The grapevine is buzzing about a Pennsylvania widow who inadvertently underpaid her property tax by six dollars & change and lost her house at the county tax auction. This fight’s been going on for several years but now a judge has essentially told her, “The loss of her home was just fine and dandy.” Her $280,000 house seized and handed off to someone else.
When her husband died, she apparently got behind on the bills. She paid the property tax but she says she was never informed about the six dollar interest charge. She’s going to appeal, and who knows, she might win in a higher court.
Still, she was protected by the U.S. Constitution, she had the right to due process and the right to appeal, the right to appeal over and over again.
Across this country the same thing is happening. The record home seizure was in West Boca, Florida, where a single mom lost her home over an inadvertent underpayment of Homeowners Association dues by 78 cents. But day in and day out, Homeowners Associations are attacking residents of the neighborhood for such things as parking the wrong kind of car in the driveway, not getting your trash cans inside within an hour after pickup.
In one paper written by a fellow in the Cato Institute, the author talked about HOA attorneys in Houston running around ticketing cars because they knew they’d make extra legal income by generating extra fines, liens and lawsuits. Talk about a conflict of interest!
The difference between the government home seizure in Pennsylvania and the confiscation of all those other homes by Homeowners Associations… HOA residents don’t have the Constitutional rights to fight back. There’s no due process, there’s no way to appeal, no checks and balances. The guy who tickets you is a member of the board or the HOA manager. So you have to appeal to the same people who are beating you up in the first place.
The typical HOA is based on the private non-profit corporation model, and when you’re attacked by your own corporation you have little or no access to Constitutional rights.
Welcome to your new life in your HOA.