HOA Dues: For Some, it’s Poison

Members of Homeowners Associations must pay their HOA dues, on time!

That’s as it should be, of course. After all, homeowners agree in their original real estate purchase agreements to abide by all HOA rules and restrictions. But in thousands of cases across the country, people’s homes are being snatched and sold at auction, sometimes without notice, after a late payment or other violation of vague neighborhood rules.

Tony Goodman, of San Antonio, Texas, is just another in a long line of homeowners to find themselves threatened with homelessness.

Goodman, who was unemployed for nearly a year, says he was unable to pay HOA dues on his $165,000 home in the Lookout Canyon Creek Homeowners Association. He owed $769. With surprise collection fees and attorney’s costs that sum rose to more than $2000. Goodman says he worked out a payment plan with the HOA’s lawyer, Tom Newton, but the plan was rejected by the HOA twice.

Reporter Brian Collister, of WOAI TV, says he tried to get both the attorney and the Homeowners Association to discuss the Goodman case. Neither would talk to him. Collister says he then showed up at a Homeowners Association meeting and tried to ask questions about the home seizure, but the HOA ordered Collier to leave and then called the police.

Tony Goodman was eventually one of the few “snatch and sell” victims who was able to save his house. After all the negative publicity in Texas, the Lookout Canyon Creek HOA agreed to let Goodman make payments to head off the foreclosure.

Others, many others, have not been so “lucky.”

Ward Lucas
Author of
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association

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4 Comments

Filed under HOA, HOA Horror Stories, Homeowners Association

4 responses to “HOA Dues: For Some, it’s Poison

  1. anonymous

    “homeowners agree in their original real estate purchase agreements to abide by all HOA rules and restrictions. ”

    Depends on your definition of “agree”.

    Ask any homeowner in an HOA why they agreed to make their house collateral to whatever debts and liabilities the HOA board of directors creates, and see what type of reaction you get.

    • Yep, you’re right. I should have mentioned that the vast majority of homeowners don’t realize all the implications of the word, “agree.” But homeowners are absolutely bound to pay for liabilities incurred by their HOA boards. Most HOA boards are made up of responsible people. But all it takes is one election of one board member to tip the balance to an irresponsible board. Then all hell breaks loose and homeowners lose their shirts. One need only point to Las Vegas, Southern Florida, or Harris County, Texas to find a plethora of examples.

  2. Diana

    What if you were told your home was not in an HOA with all the closing documents supporting that but they want to slap a lien on you? I am loving all the threatening emails I am getting and all I am asking for is the by-laws before I pay the dues. Shouldn’t I be able to know what “laws” they are holding me to?

    • Diana, watch your situation like a hawk. Many communities have been able to create HOAs without a full vote by the neighborhood, and without even notifying some of the homeowners. Some people have awakened to discover that they actually live in an HOA, one they never approved, and one that appears nowhere on their title work. Instead of ignoring emails and threats of liens, it’s best to spend a few bucks on a lawyer just to make sure you’re in the clear.

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