Homeowners associations, the enforcers of neighborhood paint colors, holiday decorations and trash bins, are leading the latest surge in Phoenix-area foreclosures.
HOAs are foreclosing on a record number of homeowners for as little as $1,200 in missed
maintenance payments, according to an Arizona Republic investigation. And homeowners who thought only their mortgage lender could seize property are losing their houses at sheriff’s auctions, sometimes for just $100 more than they owe.
“It’s become a huge issue,” Arizona Real Estate Commissioner Judy Lowe said. “Most homeowners don’t understand the foreclosure process and don’t know their HOA can foreclose.”
Arizona allows an HOA to foreclose after a year of missed payments or a debt of $1,200. But when HOAs add legal fees and interest to late payments, the debt can more than quadruple in a year.
Some homeowners fighting desperately to keep their homes find HOA balances often don’t match amounts listed in court filings, making it difficult to learn how much they really owe — and impossible to catch up. Read more: