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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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

0 thoughts on “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.

    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      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.


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