Posts Tagged ‘Enforcement’

Post Falls American Flag Flap

July 10, 2014

It’s the season of the Fourth of July, so of course we had to have an HOA versus American Flag story. Unfortunately, this year we had one right here in the Gem State. Post Falls, Idaho, to be exact.

It is never a good idea for an HOA to try to interfere with a homeowner’s right to fly Old Glory. This applies doubly when he’s a dapper veteran like Mr. Benham of Post Falls.

The local news picked up the story and the HOA wisely sounded the retreat. The President made a personal apology to defuse what was quickly becoming a heated problem. Allie Norton puts it thus:

Although Benham wasn’t complying according to Fieldstone rules, which he agreed to when he bought the house. the board let it go. Benham is happy that they did, but would also like a written apology so he can show all veterans.

Ms. Norton does not mention if the HOA’s threat to use fines was legal under Idaho’s new fine laws.


Fifth Annual HOA Forum a Hit

March 10, 2014

Saturday morning we hosted Vial Fotheringham’s fifth annual Spring Forum here in Boise. We’ve been doing these every year since we opened the office here. This year we had the most attendance ever: about ninety participants, I think. It was a good time. We had a lot of questions come up about SB 1310. We also discussed governing documents, managing HOA money, maintaining common area and common property, construction defects, vendor contracts, keeping common area secure, and document retention policies.

The firm will have slides available, and if you are looking for information for next year, it is easy to get on Vial’s email invitation list. Check here: for information about our free monthly training meetings, our Idaho binders, or about next year’s forum.


I suspect we will be doing quite a bit of education work about the new fine law once SB 1310 becomes Idaho Code Section 55-115. Next week, we will be hosting some training sessions for managers and owners to get ready.

State of Lincoln Finds HOA Cops Don’t Create Police State

February 4, 2013


In an interesting development from LaSalle County, Illinois, the state Supreme Court has upheld the right of a private, covenant-based police force to detain and ticket speeders.  Is it shades of Snow Crash, or perhaps just a recognition that a multi-thousand-acre community needs to be able to keep the peace?

What I found interesting was that the policing was based almost entirely on some fairly vague provisions in the articles of incorporation:

“To promote and enhance the civic and social interests of the
owners of real estate in Lake Holiday Development, LaSalle
County, Illinois; insofar as those interests relate to the
maintenance of Lake Holiday, the dam constructed at the
headwaters thereof, and appurtenant structures thereto. To
acquire and hold real estate in its corporate name; to construct
and maintain thereon buildings and structures of all types,
roadways, beaches; and, to do all other things reasonably
necessary therefor; memberships herein shall be restricted to
owners of land in Lake Holiday Development ***.”

Based on this broad power, the Association had adopted more specific (barely) Bylaws empowering the Board to adopt and enforce rules and regulations:

The Board of Directors shall adopt such rules and
regulations relating to the use of association property as they
may deem reasonably necessary for the best interests of the
association and its members. They may also in order to better
effectuate said rules and regulations, adopt reasonable
sanctions for non-compliance therewith. *** The Board of
Directors shall also employ a sufficient number of persons to
adequately maintain association property.

To me, the analysis should be whether the rules and regulations adopted by the Board were outside the scope of powers permitted by the CC&Rs.  However, the Court of Appeals focused on questions of private policing powers only, so the Supreme Court used that analysis as well, holding that “courts generally will not interfere with the internal affairs of a voluntary association absent mistake, fraud, collusion or arbitrariness.”  An HOA evenhandedly enforcing its rules, obviously, is not mistaken, fraudulent, collusive or arbitrary.

I’m not sure if the courts here in Idaho would follow the same analysis.

-Jeremy O. Evans



Lien Powers = Big Brother?

January 11, 2013

It is not news that some folks really don’t like homeowner associations.  They equate enforcing the written covenants and assessments with “small government oppression” and “Big Brother” tactics.

So I only mention this soft-news opinion piece from “Realty Biz News”  because I like the Orwell cartoon it used, below.    Ironically enough the cartoon was borrowed, perhaps from a health care law critique, without much attention to the details.  If this cartoon really were of an HOA, one would hope the windows and exteriors in the building pictured would be better maintained.

Image courtesy of Fugue


While the article’s analysis is accurate, beware of the comments section, which is a bit misleading.


Fire Escape Does Not Escape HOA Scrutiny

January 2, 2013

Stowecroft staircase

Wow, that’s some staircase.  The owner of the house nearly dwarfed by this neolithic structure doesn’t think the HOA should pay any mind.  She already received town permits, after all.  It is unclear from the local news coverage why she decided to spend thousands of dollars on this monstrosity without complying with her covenants.  We’ll have to watch developments to see if the HOA backs down or… escalates the conflict.

Tea Parties, On The House!

October 22, 2012

As a follow-up to my prior post, the little granddaughter in Georgia gets to keep her pink playhouse.  The association has dropped its suit.

DNA is not for the Dogs

September 14, 2012

I’m not one to shy away from new technology.  Along with the many other advances popping up these days, I think the dawn of cheap, reliable DNA testing is great and will lead to all kinds of advantages in family history, medicine, sports and the like… Sci Fi predictions to the contrary.

However, I understand that this is not everyone’s view.  So, when HOAs decide to try to use DNA technology to address the old “whose doggie did it?” conundrum, it is no surprise that there is a public reaction.

Could DNA prove that Fifi is responsible for the mess instead of Kojo?  Sure.  Several new businesses think so.  Should an HOA demand DNA samples from every pet in the subdivision?  Maybe not. Let’s be honest.  This sounds creepy, is invasive, and is a pig of an issue, in the George Bernard Shaw sense.  ( “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”)

Whether our canine friends have any right to DNA privacy or not, I can’t help but imagine they would appreciate the humor of the situation if they understood it.  In this day of cell phone cameras, it is hard to think that a little neighborhood diligence couldn’t clean up the situation better than a regime of DNA testing.  Leave the DNA to CSI.