Saturday, May 26, 2012

HOA forecloses on Mesa homeowner | Phoenix

HOA forecloses on Mesa homeowner | 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. 


Anonymous said...

I spoke with Brummer who said that she didn't pay her dues because she was angry over her treatment on the HOA violation. Said she didn't know that she could lose her home.

The real issue here, for me, is the total of $28,000 in attorney fees -- the injunction violation and the subsequent foreclosure case -- for $3,300 of which $1,700 was unpaid assessments. The judge denied her objection to the fees because of her "intransgience" and rewarded not the HOA, but the attorneys.

Anonymous said...

Or, foreclosure by HOAs should just be prohibited -- period.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion and experience, this is crazy and maybe she should have known, but did not. The attys make up the fees, make up (create conflict and charges) and move to foreclose. In this case, the woman stopped paying her fees. Try paying everything, for years. Helping you neighbors in anything and everything..including getting their insurance paid. Dr. McKenzie, how can YOU, in good conscience believe this atty(s) deserve $13,000. The attys make up anything and everything to steal. They have help, yes insurance people, other board members, even some neighbors, who may have been friends and harbor personal jealousy, undeserved, malicious retaliation, etc..I just read a case from PA where the atorney(S) extortion foreclosure and the amount they claimed "owed for the atty fees they CREATED was $5000.00 + and the other approximately $13,000 +, was for wht the PROJECTED COST OF THE FORECLOSURE (FRAUD CLOSURE) would be.. got that? Who would allow this? What system of justice in America. Oh, by the way, she is still technically homeless and fighting to get reimbursed for her home contents and belongings. A legitimate investigations and prosecutions of the predators would be appropriate, don't ypu think? By the way, I am told the "created conflict," slapp and fabricated HOA/COA foreclosures are illegal, in PA. Obviously, you believe differently. Want to tell me why?
Thank you.

Evan McKenzie said...

I green lit the silly and misleading comment above just to illustrate something. Many people who populate the internet and send comments to this blog do not bother to read anything carefully. They have a hobby horse that they want to ride, and as soon as they have a chance to ride it, off they go, in some anonymous post, ranting away in full indignation mode regardless of what anybody really said. It is like the old Saturday Night Live skits where Gilda Radner played Emily Littella, the old lady who would rant about how unfair the "deaf penalty" was, until she was told that it was "death penalty," and then she would say, "Oh. Never mind."
In this case, there is nothing in my post that remotely suggests I think the attorney fees were justified. In fact, I said the opposite: that the fees were so excessive that the AZ state legislature should do something about the problem: "...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)."

I am leaning toward ending my policy of allowing anonymous comments simply because I get so many of these ridiculous comments from people who won't even put their names on them. Maybe if they had to identify themselves they would read and think before commenting.