First, I am completely for neighborhoods unifying in order to get a better lease agreement with the O&G companies. But I’ve seen reports of neighborhood associations that were frankly more of a hindrance than a help.
I’ve read about and talked to people in the DFW area about this subject and we here in NW LA could learn a lot from them. Here are a few:
Homeowners need to formally belong to an alliance.
– Think of this as a union of sorts. This alliance should negotiate with strength in numbers, but all bids should be presented to the alliance for approval / denial.
For example, Twin Cities is now going to homeowners and saying if you get 80% of your neighbors to sign you get $X. Twin Cities should be dealing with the alliance and not the individual homeowner. But until they hear the phrase “I’m a part of my neighborhood alliance, talk to them”, enough times their practices will not change. Most alliances in the Fort Worth area accept membership either through Homeowners Associations or filling out a simple form saying that you belong to the alliance. Note: An alliance membership does not remove the homeowner’s right to sign with any company they chose.
Alliances need to reach across neighborhoods.
– It was encouraging to see this start in South Shreveport with the ShreveCentre Coalition, but it could be done in South Bossier, West Shreveport, DeSoto, etc. The obvious advantage is strength in numbers, but also the leveraging of resources. More on this later.
People need to understand that this takes time.
– Some of the neighborhood associations in Texas have been negotiating for 6–12 months. And almost universally, the longer the negotiations have taken, the better the outcome. Chesapeake just released 25 million shares of stock to raise money to lease land. They are not leaving town soon nor are their offers good until a certain date. Patience is a virtue.
People need to participate in the process.
– This is easily the most important step. Go to meetings. Volunteer. And read everything. The more everyone is informed on the process, the better decisions they will make. I would guess those of you that read this site regularly are among the more educated on this subject. Help out your neighbors.
Alliances should not profit in the process.
– I personally would pay a small fee to help defray costs in the process. Before you gasp think of this: There are lawyers (and even CPAs!) negotiating leases for random groups of people and charging them a percentage of their signing bonus. I’ve heard 4-5% in most cases. If you get $10000 in a signing bonus, you’ve just paid this guy $400-500. Wouldn’t you rather get together in an alliance; everyone contributes $20 and hires your own lawyer? Then you get your entire signing bonus.
(Note: Most associations in the area, including the ShreveCentre Coalition, are completely free.)
I hope this mission statement hasn’t turned you off. It’s just something I felt needed to be said. Hopefully more of you out there have good ideas that will help our neighborhood alliances and ultimately all of us.
Here is a link of an alliance's web site that is north of Fort Worth: http://360nw.info
I'd like to see this kind of thing in NW LA!