Be careful what you sign when you buy that new home — because you might be agreeing to allow the home owners association foreclose on and auction off your house if you don’t pay your dues.
That’s what’s going on in San Antonio, TX, where a HOA is having a showdown with the homeowners.
In a rare move, a South Side homeowners association has filed to foreclose on 84 homes in the Mission Creek community because of unpaid association dues.
That’s 21 percent of the roughly 400 homes in the community, based on data from RexReport.com. The 84 are set to go on the auction block April 7 at the Bexar County Courthouse – an event that would devastate the neighborhood’s property values, experts say.
Judith Gray, an attorney hired as the auction trustee, said the association is foreclosing because many homeowners have not paid dues for several years, and the multiyear loss of those dues is making it difficult for the association to function and to provide services required by the city.
“We’ve got a lot of stubborn people who believe they do not have to pay homeowners dues,” Gray said. “They have on average not paid homeowners dues for two to three years.”
The homeowners who are refusing to pay say that the association isn’t delivering on a promised park — and is using the money only to maintain the “front area where they sell those homes.”
Some homeowners say that the non-payment was due to a misunderstanding, and were surprised to learn that their house was going to be auctioned off…
Adam Chavarria says his unpaid dues were the result of poor communication from the association as to his payment due date.
Chavarria, who bought his home in July 2004, said the association had sent a bill and coupon book in previous years to help in payments, but not last year.
“I didn’t have a problem paying,” he said.
Chavarria says his next personalized written communication from the association was a “formal notice” of default telling him to pay $267.58, including $100 in legal fees, or have his home auctioned off between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. April 7.
“That was kind of a shock. For a couple hundred dollars, I thought that was a bit much,” Chavarria said.
He paid the fees.