Attorney Ryan Torrens says it’s time for legislative change
By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
Readers of IAC blog know I have been following this outrageous HOA foreclosure horror story since the first report. Back in February, a Judge upheld Rivercrest Community Association’s foreclosure of a home owned by Tina and Luis Lopez, all over a single missed assessment payment of $150. The Association had waited for 4 years to notify the Lopez’s of the delinquency, placing a lien on the home and demanding more than $4,000 to halt the foreclsoure sale.
Rivercrest HOA arranged a payment plan for the Lopez family, but, according to a report by Kendra Conlon of WTSP, Attorney Ryan Torrens discovered that the association had failed to file a copy of that payment plan with the court. Discussions between Tina and Luis Lopez and Riverview Community Association were reopened. The HOA agreed to accept $3,500 in return for reversing the foreclosure.
Riverview family wins foreclosure battle with HOA
Kendra Conlon , WTSP 6:10 PM. EDT June 07, 2017
A Riverview family has won a yearlong fight with their HOA to save their home from foreclosure.
10News has been following the Lopez family’s emotional battle, after their Riverview HOA foreclosed on their home, all over a missed $150 homeowners association payment. In May, a judge told the family they’d have to pack up and get out. But the Rivercrest Community Association’s attorney agreed to a deal. Now, The Lopez’s can stay put in the place they’ve called home for more than a decade.
As part of the agreement, the family can no longer talk with the media. They’ve had plenty to say through the painful process.
Read more (Video):
A few key points:
Bush Ross did not reverse the Lopez HOA foreclosure due to a sense of compassion or justice. It was thrown out by the HOA simply because foreclosure defense Attorney Ryan Torrens was able to prove that Rivercrest Community Association had not followed the correct procedure with regard to filing a copy of the payment plan with the court.
In the end, the Lopez family had to pay $3,500 to settle a $150 debt. Presumably, the Lopezes incurred legal costs as well.
Rivercrest Community Association has insisted on silencing Tina and Luis Lopez. From this point forward, no talking to the media. Frankly, one has to wonder why, since the homeowners have been vocal and very visible up to this point. Thanks to Kendra Conlon of WTSP, many of the pertinent facts are already public knowledge. What additional information does Rivercrest – or the law firm of Bush Ross – want to conceal from the public?
Torrens points out that association-governed communities should have a legal obligation to provide prompt notice of assessment delinquency, thereby eliminating the accrual of late fees, interest, and attorney fees over a period of many months or several years leading up to the point where the HOA files a lien. Of course, that is common sense.
However, I would add that the association must also be legally obligated to verify that the debt is valid, and that all collection efforts must adhere to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), regardless of who is doing collections. This is especially important in light of the industry’s intent to engage in automatic credit reporting into of accounts receivable.
If Ryan Torrens is able to win election as Attorney General in Florida, it may finally spur the Legislature to enact meaningful regulation of homeowners associations, enacting statutory protections that are more in line with current Florida laws governing condominium associations.