and Video Courtesy of Jacksonville Channel 12
November 30, 2011
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- We'd
like to show you the inside of this Jacksonville Beach house, but we
"One day I had a gentleman show up to the door
and said I own this house," said Neil Samuels.
Samuels owned the house but last week he was evicted
after he lost his home to unpaid homeowner assessment fees.
"They never served us, send us anything,"
According to court documents, Samuels owed three
years of fees, $260 a year.
The documents reveal one of those three years
was paid, but a final judgment also shows it was too late.
In October, Samuels home was sold to an investment
company. The Mark Stopa Law firm,
representing the investors, apologized
by letter but told Samuels he had to move out.
"My first reaction was are you sure you have
the right house," said Samuels.
Jacksonville Attorney Chip Parker is a mortgage
foreclosure specialist. He reviewed the court records in Samuels case.
"According to the court records someone at that
house was served back in January 2010," said Parker.
Parker said homeowners need to realize that their
Homeowners Association, HOA, may have the ability to foreclose for failure
to pay assessment fees.
"The HOA has a superior lien to even the first
mortgage company so when the first mortgage company forecloses they have
to pay the HOA unpaid assessments," he said.
Parker says the HOA is fulfilling its obligations.
"You have to look at it from the standpoint of
the HOA, this is money used to take care of the common areas," said
Samuels still finds it hard to believe he has lost
the home over less than one thousand dollars in fees.
"I can't believe it is happening," said
Kingdom Management manages the Riptide Homeowners
Association where Samuels lived.
Sherrie Jarnu said this has been an 'open item' for
many meetings. She added, "We have given them years to pay" and
Bob Tankel, Attorney for the HOA, said, "This
is an issue of crisis proportions, primarily due to ignorance by
Tankel added,"On Friday we have 32 sales set
around the state, mostly along the I-4 corridor."
"I don't think we had 32 sales in my first 27
years of practice, and the trend seems to be accelerating. It is
scary," he added.