Another On-duty Serviceman gets the HOA Shaft!

Until HOAs get massive financial fines for screwing over on-duty service members, this kind of crime will never stop. The federal law is incredibly clear…you can’t foreclose on a member of the U.S. Armed Services if he is on active duty and cannot appear in court.

Yet the Monte Viejo Community Association in San Antonio, Texas felt they were above the law. In 2011, they simply reached out and snatched the home of U.S. Navy Petty Officer Richard Miller. He was stationed in Japan at the time. In a case eerily similar to the confiscation of another Texas serviceman’s home, Miller’s wife kept all of his mail for him to read when he was home for the holidays. Miller says he never got any mail from his HOA, and thus didn’t know his dues were not being paid.

Miller’s dues were only 200 bucks a year. The HOA jacked that up to more than $15,000 and then liened and foreclosed on Miller’s home.

The good news is that Miller has a pro-bono attorney who’s fighting for his rights. There’s a hint that the Monte Viego board knows how badly they messed up because they’re finally communicating with Miller.

(link to Stars and Stripes article on Miller’s fight)


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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.

2 thoughts on “Another On-duty Serviceman gets the HOA Shaft!

  1. Deborah Goonan

    As it is, Miller already paid more than he owed in assessments. Clearly, if he intended to stiff the HOA entirely, he would not have repaid over $3000. I hope that Texas is able to pass legislation limiting legal fees.

    In my own former HOA, coupon books were mailed annually and sometimes a few weeks after the first quarterly installment was due. And every other year there seemed to be a new place to send the payments — so I had to update online bill pay information. I can definitely see how this could become a problem for a serviceman stationed overseas.

  2. Cynthia

    This abuse and property theft to deployed service members was a major problem in North Carolina a few years ago, from what I recall, and many worked terribly hard to get legislation passed to stop these outrageous crimes and housing thefts. Even though there was a Federal Law, North Carolina passed the additional state protections in the legislation I have posted below that took affect January 01, 2011. The sad fact is though, I bet we will never know the exact number of deployed service members who had their homes, or property stolen while they were deployed in North Carolina!

    Senate Bill 1400


    A mortgagee, trustee, or other creditor shall not exercise a power of … 90 days after, a mortgagor’s, trustor’s, or debtor’s period of military service. The clerk of …
    Homeowners Associations Bill

    On June 27, the Governor signed into law House Bill 165 (Planned Community & Condo Act Amends), introduced by Reps. Jennifer Weiss (D-Wake), Bill McGee (R-Forsyth), Julia Howard (R-Iredell) Beverly Earle (D-Mecklenburg), which would require that any lien on a home by an association be in place for 90 days before the HOA can begin foreclosure proceedings. The provisions were part of a list of recommendations from a House study committee that had met on the issue.As more and more people purchase homes in planned communities with restrictive covenants, complaints have increased. In some cases, a few hundred dollars in late association dues leads to foreclosure proceedings or thousands of dollars in late fees and fines. The NC Association of REALTORS® government affairs staff worked with the bill sponsors to reduce the disclosure burdens on sellers to only those that are required by NCAR’s contracts.

    Owning Up: New year brings new HOA disclosure rules to N.C. … › News › Construction and Real EstateCached

    Jan 10, 2012 – 2010 In-House Leaders in the Law · 2011 Most Influential Women … Owning Up: New year brings new HOA disclosure rules to N.C. (access required) … The Planned Community


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