By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
A Texas mother of 4, and widow of an Afghanistan Veteran, has been threatened with foreclosure by Stewart Peninsula HOA in Colony, Texas. According to a report from CBSDFW.com, for the past year, Leticia Acevas has been fined $75 per month – a total of more than $5000 with attorney fees – for removing a large tree from her front yard.
The tree was removed in 2011, the year her husband lost his life while serving in the military stationed in Afghanistan. Acevas says the tree was very large, and blocked views from security cameras she installed shortly after her husband’s untimely passing. Four years passed before her HOA decided to fine Acevas in 2015. Her yard does have other trees, but the attorney for Stewart Peninsula HOA insists that the homeowner must plant another tree and a shrub in order to comply with architectural standards.
However, raising 4 children on her own, Acevas is unable to pay steep fines and pay for a new tree to satisfy the HOA.
Widow Of Veteran Facing Foreclosure From HOA
September 30, 2016 10:10 PM By Cristin Severance
THE COLONY (CBSDFW.COM) – Leticia Acevas and her four young children have only memories left of the most important person in their lives.
So, when they started rebuilding their lives after Staff Sergeant Omar Acevas died in Afghanistan, in 2011, they felt normal again. “(We were) trying to help to start again.” Acevas told CBS 11 news tearfully. “It’s just me my kids and that’s the way it’s always been.”
But now they’re almost about to lose their home. “I just feel like I’m disappointing them,” Acevas told us.
She received a notice in the mail saying her home in The Colony could be foreclosed on, if she doesn’t pay her HOA fines for the missing tree in her yard.
Read more, watch video here.
The pubic exposure provided by CBSDFW has stopped the foreclosure process, at least for now. Hopefully, the HOA will work with Acevas to resolve the issue and prevent foreclosure of her home over a few thousand dollars.
The question is, will the HOA continue to target the single mother with additional violations?
And will the HOA continue to defy or ignore Texas laws designed to prevent this kind of abuse? After all, most HOAs know that a homeowner’s sole defense is to hire an attorney and file a legal complaint. But that costs thousands of dollars, a price many homeowners cannot afford.
About Stewart Peninsula HOA
Stewart Peninsula is located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, and is home to a golf course. The community is currently managed by Texas Star Community Management LLC, a member of Community Associations Institute Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter.
According to the Stewart Peninsula HOA website, assessments cover the following services:
The homeowners association provides for the maintenance of common areas and facilities through collection of dues. Texas Star Community Management is responsible for hiring and overseeing the maintenance contractors.
Your HOA dues pay for:
Landscape of common areas (mowing, edging, fertilizing and pruning)
Irrigation repairs and maintenance
Common area electricity and water
Directors and Officers Insurance
Texas Commercial Property Insurance
Social Events & Association Meetings
Some HOAs have responsibility for essential services such as road or storm water system maintenance, or providing water and sanitary sewer utilities. But as evidenced by the list above, Stewart Peninsula HOA is responsible for non-essential services. That makes the HOA’s foreclosure authority even more excessive. Why should anyone potentially lose their home over assessments to support shared recreational amenities, flowers by the entry monument, and insurance protection for HOA board members who selectively enforce rules?