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Residents Face Foreclosure From Homeowner Associations

By Allison Halliday | July 12, 2011

Inlet House, a condo complex in Fort Pierce, Florida, was once the kind of place sought after by the over fifty five's.  Everything is within easy walking distance, and it was ideal for anyone on a fixed income.

Homeowner associations

Homeowner associations like Inlet House are quick to initiate foreclosure if residents slip up. Image courtesy of Media Cleveland

Unfortunately times have changed, and the complex is falling into a state of disrepair. Condos which were previously worth $79,000 are now selling for as little as $3,000, and now the community association has levied $6,000 assessments  on everyone living there, and has foreclosed on those who couldn't afford the association bill, even if they don't owe the bank any money.

Some tenants have stopped paying their association dues in protest over the enforced assessments, as they feel the board is trying to force people out of their homes. He thinks the situation could have been dealt with better.

In the past those who kept to the rules got safe and well maintained communities, but many hadn't read the small print which gave the association the right to foreclose, even if just a few hundred dollars were outstanding. It is surprisingly easy for the association to start foreclosure proceedings, as all they have to do is get an attorney to place a lien on the property, and the homeowner doesn`t even have the right to appeal.

Homeonwer associations love their rules

Homeonwer associations love their rules and regs. Image courtesy of Crossland Team

A lot of property owners are struggling to pay their bills, and often owe the associations more than the value of their home. The association’s frequent response is to cut utilities and cable TV, and to restrict use of facilities such as the pool. If this fails to bring homeowners into line, they will start  foreclosure procedures.

A lot of associations are well known for imposing draconian regulations on property owners, such  dictating the correct weight of your dog, banning lemonade stands, and ordering owners with brown lawns to dye their grass green. One in five US homeowners are subject to the rules and regulations of community homeowner associations.

Allison Halliday is a Realty Biz News contributing writer. She handles International Real Estate and is a seasoned blogger.
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