HOA Forecloses on Jacksonville Beach Home For Unpaid Dues

Article and Video Courtesy of  Jacksonville Channel 12

By Ken Amaro

Published November 30, 2011

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- We'd like to show you the inside of this Jacksonville Beach house, but we can't.

"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," he said.

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 Parker.

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 Samuels.

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 they didn't.

Bob Tankel, Attorney for the HOA, said, "This is an issue of crisis proportions, primarily due to ignorance by owners."

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.