Can home owners associations really take your home away from you?

The American dream could be short lived if you're not up to code with your HOA.

The American dream can quickly turn into an American nightmare.

Home owners associations serve the purpose of managing and maintaining the common interest portions of a community. Duties include maintaining landscaping and roads, color consistency on houses, and other things such as community pools, security, and more.  It's also the HOA that can take your home away from you.

"A lot of people say they can't take my home I have a mortgage, the mortgage company would never let the HOA take my home from me, but the reality is, the HOA does have the power to take your home away, even if you have mortgage," said Jon Dessaules, Attorney with The Dessaules Law Group.

Maybe you've received the warnings to put your trash bins away, or to take down holiday decorations. Those are not the reasons why HOAs are taking people's homes away.

"If you fall behind in your assessments either in the amount of $1,200 or one year, whichever comes first, the HOA has the power to initiate a lawsuit against you and take your home," said Dessaules.

A scary reality especially for those who might fall on hard times and simply can't afford the assessment, but there are ways to challenge the foreclosures and possibly save your home.

"It is possible, but a lot of things have to go in your favor and if there are assessments, you will have to come current on those," said Dessaules.

And if you do lose your home, the big question is, how can you get it back?

"After the Sheriff's sale, you usually have six months to redeem it, buy it back, but redemption is difficult and expensive. They don't make it easy for you. There's no road map that says congratulations you've been foreclosed, here's your next step if you want to keep your home," said Dessaules.

The Dessaules Law Group has been working with numerous people going through this issue.

"We are here to help," said Dessaules.

The big takeaway is, HOA assessments are a very important bill and if you put them on the back burner, you will face serious consequences. 

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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