Homeowners: From $150 HOA fee to foreclosure

Article Courtesy of Channel 10 News -- Tampa Bay

By Kendra Conlon

Published July 19, 2016


Hillsborough County homeowners are battling their HOA in a foreclosure fight, but one missed payment could cost the family their home.

“Because of $150, we're going to lose a $300,000 home,” says homeowner Tina Lopez.

The Riverview family is taking on the Rivercrest Community Association, who just sold the home at auction. The Lopez family claims they didn’t have any warning. Now, the HOA fight could leave the family homeless.

“This is our life. This is our family,” says Tina Lopez.

The Lopez family has called their Rivercrest neighborhood home since 2005, when they bought if for around $270,000.

The HOA put a foreclosure lien on the house and recently sold it at auction for $19,000. The family's cut: $14,000.

“You have a company that comes in and says let's just take your house away. It's not right. There's no compassion. It’s not morally right,” says Tina Lopez.

Tina and Luis Lopez say they've been paying their annual dues, but say they didn't get a notice that the HOA was missing the 2009 payment for four years. In that time, $150 turned into $750 then $3,000 in fees. They agreed to a payment plan with HOA lawyers Bush Ross.

“Because of $150, we're going to lose a $300,000 home,” says homeowner Tina Lopez, with her husband, Luis.

“They're heartless, no compassion, they're greedy,” says Tina Lopez.

Records show Bush Ross landed in a class-action suit accused of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Lopez family got $300 from the settlement and thought they no longer owed the past dues, so they stopped paying. They now know, that was a mistake. The home went back into foreclosure. But the Lopez family says they got no notice that it was headed for the auction block.

“They just call you up and say, ‘Oh by the way, your house was sold today.’ I mean come on,” says Tina Lopez.

The family of four can stay in the home while they fight it in court, but is hoping for a miracle. “To try to take my house that we worked so hard to keep a roof over for them and have something nice, it's just so wrong,” says Luis Lopez.

The Lopez family will make a plea to a Hillsborough County judge on Aug. 31.

10News WTSP called Bush Ross without a response and emailed the HOA.

The Clerk's Office tells 10News that court documents from April gave the family a month to pay their then-$4,300 balance or the home would be auctioned.