Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Foreclosure Violated Military Act: Yet Another Reason Not to Live in Texas

*** A soldier returns from Iraq only to find his own Homeowners' Association sold his home at sheriff's auction.

From Denny: The whole neighborhood is in an uproar to discover a Texas homeowners' association thought nothing of it to foreclose on a house only owing a mere $800 in dues. A more than $300,000 house sold at sheriff's sale for a pittance to "an investor": $3,200. Then the homeowners' association re-sold it for the low price of $135,000 to another investor who proceeded to evict the original homeowners, the family of National Guard Capt. Michael Clauer.

Just one problem here, folks, there is the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This federal law has been around since World War I to prevent sleazy businessmen from profiting unfairly while soldiers are on active duty away from home. The only way to foreclose on a military service person is for it to be ordered by a court. Yet the law did nothing to protect this military family. And that's the heart of so much of what is wrong in America today: we have the laws to protect yet no one enforces them so they end up toothless.

The homeowners' association tried to claim that Clauer was not on active duty at the time but that isn't true. The foreclosure was in May 2008 and the law should have prevented this from happening. Besides, where was the primary mortgage lending bank in all this? Why didn't they do anything to stop from losing their investment? They are bound by federal laws against this kind of act.

The Clauers did not learn of the foreclosure status until June 2009 when the new owner tried to demand rent from them. He also tried to evict them. Now, since this outrage came to public attention the new owner, Jad I. Aboul-Jibin, has agreed to return the home to the Clauers but wishes to be reimbursed by the homeowners' association or whomever originally purchased the home to sell to him.

Waiting for the court to decide this family's fate will take until the court date of January 2011. Clauer believes it is morally wrong for states to give so much power to homeowners' associations to foreclose for a mere $800. Believe it or not, there are a few other states that allow this nasty practice.

Currently, the Clauers are suing the The Heritage Lake Homeowners Association, the investors who bought the home at foreclosure and sold it, and the home's current owner.

Does something smell fishy here or what? Obviously, this was a scam investor who did their part for war profiteering while military service members were away. Everyone knows you don't sell a $300,000 house for only $3,200 and what kind of sheriff's department did not investigate this discrepancy? It sounds like a lot of people were not doing their jobs.

It's also no surprise that the neighbors of the Clauers and the neighborhood are emailing and phoning in death threats to the homeowners' association offices. How would you like to be a member of that HOA and be on the hook for such a large lawsuit? How would you like to read this story in the newspaper to discover an HOA could do it to you too just that easily?

The Clauers have reached an agreement with the current owner to continue living in their home with their two young daughters while awaiting the court's decision.

One thing is for sure: beware of your neighborhood HOA and read the fine print to know just how far they can go. I, for one, would not like to be party to some one's foreclosure. What ever happened to just putting a lien on it and when they sell it the HOA gets their money?

We in Louisiana often refer to Texans as "sh*t-kickers." Yeah, that about sums it up. They even do it to their neighbors. Yet another reason not to live in Texas. After the last eight years you can easily guess the first reason. :)

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