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Homeowner attorney raises concerns over increase in HOA foreclos - Arizona's Family Homeowner attorney raises concerns over increase in HOA foreclosures Dina Reimer is like a lot of Valley homeowners living in an HOA community. She knows she can be cited for faded paint, or not keeping the front yard clean, but the Phoenix mom had no idea her HOA could foreclose on her house, if she falls behind on her monthly dues. "That definitely seems extreme," said Reimer. "I didn't even know about that. I wasn't aware. As far as I'm concerned, it says if you're two weeks late you owe 15 more dollars." Attorney Jonathan Dessaules represents several clients on the verge of losing their homes. He said the number of HOA foreclosures is on the rise, with many homeowners having no idea it was even possible. "Once the HOA starts the foreclosure process it is a train going 90 mph," said Dessaules. "The only way it can stop is if a homeowner accurately guesses how much a court will award in attorney fees." According to an Arizona Republic investigation, HOAs have begun foreclosure procedures with more than 3,000 homeowners since 2015. Arizona law allows an HOA to foreclose after a year of missed payments, or if dues and fees reach $1,200. Dessaules said the biggest problem is how quickly the amount of money a homeowner owes can multiply, to the point where saving your own house can cost tens of thousands of dollars. "If you're looking at a couple thousand dollars in assessments," said Dessaules, "it comes with baggage in the form of thousands of dollars in attorney's fees, and fee collection fees of various labels and kinds, and that adds up." Dessaules would like to see state lawmakers change existing HOA laws, so that late fees and attorney's fees are not included in any foreclosure proceeding, making it easier for homeowners to balance their accounts and keep their property. HOA management companies have argued that the foreclosure process is a last resort, and the threat of foreclosure is often the only leverage they have to convince homeowners to pay thousands of dollars in delinquent debt.
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