and Video Courtesy of
By Mike Holfeld
November 2, 2009
Fla. -- A Central Florida woman was nearly forced out of
her house by her homeowners association after she fell behind in
paying her dues.
Nicoll is a widow and mother of three who lives in the
Springs of Suntree subdivision in Brevard County.
Sends Threatening Letter
her homeowners association recently sent her a letter that stated the
association "intends to foreclose" if the amount she owes isn't
paid in full within 45 days.
whose mortgage is current, contacted Local 6 News for help.
had no idea that someone else could put me and my children out of our home
just for nonpayment of dues," she said.
6 News reporter Mike Holfeld began investigating and found
that a new trend for the HOAs is to file liens and
foreclosure notices on homeowners who fall behind in
payment of their dues.
said that homeowners should not feel intimidated, saying
that residents can negotiate.
would have just been out on the street with my three kids.
I was just real terrified. I wasn't sure what to do,"
said Nicoll, whose husband,
died of brain cancer in 1998. "I put down about half the price of the
home when I first moved in here just trying to make a safe place for my
children to be."
husband's survivor benefits allowed her to keep her family going and move
to Brevard County. She said she started missing dues payments last year
when she got sick.
did not want her to lose her house, and we would have taken payments
however she wanted to do it," said Paul Sacco, the former president
of the HOA.
admitted that the letter sent to Nicoll is a scare tactic, but he said the
board voted to have an attorney send it because Nicoll owed $375 plus
fines totaling more than $1,200.
think it's heartless," said Orlando attorney Barbara
Stage, who agreed to help Nicoll.
reaction to all this is, 'Yeah, you have a legal right to
do it, but should you do it? Is it ethical?'"
board member of the HOA told Holfeld that the board will
do whatever it takes to ensure payment is made so the HOA
an HOA goes through with a foreclosure, it
the money it is owed when the house is sold and the homeowner gets the
homeowners advocacy group called "Cyber Citizens for Justice"
provided Nicoll with the money to pay her overdue fees.