in Virginia on July 1 change the process for distributing the extensive disclosure packages that must be given to anyone buying a home that is part of a condo or homeowners association. While the law directly affects Virginians, buyers in the District and Maryland, where the disclosure requirements are not as detailed as they are in the Old Dominion, may find the effects spilling over as management companies that do business in all three jurisdictions adopt new practices.

If your in the District of Columbia and you happen to live in a Townhouse or Singe Family Homeowner Association you can stop reading this article here.


Because the leaders of the District have failed for years now at mine and others prodding to establish an HOA Act which is what is the triggering mechanism in this need to disclose. As the District does not have such an Act there is no specific law as is the case in MD or VA to disclose anything about rules and regulations.

Whats more in Maryland the HOA Act does not require that financial information about the community be provided to the buyer. So the budget, pending litigations or special assessments are made available to the new homeowners after they move in. Seem pretty fair to me and you too I bet. Having heard one of the principle in this ruse brag about how they fought to keep this from becoming part of the law. I have to wonder of the community and homeowners share this excitement with them. What I was told is that it would be too hard to provide this information at closing time.

So is there any wonder in what area of the housing market the last foot will fall. If you have been reading this blog you know that I know that HOA and Condo fees are not being paid and thus these communities are running negative budgets. But since the District and Maryland don't disclose this information before settlement those perspective homeowners that are buying may not and have no idea what the status of the communities financial health is or will be in the future until rules, regulations and financial information are fully disclosed.

So I have an idea for Elizabeth why not do a story on why the District has failed to enact such a law or why Maryland does not require the Financial s to be included.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Once again Not paying mortgage not paying association assessments.

Home sales, prices below last year’s rate - Real Estate -
Home sales, prices below last year’s rate
Foreclosures in April surged, according to National Association of Realtors
Related Stories

Updated: 3:21 p.m. ET May 15, 2007

WASHINGTON - The pace of existing home sales slowed in the first quarter by almost 7 percent compared to a year ago, the National Association of Realtors said Tuesday.

In the latest indication of the housing market’s slowdown, the NAR said home sales reached a 6.4 million annual rate compared to 6.9 million in the same quarter of 2006.

The report came on the same day that RealtyTrac Inc., an industry research firm, said mortgage lenders foreclosed on 62 percent more U.S. homes in April than a year ago.

I am not sure how many ways to post this but if someone is not paying their mortgage does anyone reading this actually think if they live in a Condo, Townhouse or Single Family Homeowner Association that the dues for the community are being paid.

So what happens when the dues or assessments are not paid? The community is now running a deficit budget and they means that the overall community is now not in compliance with Federal underwriting guidelines...........So let think Fannie, Freddy and any other backer of mortgages.....

Since wall street has been buying these for sometime as well do you think they are telling the investors in these companies that a potential problem exist. When I called the Wall Street Journal and talked to one of the reporters about this he pretty much blew me off.

So I wonder how long this house of cards is going to stand.....

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Town allows Gore to install solar panels - Yahoo! News
Tue Apr 17, 11:14 PM ET

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Former Vice President
Al Gore's upscale neighborhood granted the environmental activist approval Tuesday to install 33 solar panels on the roof of his mansion.

Belle Meade had blocked his application until new rules were approved unanimously late Tuesday, said Gore spokesman Chris Song. The city located within metropolitan Nashville said the panels must be placed in areas where they can't be seen by neighbors.

Gore, who starred in the documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth" about global warming, already buys enough energy from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and methane gas to balance 100 percent of his electricity costs.

He is also upgrading the furnace,

Hello this is not a City it is a Homeowner Association..................Please do not confuses the two.......

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Gee someone knew about the ARMS in 2005.
June 10
Talking about Is Greenspan trying to cool housing market? - Martin Wolk: Eye on the Economy -

AG is right to be worried about the housing market. Taking an interest loan or one with an ARM depending upon the trend may expose the mortgage holder to a situation in which they now owe more money then the house is worth.

The next hit comes from these homes reside in Common Interest Communities, CIC, and other owners experience the same thing and no one is paying their association dues. Kindof what I pointed out in my first post..


Is Greenspan trying to cool housing market? - Martin Wolk: Eye on the Economy -

Look what I found a blog from me on June 10th 2005 about these ARMS......This was know because I wrote letter and faxed them to the head of the Fed. Greenspan and he never replied.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mortgage giants may help borrowers, how about the CIC.

Mortgage giants may help borrowers - Yahoo! News
By MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer 12 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The heads of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac said Tuesday the mortgage finance giants are developing new types of loans to help distressed borrowers with high-risk mortgages keep their homes at a time of rising foreclosures.

A key federal regulator also urged lenders to step in now and extend flexible terms to struggling homeowners.

Are these lenders going to make the community coffer hole on all the delinquent assessments. Because if they are not paying their mortgage do you think they are paying their Condo or HOA assessments.

And correct me if I am wrong but does not both Fannie and Freddie have underwriting requirements that require loans in a CIC's to have no more than 10 percent of homeowners outstanding in assessments. Even if this gets Fannie and Freddy off the hook on the loan; They are not on the underwriting....It's called a Condo, Coop or HOA certificate and it needs to say 90 percent money in the door.

Gee I have not been writing, calling, speaking with most of the major elected officials on the hill and today not one of them as done a dam thing.......I can't wait to see them showing up in their home states explaining how they missed this bit of oversight.

Please go visit the score card of the mass medias coverage on this growing scandel.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

What you can do.

Well what are we going to do with the ecological and monetary disasters that we are allowing, creating, ignoring and taxing?

What is your Federal Government doing about this problem?
How about your local Government what are they doing?
The CIC Industry and social leaders, are they doing anything?

Answers to 1-3 =Nothing

What can you do.

Write your Elected Representatives or click here to see list of all members of the US House or Representatives.
Rate your management company. - coming soon
Download a sample letter to write to your elected representatives.
Fax number for you US Senator's DC office.

Senior CIC Issues

Senior CIC Issues

While these issues face all residents of CIC there are specially hard on seniors because many seniors are on fixed incomes. Moreover the growing expenses in running a CIC and the typical burden of having to pay increased mediacal bills Senior CIC are not making the repairs or replacing worn out infrastructure –which can lead to the community losing value and in some cases the resident are forced out because of housing code violations.

Many CIC were never established with an adequate reserve budget to begin with so couple with the fixed income issue of many elder residents this problem is compounded. Responsibility to repair of common property falls on the residents not the county or city government. A special assessments to bring Reserve funds up to adequate levels would be the pratice but the senior do not have the funds to handle this cost.

We are going to have to come up with low interest loans and access to reverse mortages to help fix these outstand issues.

There is no checklist or schedule on when and why CIC need to make repair on his or her property so senior with limited resources are forced to make decisions without having the facts.

In general there is limited board training and even access to board training; so with the growing complexity of running a CIC seniors face these challenges alone. We do not have one university that offers courses on how to run a CIC.

Many seniors are refusing to serve on their boards, which currently must be an owner or relative of the community. We are going to have to come to some kind of compromise on how these boards are going to be run because all CIC face this issues .

CIC are often run by a “professional property managers” while it is not the overall state of mangers –seniors are most vulnerable to less than professional managers. And managers are not responsible to run the board. Once again there is no oversight of how these managers manage a community.

In the case of Investor owners in CIC they are less likely to approve higher assessments, which may be needed to take care of repairs. Because of their need to maximize profits so we go back to problem 1.

We have both reform and educational issues that all residents in CIC face and these concerns need to be addressed and it appears that we as a society are hoping they will go away because there is not many individuals or groups raising alarms or voicing concern about these issues.


The Professionals:

The Professionals:

The one item that ties all of these CIC together call them governing, disclosure, covenants, bylaws, resale condo, or hoa documents, which are to be given to new home buyers and in some states the renters, are not reviewed for compliance with existing laws. Often times the changes that are made to the originals, and sometime the originals themselves, are not filed correctly and thus not viable.

If a new owner does not get the correct documents the rules that the community has established can not be enforced In the case of a self run association with limited skills and resources just do not have the ability to review these documents.

Starting with the developers, by getting them to understand that having an attorney supply them with a canned set of documents, sometimes even another associations documents with a name change, can have unforeseen impact. Each community needs to have the correct documents to support the charter and type of development. Today within the legal and educational systems communities are an afterthought.

Each CIC that is being developed needs to have a transition plan from the developer to the residents. This transition will allow the two parties to come together from to move from a building and marketing reality to one of a community that is a business, run by volunteers. During this time the financial obligations that the community is bound to needs to be disclosed and the residents may have to be educated as to what are the specific of running a non stock corporation.

This is no requirement to provide residents of homeowner associations with information about HOA finical or legal obligations. Moreover the translations practice today is to sent a letter announcing to the residents that the development is now in their control and they now need to hold an election to elect a board of directors to run the community.

Once the community is turned over to the residents, the front line of day-to-day management, for most CIC's, is handled by a Residential Property Management Company, whom have traditionally come from apartment management background. Some seem to lord over their communities instead of acting as an Executive Directors for the Association's board as well

Property Managers, not Community Mangers, with regards to community documents here they are seen as an unreported source of income. That is they charge new residents for each set of documents that are required to be provided before closing and pocket the money, as do other services for hire. The biggest problems with this practice is that these document providers do not review the documents they are providing, in fact many state in their contracts that they will provide only what the community or previous management company was using.

Within one of the largest trade groups the endorsed of a document management company that only provides what they were given, even if it means excluding master and amended documents is not unheard of and brings to question what is the unsuspecting home buyers to do. While third party document management companies are needed anyone that supplies the documents should be held accountable for not providing the correct condo or hoa documents.

Within the Management field we are facing a crisis in that more communities are being created then there are Community Managers to manage them. We do not have one university or community college that trains individuals in this type of Management So we do not have a pool or a training program from which to get get new managers.

Today this problem is compounded by the retirement of the owners of the original management companies and with the problem above as it is they do not have the internal employees to take them over. so they are selling their companies to Super Management companies that handle hundreds of communities with tens of thousand residents over multi-state lines which view each community as a number in their book, not highly complex organization with differing needs at each community and different state laws governing them.

The relationship is further complicated by the fact that contracts that communities are responsible for were negotiated and signed by these managers, It is no surprise that many of them favor the management company not the properties. here is no over-sight of these managers they pretty much do what ever they want to do including the moving of monies across state lines and the failure to keep employees for mishandling monies.

A typical association insurance provides that the association must defend their property management company in the face of a legal actions even if the community is suing the management company.

Ironically, the need for managers with foreign language skills would help some of the traditionally under-employed ethnic groups in America find many jobs in these communities as professional community managers. As well, a new bread of management trend is emerging -- one where they are community managers and partners with these communities to ensure the best quality of life for the members. These managers should be studied and used as a model for new and existing communities.
The CICs:

CIC's are Non-Stock Public Corporations in most states. These entities are worth millions of dollars and if they are not run correctly ability of the residents to refinance, sell or even keep their home become an issue. The sheer number of state and local laws, rules, regulations and general business practices that all corporations must adhered too applies to CICs. Since these communities often have government backed loans the potential for the Sarbaines Oxley Act to spill over into CIC's is a real possibility.

The Association of Professional Reserve Annalists has stated that the majority of CIC they review do not have adequate reserve funds. Failing to maintain these reserves means that a community will not have the funds to keep the roads, lights, elevators, common areas, and other amenities in working order. If these do not do not work, the community does not work.

In states with a yearly corporate charter fee and property tax many CICs, or their agents, fail to file or pay the required fee lose standing. So, not only does the community not exist legally, but the officers, very time, they sign a contract as "Association Inc." they are committing fraud and they are being held accountable for doing so.

There has been an alarming trend for community members to gain a seat on their board to reduce fees and services within their community because they simple do not have the background, resources or training to make such decisions. We are also seeing communities trying to go from a property manager to being self-managed, even if their documents require them to have a management company. Or a member sets up a management company to take on duty with no training.

There is an increasing problem of getting residnets to serve on the board of directors which runs the community, senior homes especially, how is it to function with?

State of Communities

Elected officials on every level have not began to deal with this impact this type of development bring on to the residents. As well existing federal laws are putting CIC into potential insolvency; Let alone, the double taxation that residents of CIC face today.

Many of the issues that CIC encounter are covered here, but until our elected officials understand and take CIC's in to account when they make policy decisions these problems will only grow.

If the economy of the US is largely based on home ownership, we have the potential for some huge problems in our homes and financial markets because there is a clear lack of planning and educational opportunities for the owners of homes in CICs.

This blog is going to blog the CIC wide open and force everyone to deal with this issue which are many and effect so many people already and just about ever new home buyer.

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The Big Picture in CIC land.

The Big Picture in CIC land.

Community Associations (CA), Common Interest Communities (CIC) or Planned Unit Development (PUD) over the last thirty years has become a staple of new home development for many reasons. CIC may be in the form of a Condominium, Cooperative or Homeowner Associations but they all share in number of characteristic.

Insurance Underwriters are dropping policy holders and coverage in entire states for economic reason, and to the policy holder the GLUE reports help to track claims and facilitate eliminating long term liabilities. In the CIC arena this could be multiplied when Insurance companies drop unit owners policy's because of their CIC's issues. Where's a condo going to get insurance when no underwriting will back a policy?

How are owners going to sell if their association is not compliant with underwriting guidelines? New Insurance Issues

Fannie Mae is now longer underwriting loans on properties in CIC's that have more that 10 percent of assessments outstanding. In reality it is the opposite about only 20 percent have that scenario. If a property loan cannot go Fannie it goes HUD.

States and Courts are limiting the ability of CIC to collect these assessments dooming the whole community without help in collecting these monies.

The reserve funds of these associations are very under funded and will result in the government having to back a community with a loans or grants to cover legislation that communities must comply with by law. The Association of Professional Reserve Analysts is telling us that about 80 percent or more are under funded.

What will underwriter or insurance companies do when they look at these numbers?

The Government:

On the local level these private communities are viewed as a way to have new homes with out the local jurisdiction having to manage roads,street lights recycling and trash services. In fact residents of these communities all pay local taxes to have many for these service that are provided to the non association housing.

This is an effect a double tax! Why should residents of these communities pay the tax and have to pay for private trash collection.

On the State level there exist the greatest impact on CICs. State require CIC to be incorporated in the state they reside and enjoy the state taxes that these residents pay, yet the state seem to be working against CIC by not providing them remedies to compel unit owners that are delinquent in assessments to pay up.

A community goes over 10 percent in pass due assessments Fannie Mae, Freddy Mac, and HUD will not underwrite a loan in that community.

On the federal Agency level, the lack of understanding of these communities particularly the lack of oversight by HUD of their subcontractors to their responsibilities to pay assessments of HUD owned properties and failing to provide community documents does more to undermine these communities then nearly all the other problems that are coved on this site.

There is a requirement by HUD for communities to maintain assessment collection and reserve accounts that their closing agents refuse to pay.

Congress, both parties and sides, have exhibited no real understanding of how communities are formed and that so many, 50 Million, american are in one of these developments. Here are a couple of example of how they are actually hurting or denying communities needed help.

1. The Clean Water Act requires communities at their expense to test and clean storm water ponds --99 percent are in a CIC. A new community of first time home buyers could be saddle with 10-100's of thousand of dollars in cost for a pond that they just took over and did not build. Large established CIC could face bankruptcy trying to clean up their ponds.

2. FEMA will not reimburse a CIC for roads and common elements repair and replacement caused by natural and other disaster. The reasoning is that they are private, The 3 out 4 new homeowners and federal tax payers should be interest to lean of this imbalance.

The former chairman of Fannie Mae when told about many of these issues, declared that Fannie Mae had no interest in how these communities are run. With 3 out 4 new homes in one, how can they not have a concern*?