A Kentucky woman paid for her home in 2007 — $125,000 in cash — but she’s paying rent for that place now. After six years of failing to pay her $48 annual homeowner’s association fees and subsequent late fees, her house was foreclosed upon, according to a report from the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Ingrid Boak, 75, said she was never told the fee was mandatory, but the Masterson Station association’s attorney Nathan Billings said that every owner in the association agrees to pay the annual dues and potential late fees when they accept a deed for property.
Boak admits she never opened mail from the association, but she also said no one ever personally approached her about the repercussions for not paying.
Billings said the association would have delayed the foreclosure if Boak had responded.
Boak received nearly 30 notices before her property was foreclosed on. Boak, who frequently travels, said she thought the letters were attempts to engage her in volunteering in the association, so she disposed of them without opening the envelopes.
As for other messages — like notices from the county clerk’s office that the association had filed a notice of lien on the property for $884 — Boak said she never received them, because she was out of town. Notices of the case going to court? Not received. Correspondence saying the court had approved the sale to satisfy the judgment against her? Didn’t get that either, Boak says.
Asking about HOA fees should be among the many questions homebuyers ask their real estate agents, because not only do consumers want to avoid missing payments and the effect it would have on their credit, they can also be very expensive. Boak’s $48 annual fee looks like a treat when compared with the hundreds of dollars some Americans have to pay. These fee structures are put in place by HOA boards — aka your neighbors — and can vary widely.