“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States


 

By Ernesto C. Perez II


 

For 35 years of my life, I had the privilege to reside in a gated community where it was relatively peaceful, quiet, serene and orderly. It has an expansive park where people jog and exercise every morning and evening – and, practically all throughout the day; a children’s playground; a swimming pool; a clubhouse; a social hall; a tennis court, basketball court, and badminton court/volleyball court.

In my young mind, I thought all villages were like this. Almost everyone obeyed the rules and regulations of the Homeowners’ Association.

When I was assigned as Technical Committee Staff to handle the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, I learned a different reality that changed my perspective.

In 1999, I met an urban planner who told me that the rate of urbanization of Metro Manila and its nearby provinces will create more problems for homeowners and urban settlers. In hindsight, I think his predications then have become reality at this time. His name is Architect Jun Palafox.

I met and dealt with neighborhood association leaders in depressed areas, informal settlers and community association officers dealing with all sorts of problems. These people were ordinary individuals who had no formal training on how to run and manage a non-profit association.

HOA ManagementMany of these HOA leaders considered their work as Officers or Board Member as a charitable act. “Wala kasi mag malasakit,” was the common refrain when asked why they were taking the cudgels of a supposed “non-profit” organization which seems disorganized and uncaring.

In the National Capital Region, there are 4,931 Homeowners’ Associations (HOA) registered with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board. In the CALABARZON area, there are more than 2,200 registered HOAs. (Source: HLURB website)

With the number of licenses to sell being issued by the HLURB in different regions increasing by leaps and bounds every year, more and more HOAs are being created and registered with the HLURB.

But with this increase in numbers, there is also an increase in HOA litigation at the HLURB. The docket of the HLURB Arbiters have been full with cases of HOA Boards against Members, Members against HOA Officers, two separate HOA Boards fighting over control of their community association, etc., etc.

With this shocking rate of increase in HOA litigation, getting involved in HOA affairs as Officer or Board Member has become less appealing for well-meaning people. In addition, numerous HOAs, except for upscale communities, are governed by officers and Board Members who are ill-trained and unqualified, and operate on a very limited budget, if there is budget to begin with at all.

More and more of these communities look to their local government for support and assistance to augment the lack of resources of their HOAs. However, resources of local governments are getting stretched to their limit as the number of HOAs who seek support increase annually.

The situation is getting from bad to worst. As the quality of community leaders deteriorate, the needs of the community that should be addressed keep expanding.

Homeowner indifference and apathy on the affairs of the community association seems higher in these communities, yet homeowners remain helpless to take on ill-tempered and power-tripping officials or Board Members of their HOAs.

Leaving the community is not an option to homeowners especially if the family’s savings were used to purchase a home in a community they thought would be a decent and hassle-free environment. Much worse is, if the homeowner just started to pay a long term mortgage.

Ironically, numerous HOAs are in need of support and can least afford it. Yet, any affordable resources are limited or unavailable to vulnerable HOAs who cannot afford the services of a property management or whose leadership chooses to remain in their old and feudal ways of managing things.

But then again, there are only a few property management companies who can provide world-class service to satisfy the needs of the homeowners and their leadership.

With an extreme shortage of willing volunteers, limited resources, and a dearth of good management companies to hire, the remaining good-natured and service-oriented Officers and Board Members of vulnerable associations face a daunting task.

We hope that this website and the articles written here will help officers and Board members address the needs of their member-homeowners.

We hope the website can be a valuable resource to provide knowledge of community associations’ best practices, legal requirements and responsibilities to its members, local government and the national government.

We aim to provide information that is well-researched and relevant to the existing needs of all stakeholders in a community association. Through this website, we honor those who remain steadfast in providing unconditional and honest-to-goodness service to their community association.

If you know a person giving such a service, we would like to know about them. Write us and let us recognize his or her efforts here.