Trenita Rogers thought she was joking when the caller asked when she was moving.
She’s owned a house in Pitt County for 12 years and has paid it off.
“I said, ‘I don’t know anything about it.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I bought your house at a rocking bid, so I need to know when you’re moving.’ rice field.
She soon realized he wasn’t lying. In county court, she found papers showing her home, valued at $413,000, was sold for her just over $221,000.
The sale took place after the property was foreclosed on. What Rogers said also happened without her knowing.
It all stemmed from a $1,491 debt to the HOA that Rogers didn’t know he was a part of.
“I’ve been there for 12 years. I’ve never paid an HOA. I’ve never been invited to an HOA,” Rogers said.
The liability was cumulative for 10 years of annual HOA dues.
Rogers said he would have paid the debt had he known. According to court records, the HOA had previously seized Rogers’ property for nonpayment of dues. 2013 and he has a mortgage on the property in 2017. Both are his unpaid HOA dues. Rogers, she claimed, was unaware of these things.
This summer, Rogers finally received an eviction notice. has left her “forever” home and is living with her friend.
“My life has become an open book,” Rogers said. But now she’s working to reverse her final chapter.
Rogers hired Jim White, a Chapel Hill-based attorney, to fight to get his home back.
“I told my daughter, ‘This is wrong and my mother is going to fight for this.
White said Rogers received a letter from the law firm that she thought was junk mail and that the law required further notice.
“HOA never served her legal papers. They just didn’t do it, and it’s fatal,” White said.
White explained that the foreclosure hearing papers were sent by certified mail, but instead of getting Rogers’ signature, the postman simply wrote C-19 for COVID-19 instead of signing. This practice was used to limit carriers’ exposure to the virus during the height of the pandemic. Rogers claimed to have never seen the letter from the postman.
“The law says you have to serve someone. “The idea that someone can be $1,400 in debt and casually move forward in someone’s home is wrong for me without turning heaven and earth to make sure they know. It seems so.”
The lawsuit, filed by White on behalf of Rogers, states that someone at the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office twice tried to deliver notices of an in-person hearing last September, but was “unsuccessful.” .
Rogers’ HOA (Irish Creek Section 2 Owners Association) declined to comment on the matter, citing pending litigation.
A lawyer representing the seller who bought Rogers’ home said that while Rogers did not sign any formal papers, the C-19’s signature did not mean she did not see them. The attorney also said his client purchased the home through a competitive bidding process and lost access to the home.
Rogers has a court date next month and wants to reverse the sale and foreclosure due to lack of notice received.
Unfortunately, White said he continues to hear stories similar to those of Rogers from clients.
He has seen unions foreclose on wholly owned homes and charge $250 in unpaid bills. In other instances, HOAs were billing to the wrong address, resulting in late fees and resulting in foreclosures.
“We’ve been through the situation of so many people. They were neighbors, they knew where they lived. Someone could have knocked on the door. Someone We could have called, but they didn’t,” White said.
White said the law surrounding notice is a big area where small legislative changes can make a difference.
“I think the problem is that there really isn’t anything like a HOA foreclosure defense in North Carolina. Sometimes the law leans heavily toward the Homeowners Association,” White said. .
He explained that the HOA has as much power as a bank in foreclosure.
Many people imagine HOA boards as a group of troublesome neighbors, but they are often run by national management companies that have nothing really to do with real estate.
“The law was enacted to protect homeowners associations, not homeowners. The laws make it easier for homeowners association lobbyists and lawyers to do what they need to do Written for” North Carolina Center for Justice. “Consumer protection is not strong.”
It can also become increasingly difficult for homeowners to find attorneys to represent them if their HOA issues don’t exceed a sufficient amount.
Pickler also said there is a lack of resources and education for those facing housing problems.
“Your home is very important to you…and it’s your greatest asset, but unfortunately if someone is trying to take your home away from you, it’s a civil matter, not a crime,” Pickler said. “So if you don’t have money to pay a lawyer, you’re in a hurry to get help.”
White advised residents who knew there was an HOA dues and, if they knew they were late, to get involved to avoid foreclosure altogether.
But White said there are things lawmakers can do to make the process more difficult.
“I think the process should be harder. We need strict notification requirements and strict proof of notification,” White said.
“The law says the HOA has this right, and the question is what can it legally do and what is ethically right,” White said. It’s not right, it’s really simple.”
Advice for homeowners with HOA:
- Keep your HOA payments and fines up to date.
- White is said to be involved on the HOA board. He said he would vote, participate, and even run for office.
- Take notes when interacting with HOA
- Before you buy into your neighborhood, decide if you want to participate in a region with an HOA.
- Before purchasing a home, read the bylaws of the HOA you are purchasing.
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