Idiots in Fla-stranger saves solder's home from dipstick HOA and their (Bleep) lawyer


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Brad Johnson
November 15, 2004, 06:06 PM
Stranger pays bill to save reservist's home....

Many others also offer to help an Air Force reservist who forgot to pay his annual homeowners fee.

By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER,

November 13, 2004

TAMPA - The calls and e-mails started coming in early, and they flowed all day.

Tampa Bay residents offered to help out Friday after reading a St. Petersburg Times story about a 42-year-old Riverview man who could lose his home because he forgot to pay his $200 annual homeowners association fee while deployed in Georgia for the Air Force Reserve.

In June, the association at the Villages of Lake St. Charles filed a lien against Bernie Haithcock's $95,000 home, and association leaders this week said they would consider foreclosure.

Several readers offered to pay off Haithcock's mounting bill - which includes late fees and hundreds of dollars in legal costs that association leaders say they racked up pursuing the lien.

By Friday afternoon, Haithcock's pro bono attorney, Kenneth Grace, had dropped off a check for $1,148.50 to the association attorney, Elizabeth Frau of the firm Meirose & Friscia.

The check came courtesy of Insurance Consultants & Contractors Inc., a Tampa company whose owner says he knows what life is like for a deployed military man. ICC owner Robert Hoskinson's father served eight years in the Korean War for the Air Force, and on Veterans Day he had open-heart surgery.

"It just got under my skin that these lawyers and association people would do this to that guy," said Hoskinson. "That gentleman's signed up to protect our country, and you've got lawyers who haven't signed up for anything, trying to make him pay hundreds of dollars."

Hoskinson added: "So I'm paying the bill, because God forbid a lawyer in this town goes hungry."

The $1,148.50 is the amount cited in a demand letter sent to Grace by Frau on Nov. 5. Grace said Frau recently told him that Haithcock's bill now is more than $1,400, with more than $1,100 of it for the price of her time spent on the case.

Frau did not return calls from the Times.

"I'm beside myself today," said Haithcock, who has been at Robins Air Force Base near Macon, Ga., since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "I think this is proof that some people appreciate what we in the military are doing."

Grace said he doesn't consider Haithcock's case closed.

"We are paying this under protest," said Grace, who works for the Tampa firm Bush, Ross, Gardner, Warren & Rudi. "We will look into what we believe is the overbilling of attorney's fees and late fees, and we'll see if my client has any recourse there."

Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 813 226-3373 or svansickler@sptimes.com

_______________________________________________________

Brad

By the way, the contact page on their HOA web site is..
http://www.villagesoflsc.com/contacts.htm

And their mailing address is..
Villages of Lake St. Charles Homeowners Association
2908 Bay to Bay Blvd., Suite 200
Tampa, Florida 33629
Phone: 813-716-8436
Fax: 813-805-2120

And the slimeball attorney representing the HOA can be contacted here..
Elizabeth T. Frau
Associate
Firm Profile: Meirose & Friscia, P.A.
500 North Westshore Boulevard, Suite 830
Tampa, Florida 33609
(Hillsborough Co.)
Telephone: 813-289-8800
Fax: 813-281-2005

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2nd Amendment
November 15, 2004, 06:16 PM
So actually, according to this bottom-feeder Frau, it STILL isn't paid in full and she can continue to rack up fees and pursue foreclosure... Nice. Really, really nice. Anyone care to bet Frau is not merely a Dem but an activist Military-loathing Bush-hater?

TarpleyG
November 15, 2004, 06:21 PM
This is precisely why I will never live in a HOA area. That is becoming harder and harder to do where I am. You would not believe the crap the put people through. Mini socialism...

Greg

Wildalaska
November 15, 2004, 06:25 PM
Or maybe the scumbag bottom feeding lawyer is just doing her job against a scumbag bottom feeding deadbeat who has his own scumbag bottom feeding lawyer fighting to stiff a Homeowners association.

On no, wait a minute, the lawyer defending the reservist isnt a scumbag becasue he is on the side some people think is right....hes a scumbag for you buyt not for me, yes

Childish name calling based on newspaper reports is getting so tiresome...as is the hypocrisy and total lack of knowledge of how our system of justice works,,,,


WildbacktogroupbuysAlaska

Firethorn
November 15, 2004, 06:36 PM
They weren't protesting the $200. They are protesting the additional $1200, mostly lawyer fees for the HOA's attempt to a:put a lien on the house, and b: forclose. Many states have limits on what you can charge for late fees. This is the equivalent of 600% interest, which is a tad excessive.

Which would be a very difficult act, given that A: Florida is a homestead state(you can't take a person's primary residence), and B: The Soldiers' and Sailors' relief act of 1940.

It wouldn't have made the news if the soldier got home and found that he owed $400 ($200 fee, $50/month late fee). It was also a human interest piece, what with strangers donating so he could keep his house.

Hawkmoon
November 15, 2004, 06:38 PM
Wild, perhaps you missed the "pro bono" reference, indicating that the low-life, scumbag, bottom-feeding attorney representing the homeowner is working for free.

Having been on a condominium association board for a couple of years, during which we had to pursue several foreclosures, I am mystified as to how a $200 association fee could possibly have escalated to $1400 in four months. If you had driven up and asked me, I would have said it was impossible.

Brad Johnson
November 15, 2004, 06:41 PM
Or maybe the scumbag bottom feeding lawyer is just doing her job against a scumbag bottom feeding deadbeat who has his own scumbag bottom feeding lawyer fighting to stiff a Homeowners association.

On no, wait a minute, the lawyer defending the reservist isnt a scumbag becasue he is on the side some people think is right....hes a scumbag for you buyt not for me, yes

Childish name calling based on newspaper reports is getting so tiresome...as is the hypocrisy and total lack of knowledge of how our system of justice works,,,,

.. or maybe I took the time to do some background research before posting the article and making comments. You might want to do the same before embarassing yourself further.

Brad

p.s. - being childish and hypocritical has made me tired. I'm going home to wallow in my ignorance of the justice system.

John Hicks
November 15, 2004, 07:09 PM
In defense of HOA's, I'm on my board -- specifically there to NOT legislate, and not to let others get away with it -- but in some cases, they are a necessary evil. We have a lot of properties that are rented and would rot with 5x the number of legal occupants had we not stepped in. It's town-housing too, so one neighbor can easily water/smoke/fire damage the others through negligence.

But I will never let them take someone's house over some late fees. Heck, we had some people with almost 2k in late fees and just kept sending them a bill. They could not sell their house without paying the HOA, but nobody was going to foreclose.

Plus, our lawyers work for a whole lot less than that. Fees for a $200 late payment would be about $50 with our lawyer. It amounts to them sending a nasty certified letter.

So to me, it really does sound like a heartless HOA board coupled with a unscrupulous attorney. Hopefully karma will catch up to them.

jh

Wildalaska
November 15, 2004, 07:13 PM
or maybe I took the time to do some background research before posting the article and making comments.

Right on..not only does the newspaper say its true...so do you..Im convinced!

You might want to do the same before embarassing yourself further.

Im not the one using terms like scumbag am it....

being childish and hypocritical has made me tired. I'm going home to wallow in my ignorance of the justice system.

Bummer, was sort of hoping you would be trying to learn instead of going home to wallow

WildbottomfeederAlaska

Lone_Gunman
November 15, 2004, 07:26 PM
Why didn't this reservist just pay his annual association dues like he was contractually obligated to do????

I mean for crying out loud, Warner Robbins is only about 5 hours drive from Tampa, its not like he was in Fallujah.

We actually have mail here in Georgia, and I hear you can actually have it forwarded from one address to another.

GigaBuist
November 15, 2004, 08:05 PM
Why didn't this reservist just pay his annual association dues like he was contractually obligated to do????

I mean for crying out loud, Warner Robbins is only about 5 hours drive from Tampa, its not like he was in Fallujah.

We actually have mail here in Georgia, and I hear you can actually have it forwarded from one address to another.

Good point. I'm wondering if he was just hoping it would slide until he could get back to his regular job. For all we know his regular income could been cut in half by getting called up and he'd have been stretched thing as it was trying to make house and car payments or what have you.

Seems like an awfully nasty thing to do somebody that's basically your neighbor.

2nd Amendment
November 15, 2004, 09:44 PM
You're in fine form today, Wild. Please, DO continue... :rolleyes: Oh, BTW, you never did comment on the fact you seem to have missed the pro-bono part...or is that simply not important?

SteveS
November 15, 2004, 09:52 PM
I wonder if there is more to this story than we are being told. I served on my HOA board and can say that there are definately some good and bad elements. I wonder how it got to this point. Did the HOA make an attempt to contact him at his current address and tell him that he owed the money? If so, did he just figure he shoudln't have to pay it, or was he unaware? I have plenty of friends that are in the reserves and are serving overseas and they have managed to make arrangments to fufill all their family and financial obligations.

davec
November 15, 2004, 10:02 PM
Being in the military means you don't have to pay your bills on time?

2nd Amendment
November 15, 2004, 10:45 PM
No, but sometimes it does mean you can't. And when MOST of the "bill" is attorney fees which appear to be racking up almost daily(between the fifth and the 11th or 12th it appears the sum of the fees increased $300+, according to Frau) it would become increasingly difficult to handle for someone far removed from the scene.

AZRickD
November 15, 2004, 11:24 PM
Being in the military means one is exempt from all sorts of legal obligations.

However, as the former Prez of our HOA, I can say that we never threatened foreclosure and waived the penalties on every single person once rather signifcant bills (stretching over years) were paid. The other option was to merely collect when the house was sold.

Having been there, I can say that HOAs are almost pure eeevil.

Rick

2nd Amendment
November 15, 2004, 11:27 PM
Ok, you're a good person to ask then: What IS the purpose of an HOA if not to control personal property rights? We don't have any around here but I have friends in Indy who have lived under such things and they have the same opinion without exception: Almost pure evil. So if it's that bad how do these things get going? Does it hinge on just a few determined busy-bodies, or a lot of naive folks?

Sindawe
November 15, 2004, 11:58 PM
I server on the Board of my HOA (condo style townhome development). Our primary job is to manage the budget so that things like landscaping, snow removal, water and the like are paid for. Additionally, we have begun working to build up the Association's reserve fund so that sufficient money is available to replace the roofs in 10-15 years, paint the buildings on a rotating schedule and do unforseen repairs to the structures when they come up.

There have been, and continue to be, some folks on the Board who feel its there job to enforce homogeneity of the development by preventing things like the homeowners putting up gargoyles (my choice :evil:) or putting a different kind of front door on their place. This is where bad HOAs get started, with control freaks who get a bit of power. We do have some rules, like window ACs only allowed from May to October, and no windows covered in aluminum foil (I did that several years ago, not to keep the mind control rays out, but keep the light out when I worked on grave shift, guess some folks found it tacky). As a Board member, I try to keep that kind of stuff from getting out of hand, and make sure the HOA actually enforces the rules it sets up, so we don't make a bunch of rules that are generally ignored, then used to bludgeon those we do not like.

So when an HOA concerns itself with running and maintaining property held in common (like improving the landscaping), this are kosher. Its when HOAs turn into petty fiefdoms with silly rules mandating the garbage cans be THIS color and not THAT color, drapes have to be lace and not sheer, that things get bad.

AZRickD
November 16, 2004, 12:12 AM
Around here, HOAs get started by the developer. In our case, Estes Homes. The developer starts the HOA before any home is bought. The purpose is to protect the investment of the developer until it can sell every last property and then high-tail it out of there.

The HOA is left, along with the by-laws which make it exceedingly difficult to change. 75% of all homeowners (we have 225 homes in our HOA) have to vote. So, if we want to change something, we have to get proxy votes for 169 people. Kind of like amending the US Consitutiton. They designed the HOA by-laws (CC&Rs) to be difficult to change.

A few years ago, a rather energized group of wives found that their husbands' 3/4-ton trucks were banned by the original CC&Rs. We had just found out about it. Turns out that when the neighborhood was built, back in 1990, there were lots of Ford F150s and Chevey C1500s but F250s and C2500 were rare. Now they had become a fashion statement.

Except... these were work trucks, carpenter, painting, plumbing, pest control, cable, etc.

Their livelihoods depended on it. They went door to door for weeks and got the necessary proxies. Ten+ people mailed me there proxies without knowing which way I would vote.

Rick

davec
November 16, 2004, 12:36 AM
No, but sometimes it does mean you can't. And when MOST of the "bill" is attorney fees which appear to be racking up almost daily(between the fifth and the 11th or 12th it appears the sum of the fees increased $300+, according to Frau) it would become increasingly difficult to handle for someone far removed from the scene.


He was stationed in GEORGIA.

While Georgia isint quite Flordia, its a far cry from the side of a moutain in middleofnowhereistan.

2nd Amendment
November 16, 2004, 12:48 AM
OK, so your HOA serves you with a $200 bill. You ignore it because you have more pressing things on your mind and figure it is something you can pick up when you get home. let's face it, this is NOT the sort of bill one would logically consider high-priority. Or perhaps, as the article clearly states, he simply forgot it, again because it isn't a high priority item. Ever forget to pay something? I have.

Next time you hear about it it's $110 dollars and an impending repo. Ever found $1200 dollars in lawyer fees added to what you forgot, with an attempt to repo your house? I haven't been there. Wouldn't bother me that much, since I can deal with that figure without much sweat. OTOH I do believe I would get a lawyer for reasons mentioned above: Overbilling and unethical practices.

So yeah, if you're determined to diss this guy I suppose you can. OTOH I'm not certain why you would be since even if we accept he should have paid it on time and was an inept clod for forgetting it/delaying it that still does not justify the overbilling, or the threat of foreclosure. At that point this goes from poor finance handling to...I'm not sure what you'd call it, other than gross stupidity on the part of the HOA.

SteelyDan
November 16, 2004, 02:37 AM
My random thoughts.

1. You just don't even consider foreclosing on a guy's home for a $200 HOA deficiency. If the thought even crosses your mind, you need to reevaluate your priorities. This may be even more true when the guy is an out-of-state reservist.

2. There is no shortage of HOAs that fall victim to the same malady that seems to infect city council members: a little bit of power makes them believe they are destined to decide the fate of others, for the benefit of the greater public good.

3. The lawyer's fees are not necessarily out of line. It may well take several hours to wade through all of the HOA documents (they're often close to an inch thick and go back years) and prepare and file the lien and whatever else is required under state law.

c_yeager
November 16, 2004, 03:18 AM
Considering the rate that the "legal fees" appear to by building up I half expect that the "vig" is going to be collect by slick-haired individuals with baseball bats. He would have been better off getting a loan for $200 from the shadiest dude he could find.

Of course the easiest solution would have been for the guy to pay his $200 HOA fee in the first place. I'm at a complete loss on why he didnt just do that.

crucible
November 16, 2004, 06:30 AM
The fact that an organization can legally force someone to lose thier $95K home for a $200 debt is rediculous and morally wrong.

Cruc

c_yeager
November 16, 2004, 07:21 AM
The fact that an organization can legally force someone to lose thier $95K home for a $200 debt is rediculous and morally wrong.

Cruc

I agree but, the counter argument is that a man who skips out an $200 that he agreed to pay is ALSO morally wrong. In fact what the soldier did was the primary act and what the HOA did was a response. Both of them are wrong but, to quote the schoolyard mantra "he started it".

Brett Bellmore
November 16, 2004, 08:10 AM
So reposess the yard gnomes, not the whole stinking house. This has the smell of a crooked scheme to it, and I suspect the crook has a law degree.

jdkelly
November 16, 2004, 08:36 AM
I agree but, the counter argument is that a man who skips out an $200 that he agreed to pay is ALSO morally wrong. In fact what the soldier did was the primary act and what the HOA did was a response. Both of them are wrong but, to quote the schoolyard mantra "he started it".---yeager
Yeah, but even in the worse school yard, hitting the kid who cut the line for the slide with a brick is over kill. So, it would appear, is a 600% Attorneys fee and the threat of losing your home, over a $200 bill. Deployment and its financial hardship aside, the punishment should fit the crime.


Respectfully,

jdkelly

hammer4nc
November 16, 2004, 08:41 AM
This story smacks of predatory practices; on the part of the HOA. They are holding all the cards in this situation, and there's no need to start foreclosure.

The collection fees appear unreasonable. Despite the fact that some folks just love it every time some "violator" get roasted;..."I pay my bills, damn straight he should pay his too or take any consequences"...in some kind of passive-agressive pique of rage, this is not the way our legal system works. Despite what some former tilecrawlers might claim.

Here's another story with more info:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bill comes, house may go while he's deployed

Bernie Haithcock says it's hard to track his homeowners fee. The neighborhood association is eyeing foreclosure.

By SHANNON COLAVECCHIO-VAN SICKLER, Times Staff Writer
Published November 12, 2004

TAMPA - Three and a half years ago, Bernie Haithcock paid nearly $100,000 for a 1,500-square-foot home in the Villages of Lake St. Charles, a Riverview community.

The Air Force reservist, an electrician at MacDill Air Force Base, fit right in. About half of the 216 families who live in the Villages come from a military background.

But soon after he settled in, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks happened. Haithcock was moved to active duty and has been deployed ever since, with his primary assignment at Robins Air Force Base, south of Macon, Ga.

Now Haithcock, 42, faces the prospect of losing his house because he failed to pay his annual $200 homeowners association fee on time.

In June, six months after the fee was due, the Villages association put a lien against Haithcock's home. Association leaders say he now owes more than $1,400 - the $200 fee, a $105 late fee and more than $1,100 in attorney costs.

If he doesn't pay up soon, association vice president Kate Cockerill said Thursday, "we will have to consider foreclosure."

Annual fees are part of owning a home in the Villages, Cockerill said, and, deployed or not, Haithcock needs to take care of his finances.

"My husband's in Iraq right now," she said. "And we've paid our dues."

Haithcock maintains that he was hundreds of miles away when the notice to pay the fee arrived in his Riverview mailbox in January. He said his mind has been on other things, including his assignment overseeing the security alarm division at Robins.

Haithcock doesn't have his mail forwarded to Georgia because his duties require him to travel to other bases frequently. His neighbors save his mail for him, and he comes home periodically to get caught up on his correspondence, he said.

"I worked hard for that house," Haithcock said Thursday from Georgia. "And there is no wife to get the mail when I'm gone. There's only me, and when I'm deployed, my mind is on the mission."

Seeking to settle the matter, he recently offered through his attorney to pay the association $616 - the annual fee plus a $100 late fee and about $300 to cover attorney costs.

"They refused," said Haithcock's attorney, Kenneth Grace of Tampa. Grace is an Air Force veteran himself. He said he usually represents homeowners associations with grievances against residents like Haithcock.

"I have dealt with these cases from the other side, and $300 is a reasonable legal fee," Grace said. "We're not going to pay unreasonable attorneys fees, which is what they're asking."

The association attorney, Elizabeth Frau of Meirose & Friscia in Tampa, was not in her office Thursday. But Cockerill said the association has tried to work with Haithcock. She notes that the association didn't put a lien on the home until June, six months after his annual fee was due.

"Our whole (homeowners association) board is from a military background," she said. "So it's not like we aren't understanding of that lifestyle."

This is the first year the association has filed liens against residents' homes, she said. And Haithcock isn't the only resident facing the specter of foreclosure.

"We're having problems with people paying their dues," Cockerill said.

The association uses the fees to maintain the community's amenities, like landscaping and recreational facilities. When residents buy into a community like the Villages, they agree to pay such fees and to adhere to rules about things such as the appearance of lawns.

If the rules aren't followed, it's within the association's power to file a lien and pursue foreclosure - even if it's over a fee as small as $200.

"I agree the HOAs need this assessment money to operate, and they need to be paid," said Grace, Haithcock's attorney. "But when I saw the bill against my client had crept up to $700, then $800, then $1,100, and now more than $1,400, I just thought it was unconscionable. I know from my own experience how being on active duty can really disrupt your life."

County records show this isn't Haithcock's first instance of financial problems related to his deployment. In October, the county water department put a lien on his home after he failed to pay a water bill. He said Thursday he has since taken care of that outstanding payment. "When I got deployed the last time there was a bill for $98, and I didn't have time to take care of it before I left," he said.

He concedes he needs to pay his bills on time, but wishes the association would be more understanding of his circumstances - and his efforts to take care of his debt.

"You don't have a man that's saying, I'm not going to pay it," he said. "And it's not like I've been sitting home watching Sunday night football, just ignoring the bills piling up. I've been defending my country."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Smoke
November 16, 2004, 08:53 AM
Get a judgement, wreck his credit, but don't foreclose over a $200 fee, even a $1400.00

And if FL is a homestead state there are still ways to take someones house, don't know about HOA's but try not paying the bank back. ;)

Smoke

c_yeager
November 16, 2004, 09:50 AM
Deployment and its financial hardship aside, the punishment should fit the crime.


Respectfully,

jdkelly

I agree with you. But, really I don't think that a deployment to GEORGIA should have made it all that difficult to pay the bills in Florida. Macon and Tampa are less than 400 miels apart. All it would have taken is a check and a 37 cent stamp to clear this up long before it got to this point. The guy is on an AF base in a state that actually shares a border with his home state. I'm sure he is serving his country well. But, he isnt exactly in a foxhole in the middle of nowhere.

AZRickD
November 16, 2004, 10:40 AM
This HOA jumped the gun. Their action is out of proportion to the debt. A co-worker was sent to Ft. Huachuca at the beginning of the war and was given a couple of days to get his stuff in order. He didn't have time to do all of it. Fortunately, he had family in the state who could look after things.

Rick

erik the bold
November 16, 2004, 01:52 PM
I believe that in this case, the attorney and the HOA are acting in a predatory manner (MOA)

If you read the copies of their minutes here: http://www.villagesoflsc.com/forms.htm , you might get that impression too. :fire:

Their rebuttal seems less than cordial as well, from their web site:
http://www.villagesoflsc.com/generalinfo.htm

BIASED MEDIA REPORTING: As many of you may have seen on the news or in the newspaper, one resident has decided to use the media in an attempt to get out of paying his dues. The Board has made numerous attempts to work with him, but to no avail. And although he is trying to make this a military issue, the Board was not even aware he was in the military until just recently (and as many of you probably already know - the Board itself has deep military ties!). The Board hopes that everyone realizes how biased the media is being & that if you have any questions, concerns, or would like more information, that you would contact a Board Member directly. Thank you.

ARperson
November 16, 2004, 07:59 PM
I personally hate HOAs, and will never willingly live in a neighborhood which has one. (Course, I don't want to live in a neighborhood period.)

I make my living in real estate. And I come across this all the time. I always get calls from clients who've just moved in and finally read the HOA documents they were supposed to have read before signing the final docs. They call me to complain about not being able to leave their garage door open during the day for longer than 30 minutes, or the DE JR fan can't replace his status quo mailbox for the RED #8 one he saw in the catalog. That part of the HOA picture is assinine and stupid, and what I consider to be an infringement on property rights.

However, in situations where individually-owned units are physically connected with other either by a wall, shared roof, etc, there has to be some organization in place to pay for the "common" things. If only HOAs could limit themselves to these and similar maintenance issues (landscaping, "green" areas, etc. the idea would work.

As far as the soldier's situation goes, nothing takes the place of good old-fashioned responsibility. If he would have taken the responsibility seriously, none of this would have happened. Do I think the HOA is right in bringing such action against him? OF course not. But as with most awful things that happen, it could all have been avoided with a little bit of care and attention.

Firethorn
November 16, 2004, 10:30 PM
As far as the soldier's situation goes, nothing takes the place of good old-fashioned responsibility. If he would have taken the responsibility seriously, none of this would have happened. Do I think the HOA is right in bringing such action against him? OF course not. But as with most awful things that happen, it could all have been avoided with a little bit of care and attention.

I agree. One of the things I counsel my troop on is financial responsability. It saves money in the long run, and avoids all sorts of problems.

However, mail gets lost, bills dissappear in the junk, mistakes happen. Generally you pay the late fees and life goes on. I think that he should of paid it, late fees and all, early on. When I deployed last time, I had all my mail forwarded to my parents. It was tough for me, and I don't even own a home.

The problem here was that they tried to make an example out of him, because "they were having troubles with payments".

jdkelly
November 17, 2004, 09:08 AM
C_yeager,

I don't think the punishment fits the crime. Whether he's in a fox hole or not, the high attorneys fees and the threat of foreclosure are not warranted for a $200 bill, at least IMO.

The HOA could put a lien on the property and collect all monies owed them, all REASONALBE attorney fees owed them and all late fees owed them, when the property sold. The HOA is not in a position to lose any money, in fact they will make more in the long run. I won't speculate as to why the HOA took this tacit, but it is over kill and predatory.


Respectfully,

jdkelly

saddenedcitizen
November 17, 2004, 04:16 PM
like 'someone' 'somewhere' is trying to get a piece of
property cheap and thinks this is an 'opportunity' !!!!

Ever see all of the infomercials about 'how to be a millionaire
by buying foreclosures' - yeah - right

The only people making money are the ones selling this
'information'. If it were THAT easy............well

Gunstar1
November 17, 2004, 04:55 PM
Ok we have a lawyer that does the same stuff and says a lein fee of $300 is about right.
Thier lawyer is charging about $1100.


Someone please tell me how putting a lein on a house costs $1,100, for a non-payment of $300?

There is also a fairly easy way to get money, get a collection agency on him, it costs nothing unless the fee is collected. The HOA would simply wait until the late fee's would equal the collection agency fee when the bill is paid, once they reach that limit, put the collection agency on them. When they pay you get the $200+ and the agency gets some of the late fee money.

That is how I run my business client's non-payment. Sounds like the HOA is being lead astray, possibly by a greedy attorney.

Wonder if that attorney's spouse is a real estate agent...

Cellar Dweller
November 23, 2004, 11:09 AM
Under the provisions of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940, you may qualify for any or all of the following:

• Reduced interest rate on mortgage payments.
• Reduced interest rate on credit card debt.
• Protection from eviction if your rent is $1,200 or less.
• Delay of all civil court actions, such as bankruptcy, foreclosure or divorce proceedings.

Service members involved in civil litigation can request a delay in proceedings if they can show their military responsibilities preclude their proper representation in court. This provision is most often invoked by service members who are on an extended deployment or stationed overseas.

The bill for the fee + late fee, OK. Possibly even the original attorney's fee (totalling the $1148.50 paid). Continuing to add attorney's fees (claiming the rise to $1400) is a crock. The HOA VP should know about S&S 1940; the HOA attorney certainly should after all that exhausting research she's billing for and allegedly doing!

No mention of what the reservist did prior to activation; perhaps he's taken a large pay cut and is juggling bills? Doesn't make him a deadbeat...This is the first year the association has filed liens against residents' homes, she said. And Haithcock isn't the only resident facing the specter of foreclosure. Oh wait, a whole community of reservist deadbeats!About half of the 216 families who live in the Villages come from a military background.

Gifted
November 25, 2004, 12:48 AM
So when his neighbor who's getting the mail for him saw the notice for the fee, he didn't call the guy immediately to let him know?

Last I knew the S&S Act only worked on stuff you did previous to service. If he bought the house after signing the dotted line, it doesn't apply. The debt part anyway. Than rental thing and stuff I don't know about.

R.H. Lee
November 25, 2004, 12:52 AM
"We will look into what we believe is the overbilling of attorney's fees and late fees, and we'll see if my client has any recourse there." Good. Hopefully, some bastiches will get disbarred.

DaleJunior
November 26, 2004, 02:56 AM
"In June, six months after the fee was due, the Villages association put a lien against Haithcock's home."

if the HOA didn't sue, this deadbeat would likely have never paid (and he shouldn't get a pass just because he's a reservist; should police officers get a pass if they break the law?).....something doesn't just "slip your mind" for six months -- that's deliberate

Art Eatman
November 26, 2004, 10:32 AM
DaleJunior, yes, it COULD have been deliberate. I differ with you as to the categorical, absolute, nature of your comment.

Bills which come in once a year tend to not be upfront in one's memory. If one is away from home, and mentally involved in a totally different world, it's quite easy for things "back home" to slide. Not correct to do, but commonplace.

As a "for instance", I just got my property-tax bill. I have until the end of February to pay without any add-on penalty. I know folks who will wait until nearly the last minute, just as a regular thing. If they were to be diverted by such things as military service or family problems in some other location, I can readily see how they could goof up. Stuff fades from memory...

Art

stevelyn
November 26, 2004, 01:42 PM
I will never understand the mentallity of willingly paying for a piece of property, paying for construction or purchasing a home on it, then paying the government for the privledge in property taxes then pay tribute to a HOA.
You couldn't convince me to buy property where my neighbors reserve the right to tell me how to live all the while extorting money from me. :rolleyes:

c_yeager
November 27, 2004, 03:41 AM
I was just talking to a friend of mine with a townhome just outside of seattle. Her dues are over $300 PER MONTH! Of course that pays for the grounds etc. but jeez I can mow my own lawn.

OzarkExpedition
November 27, 2004, 01:21 PM
Has anyone heard if this matter is settled yet? You would think that if the HOA is now aware of this persons circumstances and having the majority of this bill paid that they would just end the matter. IF they do persue this matter further to collect a few hundred more dollars we will all know that this was predatory in nature.

I would like to know if it is settled or not. If it isnt, his HOA needs some fine tuning.

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