Renewed effort in Austin to limit HOA powers

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on May 24, 2010 at 11:08 PM

Updated Monday, May 24 at 11:39 PM

BURLESON — Over the last few weeks, News 8 has reported about the plight of Sherre Mueller. While she owns her Burleson home outright, she lost it to foreclosure for failing to pay her homeowners' association dues.

It was a story that not only caught your attention, but piqued the interest of state lawmakers.

"You don't seize someone's home that's entirely paid off for a few hundred dollars in back dues," said State Rep. Chris Turner (D-Dist. 96). "That's fundamentally unfair and not right."

Turner is the latest state legislator to tackle HOA reform, and on Monday, he recruited Sherre Mueller to join his fight.

"I want to be an advocate for people to never let this happen again," she said.

State lawmakers have tried unsuccessfully to reduce the powers of HOAs for years. In 2009, two proposals in the House and Senate ran out of time.

Turner would like to add two major safeguards to the law, including one that would make it impossible for an HOA to foreclose without a court order.

He also thinks members of an association — your neighbors — should have the final say and vote whether to seize a house.

An anonymous donor is helping Mueller buy back her home, and she's now doing her part to help change the law that allowed it to be taken from her.

"There's been so many positive things to come of this — it's unbelievable," she said.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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