When someone buys a home, they usually look forward to being able to do whatever they want to their home when it comes to decorating it. While that is the case for many homeowners, those who are under the thumb of a homeowners’ association might not be able to fulfill that dream. A recent story about a Florida veteran who was facing foreclosure because of his HOA is a story that might make some people shake their head in disbelief.
The man had a small American flag in a flowerpot in front of his house. This insane battle over a flag that represents our country started in 2011. The vet and the HOA went to court over the matter. Ultimately, they reached a settlement when the man agreed to display the flag per the HOA rules. Two weeks after that, the HOA changed the rules. They now said that flowerpots were only for flowers and flags could only be displayed.
In 2013, the vet began to get fined by the HOA. He took a stand against the HOA and filed a lawsuit citing the 2005 Freedom to Display the American Flag Act. That case, however, was dismissed on a technicality.
At that point, the HOA attached a foreclosure lien onto the man’s property claiming that he owed $8,000. Under state laws, however, that seems a bit excessive. The law allows a HOA to fine a condo owner up to $1,000 total with the maximum daily penalty of $100. In response to that, the HOA attorney says that the foreclosure is due to the man being behind on his monthly assessment. Recently, two executives have paid the money that the HOA says the 73-year-old vet owed. In all, they gave $10,500 after saying that the story “offended our sensibilities.” The extra $2,500 was for tax adjustments.
While this man was able to stop foreclosure on his home thanks to the generosity of others, not every case happens that way. It is important for all homeowners to understand their rights under Florida law when it comes to foreclosure. Getting answers to your questions and exploring your options might help you to make an informed decision about how to handle a foreclosure.
Source: Source: Fox News, “Biz executives pay fines for Florida vet facing eviction over flower pot flag,” Karl de Vries and Perry Chiaramonte, July 5, 2014