Tag Archives: HOA fees

Growing Impact of HOA Fees

The link below gave me some pause to reflect.

It shows the growing impact of HOA fees on different types of neighborhoods. In recent years, more and more people have been moving away from private family homes into life in a condo. The decrease of available land, the mandate by many large businesses that employees should live closer to the city core, and the relatively lower cost of condo living are among the reasons for the demographic shift.

But knowing what we all know about the false promises of ‘easier living,’ the figures below are a little scary. Living in America is all about choice, isn’t it? But more and more we are all losing our God-given freedom of choice. In addition, we are paying higher and higher fees, fines and special assessments for the privilege of living in an HOA-controlled condo.

(link to growing footprint of HOA fees)



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

A Bad Case Of HOA Insensitivity

There are many ironies in the country’s HOA quagmire, but the one that really stirred anger among American families was the 2010 confiscation of the home of an Army Reserve Captain named Michael Clauer.

Clauer and his wife, May, lived in the Heritage Lakes Homeowners Association in Frisco, Texas. They had two young children, one of them just a toddler. They owned their 300,000 dollar home free and clear, a gift from May’s parents.

But when Michael was transfered to command a unit in the war in Iraq, May Clauer allowed what she thought was junk mail to pile up. Sadly, among the items in the growing stack of mail were the couple’s HOA dues, about 877 dollars, and the threat to foreclose.

One day, when May answered the door, a visitor told her that he now owned the home and that she and her family would have to vacate. It seems that Heritage Lakes HOA had done a non-judicial foreclosure, meaning no judge ever heard a foreclosure case against the Clauer family. The HOA had just reached out, snatched the home, auctioned it for $3500 to an investor who sold it again for $135,000.

Federal law prohibits civil actions against service members who are on active duty overseas. But many Homeowners Associations consider federal law just a minor annoyance.

Michael Clauer says not a single person from the Heritage Lakes Homeowners Association ever visited his home, despite the fact that board members live just a short distance away.

The Clauer’s finally got their house back after a federal judge ordered all the parties involved to work out a settlement. Details of the settlement are confidential, but it’s hard to imagine that the experience was not extremely costly for the family.

Clauer now lives in Virginia. He says he’ll never again live in a Homeowners Association.

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