By Elsa Maxey
In a neighborhood comprised mostly of upscale custom homes in Sugar Land, at least one resident in the Commonwealth subdivision wondered why his neighbor’s house was on the auction block this week for a $2,780.92 judgment due to the home owners association (HOA). “To me this means someone is losing their home for not paying their homeowners association dues,” said the concerned neighbor. He said he could understand there being a lien against the property, “but not an out and out sale.” The property still listed on the Fort Bend County Precinct 4 Constable Property Sales on Monday cited the judgment amount and the auction date for this Tuesday. The appraisal district records show the Newmark built home is the owners’ homestead purchased from the builder in 2006, and currently valued at $313,330.
Crest Management of Houston manages the HOA, Commonwealth Civic Association, Inc., and Crest Management’s assistant manager Fannie Molina could not supply any answers about what was going on other than to refer inquiries to the association’s lawyers. Richard Bartley, the HOA management company’s attorney, told the “Star” on Monday that the auction sale was “cancelled…no further comment, the sale has been cancelled and there is no further comment.” Further inquiry to the management company led nowhere.
The property in question on 76 Bradford Circle is believed to be in pre-foreclosure, according to information from a website, which could mean the homeowner is in default of or has missed mortgage payments. That could also mean there is still an opportunity to make a deal with the homeowner and the loan mortgage holder, which is what may have occurred coupled with what is known. The HOA was due fees and it was out to collect them. There was even a court judgment rendered. Any more information from there on would be mere speculation.
State legislative bills for HOA laws this year called for key reforms, and there’s a measure to take effect January 2012 relating to payment and collection of assessments and other charges owed to a property owners’ association and foreclosure of a property owners’ association assessment lien. It requires reasonable guidelines be established for a payment plan and that they be filed in the county records. It also specifies that the payment plan be a minimum term of at least three months while limiting a maximum term of 18 months at the option of an HOA. It also grants the HOA latitude to deny a payment plan to anyone who has defaulted on a payment plan within the previous two years of a request.
It was reportedly argued that the progress made in relation to HOAs by the legislature was for reining in the absolute power of HOAs, referred to as mini governments. This is precisely what the neighbor of the Commonwealth property was concerned about, when he was appalled over the idea of an outright home sale to satisfy a small judgment.
Although what caused the auction of the Commonwealth home to be lifted from this week’s property sale may not be fully known due to privacy issues, one thing is for sure, the home did not sell for less than $3,000 this Tuesday at a county auction.