By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Michael Chancey, his uncle Jimmy Chancey, and father Ralph Chancey have been notorious for their shady real estate practices since the bust of 2008. The family has made a lucrative business of acquiring homes at HOA foreclosures for a mere fraction of their market value. The Tampa Bay Times has reported that the Chancey family and affiliates acquired deeds for a few thousand dollars apiece, for properties worth hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars.
After taking title to these homes, the LLC companies would lease them to tenants and collect the rent until the banks finally foreclosed on them. However, quite often tenants would hand over a deposit and sign a lease, only to find out a month or two later that they must vacate following the lender’s foreclosure.
Michael Chancey founded HOA Property Solutions in 2012. According to the Tampa Bay Times article below, the company originally worked with HOAs to obtain deed transfers to his company, promising to pay HOA assessments and split the rent with the Association. Later on, Chancey bypassed the Association and was able to convince dozens of owners to quit claim deeds to HOA Property Solutions. The owners were allegedly misled into believing that they would no longer be responsible for paying their mortgages or HOA assessments. Homeowners later learned that was not true.
It turns out that, according to records, HOA Property Solutions did not honor its promises to pay HOA assessments, either.
These are the circumstances that have finally led to an investigation of deceptive business practices.
The question is, what took so long?
Unscrupulous practices of HOA Property Solutions have been ongoing since 2012. Why did it take four years to Pam Bondi to begin an investigation?
And what about all the other fraudulent and unconscionable HOA foreclosure acquisitions, and invalid lease agreements that occurred prior to establishment of HOA Property Solutions? Is it not just as unfair to acquire a $1.2 million home for about $10,000 at a foreclosure auction for a homeowners association, and then lease that to unsuspecting tenants, who are then evicted and displaced shortly after they move in?
Readers please note that similar HOA foreclosure deals have been going on for years all over the U.S., not just in Florida.
But, to Bondi’s credit, at least one AG in one state is finally willing to do something about it. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a new trend toward investigation of HOA foreclosure and landlord-tenant fraud across the nation.
Now there are signs that Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office is finally taking a hard look at what one real estate expert calls an “unscrupulous scam.”
The office confirmed this month that it has an “active consumer protection investigation” into at least one of the companies, HOA Problem Solutions of Tampa. It recently issued subpoenas for company records under a statute that outlaws unfair, deceptive and unconscionable business practices.