HOA forecloses on Mesa homeowner | azfamily.com Phoenix
She also stopped paying her monthly dues to the Fountain of the Sun Homeowners Association -- a requirement. She claims the HOA wasn't doing anything to keep up the neighborhood.
“They’re voted in. They do whatever they want with our money,” she said.
As a result, Brummer's HOA fees became so overdue that the HOA took her to court. In March, it actually won a judgment to foreclose on her home.
The foreclosure is to collect a total of $16,000. Nearly $13,000 are for HOA attorney fees, and the remainder is unpaid HOA dues and interest.
Brummer says she had no idea not paying HOA dues came with such a heavy price.
So it seems that she knew she had an HOA but didn't like the way they did things, and she says she didn't know they could foreclose, so she stopped paying. Eventually the HOA got a foreclosure judgment. This is a pretty shocking level of misunderstanding on her part. If a person lives in an HOA with mandatory membership and mandatory assessments, it is child's play to enforce those obligations.
George Staropoli says, of this situation: "“The laws are pro-HOA laws,” Staropoll said. “The CC&Rs are adhesion contracts. The homeowner who lives in a homeowner association is deprived of the rights, privileges, and freedoms that he enjoys outside the HOA. Why are they taken away from him?”
That's true--there are a lot of "pro-HOA laws" that put owners at a disadvantage, as George says. However, this case would be an open and shut foreclosure under any state's laws, based on what is in this news account. It looks like a matter of complete ignorance of the entire concept.
Maybe the Arizona state government should make sure people know what they are getting into when they buy into an HOA. Or maybe they should address the amount of attorney fees relative to the dues and late charges in question (in this case, $13,000 for the lawyers, $3000 for the HOA). Every session the AZ legislature takes up a bunch of HOA reform bills, but I wonder sometimes if Arizona is like Texas--a place where, when all is said and done, the political climate just isn't particularly supportive of government protecting consumers. Arizona is one of those red states where most of the voters seem to think we don't need no guvmint interfering in people's bidness. (They would all die of thirst in three days if not for their dependence on the federal government for "the largest and most expensive aqueduct system ever constructed in the United States",but leave that aside for the moment.) They keep voting for hard-right people like Jan Brewer, Jon Kyl, and Jeff Flake. Now they are going big for private prisons that are a bad deal. Government bad, private sector good. And that kind of political culture isn't conducive to serious consumer protection.
Thanks to Fred Pilot for the link.