HOAs put homes with late dues up on auction block

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by By JONATHAN BETZ / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:47 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 1:23 PM

HOA FORECLOSURES

Jonathan Betz reports

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WYLIE - The foreclosure listing service says foreclosures are up 25 percent in North Texas, and nearly 1,000 homes this year have been foreclosed on by homeowners associations.

Often, homeowners don't even realize their house is on the auction block.

News 8 tracked down some surprised owners of a Wylie home that was up on the auction block.

"I just couldn't believe it," said Jaqueline Rinaldi, who said she had no idea her home was up for auction.

Rinaldi is now in danger of losing her home due to more than $1,000 in delinquent HOA dues.

"Somebody can come and take your home away from you because you owe $1,000 worth of homeowners dues," said Chuck Sharp. "That's just ridiculous."

So far this year, nearly 1,000 homes in North Texas have been foreclosed on by HOAs, which is up three percent from last year. The Texas Legislature is now considering stripping HOAs of their foreclosure power.

However, HOAs defend it as a needed tool to collect unpaid fees.

"Those members of the association who do pay their assessments and do care for their community are going to end up paying more, and I think everybody should pay their fair share," said Judd Austin, a HOA representative.

Actual sales from HOA foreclosures are rare since homeowners get multiple chances to clear the debt and reclaim the home.

"Anybody who bids on a HOA lien is just wasting their time and money," said Jim Johnson, a home buyer.

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