HOAs face challenges dealing with deadbeat homeowners

Posted: Updated:
Homeowners delinquent on their dues is a growing problem across the Valley with the number of HOA foreclosures on the rise. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Homeowners delinquent on their dues is a growing problem across the Valley with the number of HOA foreclosures on the rise. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Some say HOAs should not have the power to take someone's home. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Some say HOAs should not have the power to take someone's home. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Linda Lang is president of the Arizona Association of Community Managers and insists HOAs have no interest in taking someones home but need some leverage to get homeowners to pay up. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Linda Lang is president of the Arizona Association of Community Managers and insists HOAs have no interest in taking someones home but need some leverage to get homeowners to pay up. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Arizona law currently allows an HOA to start the foreclosure process if someone owes $1,200, or is delinquent on their dues for one year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Arizona law currently allows an HOA to start the foreclosure process if someone owes $1,200, or is delinquent on their dues for one year. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Stan Tjaden has lived in an East Valley condo complex for more than 20 years, and it still bothers him to hear about someone not paying their HOA dues.

"We all pay taxes to keep the roads up," said Tjaden. "Why not pay your fair share to keep up your community?"

Homeowners delinquent on their dues is a growing problem across the Valley with the number of HOA foreclosures on the rise.

[READ MORE: Homeowner attorney raises concerns over increase in HOA foreclosures]

Dave Russell manages the Circle Tree Condominium community in Mesa.

He said that when homeowners don't pay their assessments, it takes away money the HOA has to maintain the property.

Russell had one homeowner owe $25,000.

Another hadn't paid his HOA dues for 7 years.

"Some of them fall on hard times, but when somebody owes $8,000 and you walk by their parking stall, and you see a brand new BMW sitting in their parking spot, I don't have too much empathy for folks like that," said Russell.

[RELATED: Can your HOA issue you a speeding ticket?]

But just how far should an HOA be allowed to go to collect from deadbeat homeowners?

Should an HOA have the power to take someone's home?

Linda Lang is president of the Arizona Association of Community Managers.

Lang said that HOAs have no interest in taking someone's home, but need some leverage to get homeowners to pay what they owe.

"The foreclosure is absolutely the last resort, and in some cases, it's the only way to get homeowners to the table so they can sit down and figure out a payment plan, or how to get them out of this," said Lang. "If one homeowner has a problem or decides not to pay their HOA dues, it falls to all of the people who live in that community."

Russell would like to see some changes to Arizona's HOA laws that would make it easier for homeowners to pay their assessments without the fear of foreclosure.

Arizona law currently allows an HOA to start the foreclosure process if someone owes $1,200, or is delinquent on their dues for one year.

State lawmakers may consider making it harder for HOAs to foreclose on someone's home during the next legislative session.

Russell said that requiring homeowners to pay their HOA dues as part of their monthly mortgage payment would reduce the number of homeowners who fall behind on their payments.

"If you're paying your assessments, you're not hearing from your HOA," said Lang.

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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.

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