Homeowner loses home to $532 in past due HOA fees | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Ken Baxley lived in his East Arlington house four years, but in 24 hours, it was no longer his home.
"I called the police and said 'Is this for real?' and they said 'Yes,'" he said.
It was real, but Baxley says still hard to believe. Checking the court files only added to his nightmare.
"The court records said my house is no longer in our name but it is in the name of some Duval trust group," said Baxley.
Baxley lives in a deed restricted community. Like all the other homeowners he has to pay Homeowners Association fees. For two years, he didn't.
"I didn't think they were that threatening," said Baxley. "I basically blew them off. That was my mistake. I blew off the homeowners association."
Baxley saved his home from a mortgage foreclosure in 2009, but ignored the HOA notices. A few days before Christmas, the HOA evicted Baxley from his home.
The HOA and filed and won a foreclosure lawsuit against him.
"I had no clue in my mind that for $532, they would take my house from under me and make me move," said Baxley.
Baxley is now leasing an apartment, but attorney Fred Elefant said the chances of Baxley getting his home back are remote.
"The Clerk of Courts issued a title certificate a deed to the new owner," said Elefant, "so this person is out of luck."
Elefant, who represents a number of HOAs said HOAs are getting more aggressive.
"They're getting more aggressive because there are a lot of homeowners who are not paying," he said.
Baxley's warning to others is don't make his mistake.
"I want other people to know what happened to me because I don't want anything else to experience this trauma," said Baxley.
The court record reveals Baxley can recover the difference between what he owed the HOA and how much the home was sold for, but he has to file with the Clerk of Courts.
Elefant said it is not over for Baxley. If the buyer fails to pay the mortgage, Elefant said the bank will file a mortgage foreclosure lawsuit against Baxley even though he no longer owns the house.
The lesson is to take all notices seriously and always respond to court documents.