HOA forecloses on Burleson woman over fees

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on May 12, 2010 at 11:39 PM

Updated Saturday, May 15 at 12:15 AM

BURLESON — Time is running out for Sherre Mueller to get her house back.

She lost it to foreclosure; not because she didn't pay her mortgage or her property taxes, but because she fell $1,200 behind on her homeowners' association fees.

Mueller faces eviction in July. "I'm homeless," she said. "I have no where to go."

She lives in a $150,000 Burleson home that is paid for, but says she fell on hard times after losing her job and dealing with her husband's death.

"I woke up in the middle of the night and found my husband dead," she said. "That will mess you up real bad."

Mueller used insurance money to pay off the mortgage. She sold her jewelry and tapped her 401K account to help pay the bills while she wasn't working.

But she let the $300 annual HOA fees go unpaid for four years.

"I wasn't taking care of business; it's my fault — I'll say that right up front, I know it's my fault," Mueller said.

She thought the Mistletoe Hill homeowners' association would just put a lien on her house — not sell it.

The HOA fees go to take care of the community pool and common grounds. The association sent her numerous warnings over the years and finally foreclosed on the home in January.

"The foreclosure is the final step," explained HOA attorney Charles Spencer. "It's like what war is to diplomacy — it's as far as you can go, but you'd rather not."

The $150,000 property was sold to a company in Dallas for just over $3,100 — that's the $1,200 Mueller owes plus legal fees.

She has until July 6 to match the price or be evicted, but Mueller is still unemployed and says she is still financially devastated.

"I don't know what to do," she said. "I'm at a loss right now; I'm terrified."

Last year, State Rep. Burt Solomons (R-Carrollton) pushed for a bill that would tighten the reigns on homeowners' associations. The legislation passed the House but not the Senate.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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