Lawsuit: HOA Guards Threatened Tenants With Tasers, Stole Naked Pictures Over Foreclosure Miscommunication

Renters of a California condo say they got a rude awakening when a group of guards hired by their homeowners association allegedly used Taser guns to evict them from a house they didn’t know had been foreclosed on.

According to the lawsuit filed this week in the Superior Court of California in Sacramento, the guards entered the building without permission around 3 a.m. and began a “military style raid of plaintiffs’ residence.”

One officer allegedly told the tenants who were present at the time that the building was supposed to be vacant and that everyone in the condo would be charged with burglary and trespassing. The guards said they had been told by the HOA that the people in the building were squatters.

The tenants were all taken outside while guards remained in the building. When one man asked to use the toilet, he was allowed back inside, where he claims to have seen two guards “going through their cabinets and personal property.”

After they were able to show that one of the men had a signed lease agreement with the woman who had owned the building pre-foreclosure, the men were released and one of the guards is alleged to have said, “between you, me and the lamppost, the homeowners association is over-zealous.”

Reads the complaint:

During this approximate two-hour ordeal, the armed men threatened arrest and incarceration, menaced the plaintiffs with weapons, engaged in intimidation, positioning themselves immediately in front of and/or behind the plaintiffs, glaring at them menacingly and invading the plaintiffs’ space.

When the tenants returned to their home, they say that all their personal belongings had been rummaged through. One tenant claims that photos featuring his and his girlfriend naked had been removed from the house.

What these men didn’t know is that, following the foreclosure, the bank had filed an unlawful detainer action against the tenants in order to evict them. It had never been served to anyone in the condo, so they were never given the chance to challenge the action in court.

The tenants have sued the guards and the HOA, seeking damages for trespass, extortion, assault and battery, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, conversion and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The Foreclosure From Hell [CourthouseNews.com]

Comments

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  1. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    I’m gonna have to see those naked pictures. Cough ‘em up.

  2. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I say all HOAs should be charged…with a taser.

  3. usernameandp says:

    wow. just wow…

  4. MrObvious says:

    Wow, those guards are lucky no one shot at them.

    • Vermont2US says:

      Sounds like an ideal use of the “Stand Your Ground” law.

      • dosdelon says:

        Stand your ground only applied to when you are outside of your home. Most states already have laws that state that you have no duty to retreat when inside your own home. This is especially true in some states like Texas, which have passed castle doctrines. But yeah, those guards were lucky that no one had a gun, especially since they chose to enter at 3:00 am.

        • Nuc says:

          But is it really their home? Isn’t that what started this in the first place?

          • INDBRD says:

            They live there, have a valid lease… it doesn’t matter if their name is on the deed…

          • Doubting thomas says:

            It is their legal residence. They had a legal contract (lease) to live there. The HOA thugs, and the guards they hired did not due their own due diligence and assumed that they were squatters. I do not know of any state that would prosecute you for shooting at someone who burst into your home at 3:00am and brandished a weapon at you. You do not have to won the property to be able to defend yourself in it.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        More like Castle Doctrine. And I’m sure that had a tenant shot one of these guys, he could have easily argued that he was in fear for his life.

        • maxamus2 says:

          But the “tenants” were trespassing, so if they had shot they would be treated as a criminal.

          • Bill610 says:

            Clearly you didn’t read, or didn’t understand the article. The tenants were the legitimate renters of the property, and the bank had mishandled the matter.The “guards”, not the tenants, were the trespassers.

      • kathygnome says:

        Yeah, that would have solved everything. The hired thugs could have shot everyone dead and just stood their ground!

        • ThumpinD says:

          Well, when random thugs show up at your house at 3am, you just do what the angry men tell you to do and hope for the best.

    • shufflemoomin says:

      What did anyone do here that justifies the use of firearms? There’s a reason why the rest of the World hates you America, it seems like some of you are just trying to encourage it.

      • hmburgers says:

        Multiple mean breaking into my home in the middle of night? That’s just cause for use of a firearm.

        That is NOT what is wrong with America. Being OK with the fact that you just become a lump of flesh and comply with your attackers is what is wrong with you.

        We’re not talking about firing willy nilly at these guys… but just simply “hey, you’re not in complete charge here. I have just as much power over this situation as you do. We can kill each other, or we can wait for the cops, you decide”

        • Black Bellamy says:

          Most of the people that live on our planet love America. So in essence it’s just you, your tight clique of like-minded friends, and the elites that run your current regime du jour.

      • flip says:

        Are you jealous because American’s can actually read and comprehend an article?

        “the guards entered the building without permission around 3 a.m. and began a “military style raid of plaintiffs’ residence.”

      • Jawaka says:

        Where in the story did it say that anyone used firearms?

      • ThumpinD says:

        I’d say having my home invaded at 3am by security guard in a para-military style raid justifies my use of a weapon to defend myself and my home. These weren’t police acting in an official capacity. This was a gang of thugs acting illegally.

      • mcgyver210 says:

        I know I would have defended my self against an invasion. If the renters had shot all involved it & I was on a jury my verdict would be Self defense/Not Guilty.

  5. Geekybiker says:

    I hope they win massive damages against both the bank and the HOA.

    • Sham03 says:

      Agreed!

    • Jawaka says:

      Personally I blame the bank in this situation and not the HOA since it was the bank who filed the unlawful detainer. If the people in the home were really there illegally and squatting then the action may have been warranted.

  6. dragonfire81 says:

    I think I’ll make a horror movie about a really evil and sadistic HOA.

    Tagline: Hell comes Home

  7. history_theatrestudent says:

    Why just damages, these guards should be brought up on criminal charges. This is also the problem with HOAs. While people do sign the contracts willingly, the HOAs function as a de facto government. Their authorization and means of authority need to be transferred out of contract law, and under the various clauses of most state constitutions that allow the establishments of towns. This will provide greater governmental accountability expected of HOAs, especially when it comes to constitutional actions.

    • FearTheCowboy says:

      I have this exact same opinion.

      As a matter of fact, I keep waiting for someone to sue an HOA over Free Speech rights over a flag, claiming that the HOA is acting as a level of government (they tax, they are elected, they pass laws…)

      That’d end the HOA’s unreasonable crap pretty quick.

      • discipleprodigy says:

        That can’t happen because they sign a contact. Once you sign that contract, all your legal defense is gone.

    • jerry101 says:

      Yeah, why aren’t there criminal charges here? Isn’t it the job of the local Sheriff to carry out evictions? Since when does an HOA have law enforcement powers? Seems to me the guards should be charged with something akin to impersonating a peace officer at minimum. Probably assault and perhaps battery. Not to mention burglary and home invasion.

  8. Snape says:

    That lampost should do an AMA on reddit.

  9. MutantMonkey says:

    This keep up and someone is going to get shot.

    Living in Charlotte I hear people bitching about the crazy shit HOA’s pull all the time.

    My best friend and his wife just moved into a nice neighborhood in a nearby town and the “Welcoming Comity” woman stopped by to warn them that there are cameras at the pool to catch people stealing chairs.

    • Difdi says:

      I’m wondering if that woman knew that from prior experience…

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      where in charlotte do you live?
      i’m down in the south Charlotte area (Aaboretum area) and HOAs around here seem pretty lax. Never had any issues.

      • MutantMonkey says:

        They were over in Ravecrest on Rea. Now they are in a neighborhood in Mathews just off the Idlewild exit where this happened.

        I only mention Ravencrest as the HOA there was pretty crazy as well.

  10. Vermont2US says:

    Hmmm, sounds like it’s time to enact a “Stand Your Ground” law in California.

    • MurderGirl says:

      Already there, PC 198.5

      198.5. Any person using force intended or likely to cause death or
      great bodily injury within his or her residence shall be presumed to
      have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great
      bodily injury to self, family, or a member of the household when that
      force is used against another person, not a member of the family or
      household, who unlawfully and forcibly enters or has unlawfully and
      forcibly entered the residence and the person using the force knew or
      had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry occurred.
      As used in this section, great bodily injury means a significant
      or substantial physical injury.

  11. Daniel Svoboda says:

    I hope the HOA gets sued back into the Stone Age. And yes, I know that phrase is normally used in conjuction with nuclear weapons. I meant it that way. This is reprehensible.

  12. winstonthorne says:

    Yep, HOA’s are great. They’ll DNA test the dog poop in your flowerbed while simultaneously issuing a lien on your property for the unauthorized garden. Then, they’ll send rent-a-cops with tasers to rummage through your stuff in the dead of night. And all this can be yours if you move into a tacky suburban hellhole and agree to pay rent on top of your mortgage.

    • RockerGal says:

      you forgot to mention that you get the privilege of not being allowed to do anything to your own home without approval of the HOA

      • Difdi says:

        Even if the HOA’s refusal of permission causes you to be in violation of actual law.

    • dolemite says:

      Don’t forget they can tell you what car to drive (like the guy that spent $200,000 defending his right to park his own pickup truck in his own driveway against a HOA).

  13. speaky2k says:

    My question on this is where were the real police while this was happening? If someone come barging into my house at 3am, the first thing that would happen on both cell phone & land line is a call to 911.

    • polishhillbilly says:

      You call the police after you shoot the intruders. Somebody has to do the paperwork.

      • Difdi says:

        And if they were off-duty cops moonlighting as private security guards, it simply wouldn’t matter if they were enforcing an illegal order or committing crimes when they were shot in self-defense.

        Assaulting an officer is a crime, you know.

        • Theoncomingstorm says:

          Assaulting an officer while on duty is a crime, when they are off duty they have the same protections as the rest of us.

          • sagodjur says:

            Unless the investigating officers and prosecuting attorney in that jurisdiction decide to unofficially take care of their own by drumming up and pushing through charges on you simply because they have the ability to do so.

    • Bsamm09 says:

      First thing that happens to anyone who bursts through my door at 3:00 a.m. is a few shotgun blasts to the midsection.

    • oldwiz65 says:

      The local police will say the raid is fully justified and they will not do anything. The “security people” are probably off-duty cops making some extra money.

      The renters are lucky they were not shot.

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      Hah! If someone barges into my property at 3:00AM, they’re going to find themselves on the business end of a very large and sharp kama I keep by the bed, fur just such occasions.

      1) Defend self with weapons
      2) Call cops, while saying as little as possible
      3) Call for lawyer

  14. sir_eccles says:

    I’m not sure a private security guard can charge you with anything. The police would have to be there for that to happen wouldn’t they?

  15. axolotl says:

    “…one of the guards is alleged to have said, “between you, me and the lamppost, the homeowners association is over-zealous.”

    Those damn lampposts are such gossips.

  16. amuro98 says:

    So….why aren’t criminal charges being pressed against the bank, the HOA and the guards?

    Since when does the HOA have the right to order security guards to go charging into someone’s house to forcibly evict people? Even cops need a warrant for that, don’t they?

    And at 3am? What the heck were the HOA/guards thinking? What would have happened if the occupants shot the guards? It would have be an understandable case of self defense.

    Even under the BEST of circumstances, evictions can go horribly, horribly wrong. Just the other week, a sheriff was serving a legal eviction notice to a tenant, who opened fire killing both the sheriff and the property owner. The tenant then barricaded himself in the apartment, and eventually set fire to the building before being shot by the SWAT team so the fire department could safely put out the fire.

    • vastrightwing says:

      So I guess the homeowner paid the $20 fire service fee that year.

    • Difdi says:

      It’s illegal in every state for a private citizen or non-governmental organization to maintain an armed body of troops.

      By even the strictest definition, a group that is capable of forcing people out of their homes with weapons is such an armed body.

      How on Earth is this purely a civil matter? Where are those zealous prosecutors who are eager to find ANY crime to charge someone with, no matter how far-fetched?

  17. bread angel says:

    HOA’s are notorious for being evil. They are composed of people who never had any power in their life and now are getting drunk with power. I was part of a successful lawsuit by homeowners against the HOA and could relate many stories about absolute fraud, abuse of fiduciary duty and rampant favoritism. There certainly is a new circle in hell for these people.

  18. KristoferB says:

    HOA’s?! My local government is just as bad, actually worse because they have the police force behind them. They recently changed the ordinances or codes and I just got a certified letter that I need to paint the trim on my windows within 30 days or go to jail for 30 days and face $1,000 fine. The kicker is that for everyday past the 30 days mark it’s an additional $1,000 fine and an additional 30 days in jail PER DAY! I mean seriously here, jail time for not painting the trim on my windows?!? There’s something wrong there when they’ve got drug dealers and everything else to worry about. My mailman said he’s delivered hundreds of them in the past few weeks…

    • tcm147 says:

      WOW where are you?

    • Difdi says:

      Better paint that trim BEFORE they send you to jail, or you’d never breathe free air again…

      Fail to paint, go to jail for 30 days…get out of jail, and immediately be arrested for failing to paint for the past 30 days, go to jail for 900 days…get out of jail, get arrested for not painting, go to jail for 27,000 days, etc…

      One would hope there would be some sort of sanity check, but we are talking about a government here, after all.

    • Negentropy says:

      Paint them fluorescent purple with orange stripes… or Mardi gras colors. Or paint your choice of wording…

  19. GenXCub says:

    Unlawful Detainers are tricky things. When I used to serve legal documents on people in California (Bonded process server), the unlawful detainer didn’t necessarily have to be served directly to the tenants if I could declare the building vacant (since I was never given keys, I could only use what I could see from the street, it was legally gray about me opening gates, etc). After 3 visits (door knock, etc) if no one answered, and I couldn’t determine if it was occupied, I could turn a report into the judge who would validate the UD.

    So the experience detailed in this isn’t illegal, but most of it is a gray area, at least in California. If the condo was blatantly occupied (able to see fully furnished condo and pets), then they might have something actionable on the part of the bank or process server.

    • mcgyver210 says:

      Doesn’t matter if anyone busted in on me at 3 am I would have been in Fear of my life & they or I would be dead.

  20. oldwiz65 says:

    The guards were probably police officers who were moonlighting as paid thugs, and their union will prevent them from being prosecuted. The HOA is just doing what most of them do – go crazy with power.

  21. oldwiz65 says:

    Why didn’t they call the police during the ordeal? Surely the police should have responded.

    • Difdi says:

      All too often, when a citizen is victimized by a corporation, the police declare it a civil matter not a criminal matter and refuse to investigate it.

      Even if it absolutely would be a criminal matter if one citizen did it to another citizen, or a citizen did it to a corporation.

      Protect and serve? Certainly. But you and I are not their employers.

      • Chris W. says:

        I guarantee that they’ll show up when someone calls them and states armed men that aren’t law enforcement have invaded their home, are holding them hostage, and are rifling through thier house.

        And nothing of that call would be inaccurate or dishonest.

  22. dadelus says:

    My last HOA was a nightmare (so bad the state passed laws because of how badly they mismanaged things) My current one is great. They have very few rules and only enforce the ones they do have if people get WAAAAAAAY out of line.

    We’ll see how that holds up over the years but so far most of my neighbors seem to be reasonable folks who can settle their differences like adults rather than going crying to the nearest authority figure when they have an issue with something.

  23. kevinroyalty says:

    Castle Doctrine for the win!

  24. SilverBlade2k says:

    Yep, I hope that a big smoking crater resides where the main offices used to be. Sue them into oblivion.

  25. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Don’t tase me Ho….meowner’s Association!

  26. ThatCatGuy says:

    If they broke into my house like that they’d be wearing hollow points.
    Just sayin’…..

  27. Almighty Peanut says:

    Wow! If these “Guards” broke in to my condo and started screaming at me with a tazer pointed at me, they’d get my .45 pointed right back asking them to leave and have my wife call the police.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Think that one through. They already have a taser pointed at you. If they have have a brain you will be tased while attempting to draw your .45… If you do draw it they would almost certainly tase you before you can ask them to leave.

      You must make some split second decisions. Choice one, try to be much faster, draw, shoot. Choice two, wait to see if they lower their guard, and use a well timed execution of choice one. Choice three, realize the gun didn’t protect you because you didn’t have an alarm or dog to alert you first. Hope the police can sort it out. I don’t believe any of these choices leave asking them to leave as a valid option.

  28. SoCalGNX says:

    Even in an unlawful detainer, tenants have to be served proper notice.

  29. scoosdad says:

    I love reading stories like this because I live in a condo and there’s a homeowner’s association, but the best part is that it’s only me and my next door neighbor.

    My house was supposed to be part of a big condo development, but somewhere along the line the original developer went bankrupt and all the two family condos were all sold off as individual duplexes, but the condo structure and the HOA stipulations were left intact in the individual deeds. So there technically is an individual HOA overseeing each duplex and the two owners are the sole members and board of directors of its own HOA.

    So to all the wierd and restrictive HOA rules and regulations in my deed, I give a big middle finger every time I or my next door neighbor break one. And you know what, the houses on my street are all just fine and no one has destroyed the neighborhood because there isn’t a big bad HOA overseeing all these houses.

  30. AldisCabango says:

    There is a case in Florida where an HOA evicted renters then placed their own renters in the home. The homeowners is suing, and teh case will be heard on Wednesday.

  31. u1itn0w2day says:

    Raided by condo commandos. Is there any other outcome?…

  32. MrEvil says:

    Those Rent-a-cops are lucky it wasn’t my rental. I keep my handgun on my nightstand loaded with 1 in the chamber. I usually don’t expect company at my place at 3AM.