Saturday, April 19, 2008

CC&R's, Control, & Property Values

Sun City is a designated blighted area!

Cities of the Living Dead or

10 Strikes why senior only communities are a very bad idea

Yes, idea of 55+ communities has become very popular in the last twenty five or so years. The senior only community brochures are gorgeous. The life style the brochures present is retirement paradise. They should be. The developers paid $100,000 plus to sell a dream. The brochures have been psychologically designed to convince young seniors their community offers a way of life people always wanted but couldn’t afford or had to wait until the last child graduated college or got married. The developers, at long last, created a life style that offers everything from security gates, swimming, golf, club houses for avid bridge and other board game players, arts & crafts, boating, horse back riding, minimum property up keep because the association does it all for an affordable price. They promise a home owners association (HOA) run by the titleholders. Best of all is no little noisy skate boarding brats will be seen or heard in this utopia! Free at last! Free at last. Peace and quiet from the obnoxious noise of children! Who wouldn’t want to live in paradise?

The brand new developments are seductively gorgeous from the outside. While they haven’t all been sold out, seniors are anxious to buy believing they will get all that paradise offers and a big appreciation on their investment, too. The seniors are young and still full of vitality at the time they choose to buy into the community. They whole heartedly believe living in a deed restricted community will keep their property values up because the restrictions will keep their neighbors under control. About 10% of titleholders living in any senior community think they are great. The first thing they will say is how much they enjoy the peace and quiet of no children. They don’t seem to notice the price titleholders pay for no children around the community isn’t worth the price of the liabilities they face? Most of seniors are so hard of hearing they wouldn’t hear children any way!

Deed restricted senior communities are a net made of thousands of laws that diminish property owner’s Constitutional and legal rights. The thousands of laws are interpreted in an arbitrary manner by the HOA Boards, management companies, their attorneys, arbitrators and judges. Hopeful people blinded by the hype and failing to see through the veils of illusion have been standing in line to buy into a nightmare. HOA’s, legally have their hands on titleholders’ pocket books and property. The way it exists today, titleholders have very little to almost no judicial recourse in the event of a dispute between members and the association. In the event of a conflict between a resident and the association, the dream turns into a nightmare. Take a look at the hard reality.

Strike One

Most people retire on a fixed income that fails to increase as rapidly as the cost of living. No matter how reasonable the monthly HOA dues are in the beginning, eventually it comes to a time they have to be raised. They can be raised as much as 20% per year every year. It doesn’t take too many years before the dues become exorbitant. Refusal or failure to pay these dues (no matter what the reason) will result in fines. The fine will be converted into liens which will lead to non judicial foreclosure upon a resident’s property. Even if the property is owned free and clear by the titleholder, if the dues remain unpaid, titleholders can be foreclosed upon. Fines for failure to pay dues are not the only fines that can be imposed. If the Board accuses a titleholder of failure to comply with one of the endless petty rules, whether or not it is so, the titleholder can be fined! Illness or financial hardship is no excuse. Failure to pay monthly dues or fines will ultimately lead to foreclosure. By excessive fining of seniors temporarily living in assisted living facilities, they have legal cause for non judicial foreclosure upon the luckless senior. How safe is senior’s investment?

The power of non judicial foreclosure also exists in non senior deed restricted communities. The difference is the titleholder’s is much younger, income is usually not fixed and the property isn’t going to be their last.

Strike Two

Deed restricted titles are inferior to all other titles.

“. . .it is not an “investment” in the financial sense, because it is not under the homeowner’s full control. . .

When you purchase in a common interest development you are banking on only one thing: marketability. . .” Villa Appalling,by Donie Vanitzian

When real estate markets go side ways, the first communities to suffer major depreciation are deed restricted senior communities. The last places for them to appreciate when the market returns in favor of sellers are deed restricted communities. They are a double whammy.

a. Deed restricted communities are less desirable and harder to market because of the excessive rules and the monthly HOA dues.

b. It is more difficult to obtain loans because lenders want to access HOA Board minutes to assess the competency of the Board

c. The buyers’ market for senior housing is reduced by 60% or more

This means if a senior has to sell his home because he needs to go to an assisted living home, chances are it will sit vacant for a very long time. If there is a mortgage on it, he may have trouble paying it, the HOA dues and the assisted living costs. Renting the unit would be the next best solution. However, many of the communities have rental restrictions. That could make it impossible to rent the unit in hard times. That will definitely lead to non judicial foreclosure.

Strike Three

Senior communities have become the dumping ground of convicted pedophiles. This is an automatic creation of a criminal society.

Senior communities are visible crime targets and are among the most vulnerable in our population are the elderly. 55+ only communities concentrate a large population of elderly in one location. The crudest thief knows how easy it is to break and enter a senior’s home. Some of them do it in broad day light with the senior home. One thief detains the elder at the front door while the other breaks in the back! Senior only communities have become a Mecca to the barracudas and sharks who know precisely how to survive and profit off helpless, needy seniors. Where there is a senior only community, there is a swarm of flim/flam people, con artists, back stabbers, and cork twisters who can fleece a senior so smoothly, the person doesn’t even recognize he/she has been robbed.

These vultures become self appointed care givers, pretend to be relatives, marry the seniors, or simply pose as well intentioned do-gooders who ultimately get their hands on senior’s money and property. They use many tricks. They find seniors who have no known relatives or near by friends. Senior communities are plagued with these bottom feeders lurking in the shadows. Gates don’t stop thieves or scoundrels who prey upon the elderly. Thieves have no problem getting past gates. Often, it is the elderly who unwittingly invite them in. Among this collection of ill intentioned smiling faces are HOA members and even some board members.

Strike Four

Seniors suffer the loss of privacy rights. All privacy is gone once a buyer has taken possession of property in a senior community. The HOA has the legal right under the Unruh Act to demand private information. The titleholder must agree to show proof of age to the HOA Association prior to occupancy and every two years there after. The right to live and grow old was once sacred and private. Visitors and guests were once no one’s business but the titleholder. Titleholders are required to give to the association the name and proof of age of a visitor who stays longer than a month. Titleholder’s children or grandchildren are only allowed to stay one month if they are younger than 55. A doctor’s note must be obtained and presented to the association if a care giver younger than 55 is going to live in the residence. Failure to comply will result in fines which will turn into liens which can lead to non judicial foreclosure upon the senior’s property.

Strike Five

Retirement communities interfere with the rights of families of helping their children in times of emergency or crisis. Living in a 55+ only community restricts titleholders from allowing their children or grandchildren to live with them for longer than periods of one month should an emergency or crisis arise in the lives of their children. In a case in one community, the grandchildren’s parents were killed in a car crash, the grandparents were not be permitted to let the grandchildren live with them. The HOA forced them to sell.

d. In today’s tough economic times seniors’ children may suffer serious economic set backs, and may need to move in with their families for awhile. If their children are under age 55, the HOA will forbid it claiming it is a violation on the Unruh Act

e. The family will be forced to sell or move out if it wants to raise its own grandchildren due to unexpected tragedy

Strike Six

As people in retirement communities age their interest in voting wanes.

The majority of first buyers in newly built senior communities are in their mid fifties to early sixties. They still feel as if they can conquer the world and have time for a swim or game of golf. They are planning this purchase to be until death do them part. This means in twenty five years from the time the community is totally sold, the majority of the community population will be seventy five to eighty years old. Aging doesn’t come alone.

“Health problems in older adults cause slower reaction time, reduced vision and hearing, impaired body movement, and slower decision making. Health condition such as glaucoma, arthritis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.. . .” California DMV Driver’s Hand Bookl

Because of this natural aging process, seniors’ focus change from objective to subjective. At age 85 going on 90, they are now more concerned with living through another day with out pain, or crisis. Will they get their meds in time or have enough money to pay for them. Seniors become apathetic, lose interest in community activities. All the senior clubs and activities have dwindled down. Most of the clubs are lucky if 10% of the members participate. Consequently the introduction of new ideas, understanding of current events, changing systems, computers and new technology, staying informed and up to date is often lost upon the majority senior population of the now very old community. Ultimately it is very difficult for senior associations to even get a quorum for required voting. The voters often don’t realize the issues for which they are voting in favor are not in their best interest, against their own rights, and often illegal.

When the majority of the community’s population has become too old to understand, it is not very difficult for a handful of younger and more alert senior members with hidden agendas to grab power and control the rest of community. This is the perfect blue print for power hungry, unethical people to create malevolent HOA Boards. Often Boards and their property management companies are acting illegally and the titleholders don’t even know it. Because of the lack of any specified requirements to serve on the board, quite often the board doesn’t even know when it is acting illegally.

Strike Seven

Quite often, the people who serve on the boards are unqualified and unscrupulous.

“When criminal liability is not charged against the “criminals” in an association, then the titleholders become the Human Capital used to fund the criminal activities and wrong doing.” D. Vanitzian author of Villa Appalling, Destroying the Myth of Affordable Living

Under current legal system there are absolutely no criteria or qualifications for people to serve on HOA Boards. This means any one who is popular enough with the association members can be and usually is elected to the Board. Many of those who serve on these boards never even graduated high school. Since the average titleholder has no past experience in serving on the Board, this means the average HOA Board has no experience. This is where it gets frightening. The inexperienced board has its iron clad grip on the titleholders’ money!

“Titleholders fund the excesses of errant boards and their errant third party vendors and agents because the California laws have no meaningful incentive for deference of such crimes when they occur in residential common interest development.” D. Vanitzian (author of Villa Appalling, Destroying the Myth of Affordable Living )

Strike Eight

Board members receive benefits at the price of the titleholders. Many buyers of deed restricted properties don’t understand the negative affects of HOA boards. They like the idea of an association governing the community in which they plan to live. They mistakenly believe it controls their neighbors and thus keeps up property values.

Another myth some titleholders believe is because the Board members are all volunteers they receive no remuneration or reward, they are above reproach. Any titleholder who believes that needs to take a second look to understand why people so selflessly volunteer.

“What of the board director who does not receive a "financial benefit" for his services on the board? There are also non-economic benefits for being a director. In one such situation a board director was known to "get off" by signing his name as the association's C.E.O. This allowed him to represent himself to the outside world as a "somebody" where he would have otherwise been a "nobody." Playing C.E.O. and receiving the non-economic benefits of "recognition" accolades, plaques, applause, and the like, are no different than the $15.00 haircut. Why? Because they deprive the titleholders of full advantage of the corporate protocol at the expense of an inept board director who has nothing better to do than waste his position on the board and misuse authority => for no other reason than "he can." [FN1] The same can be said for the board director who is a "yes man" to a management company or association advisors. Actions like these should be considered a WASTE of corporate assets--the assets being valuable time lost that cannot be regained at any cost due to the connivance individuals merely sitting on the board of directors because it makes him/them feel important or boosts their collective egos. Doing "nothing" but sucking up to vendors is also costly and it is a breach of the board's fiduciary duty to every owner who has an interest in property and whose assets are at risk in that development. [FN1]

Board directors are supposed to be independent thinking decision makers. Playing "follow the leader" is a breach of duty, especially when the "leader" is a board director beholden to a vendor with a contract at that association. It is also a breach of duty to "follow" third party vendors AS IF they are leaders, and to do the same with management companies, their personnel, association advisors, or managers in general places the association and all its titleholders at risk. The board's duty is to supervise and oversee every such entity without fail and to NOT follow them to the grave or jail, whichever the case may be. Yet at the same time, every board of directors are vested with the authority to, in a sense, criminalize and punish the behavior and actions of their neighbors who own property and reside under the same corporate umbrella that the board director controls.” [FN1] Donie Vanitzian, author of Villa Appalling, Destroying the Myth of Affordable Living

Strike Nine

Opposing information about vital HOA issues is never available. Titleholders need as much information as possible to remain informed and make objective choices and decisions. Pro and con facts are vital in decision making. The unwritten HOA rule is the only information titleholders receive about their HOA is from the Board or its property management company. Such information is biased and incomplete. There is no opposing information to show consequences, possible liabilities, negative affects upon the titleholder, or any other price it may cost the titleholder. This limits the members’ ability to vote objectively.

In spite of flagrant wrong doings by association boards, the local news papers have an indifferent attitude towards titleholders’ problems and either refuse to do stories about them or write stories in favor of the boards. They never take on the belly of the issues straight forward.

Strike Ten

It is psychologically unhealthy for elderly people to see only elderly people. Senior only communities segregate elders from the main stream of life. They isolate them and minimize their sense of value to their community. There is little for them to do in the running of their communities. The property management company and the board retain all the control. It’s indirectly telling senior titleholders they are no longer needed. So they can be put to pasture. It is well known that the majority of people die within six months to a year of retirement because their sense of value in life been lost.

Any health care person trained to work with the elderly will admit the worst experience for a healthy senior is to remain in the constant company of other seniors. The continued sight of only other elderly people is a mirror of their own aging and an unconscious reminder death is near. The unconscious thought of near future death reduces the enthusiasm for the quality of life. Often elderly people have difficulty getting along with one another. They can’t stand the site of other aging people.

It is unsafe to only have elderly neighbors. Senior only communities are unhealthy communities. Neighbors need to look out for one another. Often seniors become isolated. If a senior has a fall or is in need of assistance, chances are neither neighbor will hear nor be aware of the problem. If they are, they might be unable to help. Either neighbor is approximately the same age and is also suffering with his/her own health problems. If an occasional favor or errand is needed like picking something up at the store, bringing in the newspaper, or taking out the trash there is no neighbor capable of doing so. They either never talk to their neighbors or continuously fight with them. Often mean spirited titleholders use the board as a whip against their neighbors continually reporting them for any and every infraction of rules they can. Having to constantly deal with so called codes compliance people destroys a seniors’ quiet enjoyment of his own home and punishes the titleholder with excessive stress. This misery between neighbors is miserable enough for non seniors. It is pure hell for the elderly. They need to enjoy their spoonful of years.

These communities are the bane of America today! They have undermined the very foundation of American’s private property rights and Constitutional rights. They have demeaned the elderly. Personally, I think every developer who builds a senior community or any kind of deed restricted community should be tried for treason. The Department of Real Estate has failed big time to properly protect the consumer. The lawyers who have turned representing HOA’s and property management companies into a major industry should be disbarred. The Judges who rule in favor of the HOA Boards against the home owner, need to go back to school and studies the Constitution and Ethics then tried for treason.

This article is based upon ten years of experience and research the governing laws of deed restricted communities, the problems, issues of other deed restricted communities, living, and being a titleholder for over ten years in two 55+ HOA communities. If you want more information and are connected to the inter net the following web sites have abundant information about horrors of deed restricted communities;,, and Two of the best written books on this subject are Villa Appalling, Destroying the Myth of Affordable Living and California Common Interest Development—Home Owner’s Guide by Donie Vanitzian

By Therese Daniels © April 19, 2008

Does Sun City really need CC&R's and an HOA?

It's been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt the CC&R's and the capricious enforcement of them fails to protect the value of our properties. All it does is harass residents. Isn't it just a bit embarrasssing to be designated a blighted area after being constantly told we are paying dues to have our property values protected? Isn't that why SCCA board keeps Donald Miller on the pay roll? The residents of Sun City are senior adults, not children and not criminals and not charity cases. Do we really need to be spied upon as if we were? Other than take our money and harass us, just what does the board do for us? As far as the swimming pool and work shops go, we don't need an entire HOA to run them. Any single manager could do that for far less the cost. This HOA is like a black box with a button. Push the button and a little hand comes out and turns itself off. Sun City residents don't need an HOA whose only purpose is self perpetuation.

For some perverse reason the SCCA Board seems to think being an age 55 senior community is a major benefit. If so, just what are the benefits? Don Weddle was recently quoted in the Press Enterprise justifying the codes enforcement officers because some homes might have people under 55 living in the Core. (Isn't that a real threat to society?) Would someone please tell me what is so important about keeping the age limit to 55? People are senior adults at 45. Another proof that CC&R's do not protect property values is the age limit of 55. What do you think would happen to the property values in the core if the age were dropped to 45?

CC&R's were written by lawyers over 45 years ago based upon condominium standards.The core of Sun City is made up of single family homes. Most of the issues in the CC&R'S are stupid, ridicules, invasive, too restrictrive, and violate human rights.They are also poorly written as they are contradictory, vague, and left to arbitrary interpretation. However, SCCA'S enforcement of them is capricious, reclacitrant and cruel. The CC&R'S used by the SCCA are neither divine, Gospel nor the Bible. They were created by man with out foresight for the life styles in at the turn of the century. What is created or written by man can be changed by man. The CC&R's have been the source of conflicts between neighbors and the SCCA for years. They have been used as a sword and a whip against residents and made their lives a living hell. This has robbed members of the quiet enjoyment of their home. The SCCA claimed they do so to protect property values. This is a lie. Sun City is declared a blighted area. Under SCCA leadership, Sun City has gone down in value in relationship to the new communities that are built to our borders. It is time to put a moratorium on these stupid CC&R's and start planning to bring Sun City into the Twenty First Century and eventually the City of Menifee Valley. Edit Text

letter to Don Weddle continue. . .

I take #9 to clearly mean that neither fence nor landscaping should be planned that blocks the view of any adjacent lot. What seems to take precedence in the language of #9 is the importance of maintaining the view. Obviously, the first concern is protecting resident’s golf course views. That is the primary purpose of the CC&R’s. Views are the reason people choose to live on the golf course. Good view lots bring premiums. One item that is perfectly clear in CC&R#9 is “. . . no solid wall. . .” any where between the lots. The plastic wall erected by Carl Fuess is solid. How is it SCCA can bend or ignore the rules for him and do nothing to protect me? ? ? Am I not also a paid member in good standing? There is everything in the Del Web design of Sun City, tradition, intent, and CC&R#9 that suggests it is not O.K. to build a fence where it will block the neighbor’s golf course view. As a realtor of thirty years having worked on many new home communities, I can assure you protecting a golf course lot view is the highest and best interpretation of that CC&R#9.

Many things people have done prior to 1993 have been grandfathered. The two foot block wall along the adjacent property line to my neighbor was built when this home was built. Why then, is it not considered “grandfathered in” and accepted the only fence necessary between the properties? How could SCCA so flagrantly violate 40 years of tradition between these properties by permitting a six foot solid plastic wall. Plastic wasn’t a material that was used for fencing way back in the “60’s. How could the writer of CC&R #9 have known to exclude plastic as an undesirable material? How, then is the code enforcer permitted to condone the use of that horrible material? To date, the only plastic fence in Sun City Core is the one built next door to me. Originally, Del Web had an architectural review board that would have denied the use of such a horrible material. Today materials are supposed to be approved by at least two board member. Did any two board members make such an approval? If so, is heavy solid plastic fencing meant for ranches going to be the trend in Sun City?

In the eyes of the law it might appear both neighbors are guilty of something. However every case has elements that make it unique. Every situation must be judged on the pertinent facts. From the surface, it appears as if two cranky, stubborn people are having a battle of wills. Taking a closer look will show it is quite a different picture. It doesn’t take a mental giant to recognize the circumstances of each neighbor is entirely different. One neighbor is a living resident who plans to stay there until death do her part. The other is an absentee investor whose only purpose is to sell for profit and move on. One lot is on the corner of a busy street. The other is an inside lot. There is a clear right and wrong situation here. There is an innocent victim. There is a bad guy. Consequently the same arguments are not going to apply equally to both. For example, when I first realized a six foot solid plastic wall was going to be erected and Fuess was too belligerent to be reasonable, I went to SCCA and filed a complaint against Carl Fuess. I also went to the building department to check on the concrete damn he built next to our property line. When he threw one of my potted plants at me and seriously injured my right arm, I filed a police report against him. When I sent a letter to the broker who is marketing his house, I was merely alerting him of a DRE disclosure law. Carl Fuess took it as if I were trying to prevent him from selling his place. (He evidently wants some unsuspecting family to buy his over priced by $60,000 property and let them deal with a controversial fence he built.) All my actions were hopeless attempts to protect myself, my property, and my peaceful life style I had enjoyed from 1998 to July 2004.

Carl Fuess damaged my concrete patio by cutting a wedge eight inches deep and cracking a large corner from the slab. He refuses to compensate me for the damage.(not the SCCA problem) He arbitrarily cut two inches of the patio slab claiming it was encroaching on his property. He did so without the benefit of a licensed surveyor. He talked to as many neighbors as he could trying to get them to say something negative about me. He perjured himself in a sworn statement in a petition for a TRO. Carl Fuess also filed complaints to SCCA that I was operating a business from my home. (If I were, how did that hurt him?) When that failed, he complained to the County building department I added a room without a permit. (If it were so, how did that space interfere with the quality of his life?) When that failed, he complained to SCCA about weeds in front of my house. (This was the first letter I ever got from the SCCA about weeds since I moved here in 1998). As late as April 29, 2005, I received a letter from SCCA claiming a six foot block wall that was built by Del Web when this house was built was in violation of CC&R#9. That wall, built for security reasons was grandfathered in. Yet, I was told by SCCA it was a violation and I had to take it down to three feet 25 feet the rear property line. In each and every one of these issues Carl Fuess used SCCA in an effort to hurt me. Not one of the issues Carl Fuess has attempted to use against me impinges upon his personal life style, value of his property next door or in Wildomar. The removal of a wall that enlarged an existing interior space, my little quiet home office, nor six foot block security wall between my property and Murrieta RD. in no way shape or form caused him harm, inconvenience, or economic loss. All those complaints, plus his conspiracy with a certain Sun City Broker to slander me and do me harm in the civil courts were done with pure malice. He clearly demonstrates by his actions an active desire to do me harm. I constantly feel I am being stalked by him. So if any one wants to minimize the nature of this conflict between property owners by claiming that what Carl Fuess did to me was no different than what I did to Carl Fuess, please note the difference. I am a resident whose life style and property have been severely damaged directly by Carl Fuess with the blessing of SCCA.. I have been fighting to defend the value of my property and life style without malice within the parameters of the system. He is an absentee speculator, who has suffered no harm from the items he complained about me. This isn’t an equal battle. I am being harmed and victimized by his actions and the SCCA participation in many of his actions.

This long tiresome letter is only the tip of iceberg of the harassment I have suffered. I hope you will take a serious objective look into this matter. Please reevaluate your position regarding that ugly solid plastic wall and understand how important this is. Sun city does not need plastic walls and fences “to make good neighbors”. It needs good leadership. I have abundant documentation regarding the statements made. I would be glad to supply them to you if so needed.

There is no law against being a mean spirited, knuckle headed jerk. There also is no law against exposing mean spirited knuckle heads to the world. So if sneaky Carl Fuess thinks he can hide behind the disguise of a good considerate Christian citizen, he is mistaken. The community needs to know there is a vicious wolf in sheep’ clothing running loose in this community. Other innocent residents need to know what price they will pay if they dare to fight for their rights to maintain their life style and property value. This is why I’ll be sending copies of this letter to the many concerned people listed at the close of this letter. . . .

No comments: