For those of you wanting to make a short sale on your house, you’d better keep an eagle eye on your good old Homeowners Association. They’re starting to get pretty crafty in keeping the neighborhood operating budget full.
For homeowners who are suffering through the housing mess and living with underwater mortgages, working out a short sale might help you save some of your retirement nest egg. The banks take a well-deserved loss, but you’re happy because you’ve found a buyer and you’ve escaped your nightmare of a mortgage.
But wait! Your HOA has superior rights over your bank. If it moves quickly, it can snatch your home and foreclose on it before your short sale can go through. Just about any violation of HOA covenants can make your home a nice grab. If you were a little behind on dues, if your grass became a little brown during those months you failed to water the lawn, if you got fined for leaving the trash can outside, once you add fines, collection fees, legal fees, late fees and all the other fees that can be conjured up, your HOA can actually claim you owe it tens of thousands of dollars.
Like a rat trap, the HOA springs shut on your pending short sale. You lose, the bank loses, your potential buyer loses. Ah, but your HOA wins. It gets to put your house on the auction block. Sweet, huh?
Neighbors At War: The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association