Shared By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Poinciana, FL HOA is in the news again. The report that follows serves as proof that even when HOA assessments are relatively small, conflict and potential for corruption and abuse are still significant.
Fall behind on your assessments, and you can still find yourself exploited by exorbitant collection fees and the threat of losing your home over what was initially a few hundred dollars.
Read about why thousands of homeowners have banded together to fight off alleged abusive debt collection tactics by 1st 100 LLC, an organization that describes itself as “real estate investment firm that specializes in partnering with community associations.”
The company advertises that it purchases HOA debt on past due accounts. In exchange, the HOA agrees to proceed with foreclosure, and 1st 100 actively bids on properties at the auction, taking title to any home it acquires. (For details, Google “1st 100 LLC”)
It is unknown if there is a direct affiliation between First Service Residential, Poinciana’s current management company, and 1st 100 LLC.
Poinciana HOA assessments are about $250 per year. But quite a few owners fell behind due to unemployment during the recession.
Owners report that, even though they have tried to pay off their debt to the Association, the HOA and 1st 100 keep tacking on exorbitant collection fees. They have hired an attorney to represent their interests, with a court hearing scheduled for January.
Thousands of Poinciana residents face ballooning debt after HOA fees sent to collection agencies
Steven Lemongello, Orlando Sentinel
Poinciana Villages, with nearly 70,000 residents and 23,000 homes, would be one of the largest cities in Central Florida if it were a municipality. Instead, it’s the largest private homeowners association (HOA) in the United States.
But now the HOA is under fire for what residents say is a persistent and ongoing effort by outsourced debt-collection agencies to inflate back dues with thousands of additional dollars in legal fees and late charges.
Some of the estimated 4,000-plus homeowners whose debt was sold — more than 1 of every 6 homes in the association — say they’ve never received a line-by-line breakdown of what those fees actually are. And by the time they’re able reach someone at the agency, their late fees and legal fees have doubled, tripled, quadrupled and more.
At issue, residents say, is the possibility of thousands of owners losing their homes because of ballooning debts that were originally only in the hundreds of dollars.
Preview, read full article:
Also, see Channel 9 News video, Poinciana’s problems with Fisrt Service Residential are not Unique (Nancy Alvarez)