Egads, that’s an impossible question to answer. But read the column linked below and make up your own mind.
Oh, and remember that Robert Frank (retired Air Force Colonel) was one of two whistle-blowers who were jailed, strip searched and accused of fraudulently reporting a crime to a police agency. They were eventually exonerated. No, they were more than exonerated when the IRS discovered their allegations of fishy tax returns were spot-on and the HOA was hit with a huge federal fine for trying to skirt around millions of bucks worth of taxes.
The actions of a Florida law firm may be a sign of weird times ahead. Another real estate bubble, even bigger than the last? Track this subject and comment at my blog and website, NeighborsAtWar.com
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Florida has a new law that allows HOAs to evict a homeowner who’s behind on dues and lease the house to a tenant to make up for the lost money. The Bridgewater Community Association in Wesley Chapel has taken that to extremes.
Joanne McCarn says she missed a $225 dues payment in 2009 when her mother died. She claims she knew nothing about the overdue payment until recently. The HOA began tacking on late fees, attorney’s fees, and collection costs. By the time Joanne found out about her missed payment, the HOA was demanding $2,565, more than ten times the original amount. Joanne and her husband both tried to contact Association officials, who refused to talk to them.
The McCarn family had leased their home to a renter. But the HOA used the new Florida law to kick out the McCarn’s renter and put in a renter of their own. Joanne says it’s completely outrageous because the house hasn’t been foreclosed on.
“I still own this house,” she says. “The HOA changed the locks on the home and they call the sheriff if I come near the property.”
A Homeowners Association lawyer in Florida says the HOA’s actions are illegal. If so, then homeowners in the Bridgewater Association may be hit with a special assessment to cover a hefty lawsuit against the community.
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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.
Ho hum, it’s just another embezzlement from a Homeowner Association. I don’t want to bore you with too many details, since these happen with unbelievable regularity. I haven’t done an official study, but it seems that there are more HOA embezzlements than purse snatchings. Is that possible? It’s just so incredibly easy to steal from your neighbors when you’re an HOA board officer or manager. The difficult thing to understand is how you can look your neighbors in the eye. If anyone can enlighten me as to how that miracle can be accomplished, please do. That kind of bald-faced dishonesty just mystifies me. But there’ll be another embezzlement tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.