Throwback Thurdsay: Aggressive foreclosures backfire on Florida homeowners associations

Originally posted in Tampa Bay Times by Susan Taylor Martin (March 18, 2012)

Ralph and Michael Chancey have gotten some great deals on real estate.

A $1.15 million bayfront Apollo Beach home for $10,010. A 3,700-square-foot house in North Tampa for $8,090. Dozens of homes in Brandon and Riverview for less than $4,000 each.

The houses are in communities where members must pay fees to a homeowners association for maintenance of common areas. When the economy soured and owners stopped paying their fees, the associations foreclosed and the houses were deeded to companies connected to the Chanceys — typically for just the amount of fees owed.

As the Tampa Bay Times reported last June, it was supposed to be a great deal for associations running short of money for even routine cleaning and lawn work.

“I get paid, the association gets paid and that buyer becomes responsible for the upkeep and the HOA fees,” said Robert Tankel, a Dunedin lawyer who represents several associations in which the Chanceys acquired houses.

But things haven’t always worked out as they were supposed to.

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