Iraq war vet declares victory in Frisco HOA battle

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on July 28, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 29 at 11:28 PM

FRISCO — Michael Clauer and his family can finally call the house on Crescent Way in Frisco home again.

"At least, it feels like our house again," said Clauer. "I'm just glad it's over."

Clauer, a Captain with the National Guard, lost his home in 2008 while he was serving in Iraq. The property went into foreclosure after the couple failed to pay their homeowners' association dues.

They owed less than $1,000.

Heritage Lakes Homeowners' Association sent multiple certified letters to the house, but Clauer's wife said she didn't open the mail. She claimed she was depressed because of his absence.

The home was sold at auction for $3,500; later, someone else bought it for $135,000.

"This is really something that needs to be brought home to everyone," Clauer said.

Clauer and the parties involved reached an agreement this past Monday, but they can't release any details because the federal judge in the case issued a gag order.

Clauer is thrilled that he got his home back, but he told News 8 the fight is not over.

"We need to open the public's eyes that we can't continue to do this to our neighbors," he said.

A federal law helped Clauer save his home. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects those on active duty from certain financial and legal obligations including foreclosure, but under Texas law, homeowners are facing a losing battle.

Clauer wants HOA reform so other families in the state can keep their homes.

"They are at the mercy of the homeowners' association, which has more power than banks and government agencies," Clauer said. "Getting more people, more voices involved with this, we can change it."

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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