Homeowner attorney raises concerns over increase in HOA foreclosures

Posted: Updated:
A lawyer said  the number of HOA foreclosures is on the rise, with many homeowners having no idea it was even possible. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A lawyer said  the number of HOA foreclosures is on the rise, with many homeowners having no idea it was even possible. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Attorney Jonathan Dessaules represents several clients on the verge of losing their homes. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Attorney Jonathan Dessaules represents several clients on the verge of losing their homes. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Dina Reimer didn't know an HOA could foreclose on her house. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Dina Reimer didn't know an HOA could foreclose on her house. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Arizona law allows an HOA to foreclose after a year of missed payments, or if dues and fees reach $1,200. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Arizona law allows an HOA to foreclose after a year of missed payments, or if dues and fees reach $1,200. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

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.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

Hide bio