Foreclosed For Late Fees

Letting her homeowner's association dues grow too high could cost Susan Owens her town home.

Susan says, “I don’t think I deserve to be foreclosed on.”

Retirees at Grayhawk neighborhood in northwest Omaha pay $115 a month for a variety of maintenance services like mowing.

Susan has been delinquent several months. Susan says, “It’s my fault, I have not managed my money the best since my husband died.”

Instead of filing a lien the Grayhawk Town Home Association foreclosed on Owens' home. She asked the association attorney, “Does that mean you’d put me out on the street. He said that’s what happens when you don’t pay the bill.”

Paul Lapuzza is the association attorney and he says, “I have no desire to kick anyone out of their house.” But he says a foreclosure action is the only way to collect various fees and costs beyond the dues. That includes $650 in attorney fees for Lapuzza.

Owens has sent checks for most of her delinquent dues but they have been returned. The attorney says partial payment could be seen as a settlement and remove the hammer of foreclosure before the entire bill is paid.

Owens’ attorney James Martin Davis calls that a heavy handed way to collect a debt, especially attorney fees.

The foreclosure process could take four months and Davis is asking a judge to stop the homeowner's association from foreclosing on Owens’ home.

Susan Owens says, “I feel like a criminal, like I failed because I do want to be honest and I do want to pay my bills.”

A hearing on whether the homeowner's association can use foreclosure to force Owens to pay late fees, title costs and attorney fees for the foreclosure will go before a judge in a few weeks.

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