Monday, April 7, 2014
10 STRIKES AGAINST 55+ ONLY COMMUNITES/SUN CITY WAS NEVER ORIGNALLY DESIGNED TO BE 55+
Sun City Was Never Designed To BE 55+ Only or
10 Strikes why senior only communities are a very bad idea
When Sun City, a non-gated community, was planned and built by Del Web, it was designed to be an adult only community of age 18+. It remained so until “PROJECT 55” began around 2007 when Jean Roberge falsely filed a document with the country recorder claiming that members of SCCA received and voted on a ballot that members never received. While the SCCA Board claim that never happened, they have never produced the ballot they claim the members received after repeated requests. If the above statement is false, then let them prove by producing the ballot the ballot.
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. The developers paid $100,000 plus to sell a dream. The brochures have been psychologically designed to convince younger seniors their community offers a way of life they always desired but couldn’t afford. 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, basket ball bouncing brats will be seen or heard in this utopia! Peace and quiet from the obnoxious noise of children! Free at last! Free at last. Who wouldn’t want to live in paradise?
The brand new developments are seductively gorgeous from the outside. Seniors are anxious to buy believing they will get all that paradise offers and a big appreciation on their investment, too. The younger seniors are 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 (aka CC&R’s) will keep their neighbors under control. What they don’t realize is it is they who will be kept under control. After a few years they are miserable with the perpetual meetings, cronyism, conflicts, and letters notifying them of trivial violations.
About 10% of titleholders living in any senior community think they are great. The rest regret having ever moved into an age restricted HOA.
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 capricious HOA Boards, management companies, their attorneys, arbitrators and judges. 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. The challenging member is in serious danger of non-judicial foreclosure. That is just one of the reason deed restricted titles are inferior. Take a look at the hard reality.
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 are much younger, income is usually not fixed and the property isn’t going to be their last.
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.
Senior only communities are magnets to predators!
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 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.
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.
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
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 Book
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.
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 )
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
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.
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; AHRC.com, Cotobuzz.com, and Spa-shout.org. 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