Category Archives: Uncategorized

VIRGINIA – How a Loudoun Co. family’s year-round holiday lights sparked a lawsuit

WTOP:  How a Loudoun Co. family’s year-round holiday lights sparked a lawsuit
The Belmont Glen Homeowners Association in Ashburn, Virginia, had sued a family over exterior holiday lights that were up year-round, but Virginia’s Supreme Court has overturned the case. 

By Neal Augenstein

August 26, 2019

After a homeowners association in Loudoun County, Virginia, initially fined and successfully sued a family for keeping its exterior holiday lights up throughout the year, Virginia’s Supreme Court has now overturned the HOA’s lawsuit victory.

In 2018, Loudoun County Circuit Judge Jeanette Irby had ruled in favor of the Belmont Glen Homeowners Association in its suit against SanJay and Sona Sainani for violating the HOA’s seasonal guidelines on the use of holiday decorations.

In ruling for the HOA, Irby found the Sainanis’ “lights were on 24/7” for “at least 300 days a year” in violation of the seasonal guidelines that prohibited leaving lights on after midnight and displaying lights outside of the permitted holiday periods. The guidelines permitted lighting for Halloween, Thanksgiving, winter holidays and the Fourth of July. Read more:

TEXAS – Victim speaks after HOA dispute elevates to bullet wounds Victim speaks after HOA dispute elevates to bullet wounds

By Ken Kalthoff

August 14, 2019

A woman recovering from gunshot wounds after a shooting that involved her neighbor spoke publicly Wednesday about the suspect and accusations that she has been harassing residents in her neighborhood.Belinda Tucker, who was shot Aug. 4, lives directly across the street from Kenneth Haggarty, the man accused of in the shooting, in the Pleasant Run Estates subdivision in Lancaster.Tucker took pictures from her car on Aug. 4. when she said Haggarty first blocked her from entering their neighborhood with his car, and then got out with a gun and started to shoot at her.”I knew he was going to shoot me in the head, and I put my arm up and he shot me right in my hand,” Tucker said.Tucker sustained wounds to her hand, arm and head.

“I thought he had killed my wife,” Tucker’s husband Anthony Tucker said.

Through their living room window, Anthony Tucker said he could see what was happening, so he ran outside with his gun.

“He started to shoot at me and when he started shooting at me, I started shooting at him,” Anthony Tucker said. “I was amazed. I had avoided him at all costs.”

Through her property management firm, Belinda Tucker has done work for the Pleasant Run Estates Homeowners Association. Anthony Tucker is the HOA president.

Haggarty’s lawyer Heath Harris called it a conflict of interest.  Read more:

FLORIDA – Army vet told to remove flag from her home

By: The Associated Press

August 15, 2019

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — A Florida homeowners association says it’s against the rules for an Army veteran to fly a Puerto Rican flag outside her home.The Rolling Hills Estates HOA in Kissimmee recently told Frances Santiago that flags other than a U.S. flag, a military flag or a sports flag aren’t permitted.She served for 14 years as an Army medic and deployed to Iraq twice, according to a report by Orlando television station WFTV-TV. “I fought for this, to be able to do this. So, I don’t see a problem with flying my flag here,” Santiago said. Santiago told the station that she and her husband, Efrain, decided to fly the flag to support protesters demanding the governor’s resignation in the U.S. territory. Three weeks later, she got a violation notice from the association in the Orlando suburb. “I’m proud of my roots, who I am, [where] I come from,” Efrain Santiago said in the news report. “We’re not offending anyone. None of the neighbors were offended with us putting the flag there.”
The couple says it may be time for the HOA to revisit its rules, especially with Kissimmee’s growing Puerto Rican population. They’ve hired a lawyer and say they have no intention of  lowering their flag.  Read:

TEXAS – Homeowner shoots wife of HOA president over unpaid dues, police say

Author: Matt Howerton

August 6, 2019

LANCASTER, Texas — A Lancaster man is facing criminal charges after shooting his neighbor multiple times over a homeowners association dispute, police said Monday. Kenneth Haggerty, 59, was arrested on two charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he shot a woman and fired at her husband, according to Lancaster police Lt. Nate Thompson.
Police have taken multiple reports of fraud involving an HOA in the Lancaster neighborhood where the shooting occurred Sunday afternoon. Officers were called around 5 p.m. to the 1000 block of Rawlins Drive in the Pleasant Run Estates neighborhood. Haggerty pulled in front of his neighbor, Belinda Tucker, while she was in her car on their street, blocking her from going anywhere, Lancaster police said.He got out of his car, and at some point during the argument began firing a gun into Tucker’s car, according to Thompson. The argument centered around a lien that was placed on Haggerty’s home for allegedly not paying HOA fees, Thompson said. Belinda Tucker is married to Anthony Tucker, who claims to be the president of the Pleasant Run Estates Homeowners Association.The woman, who is also a former mayoral candidate, was hit in the arm, head and hand. “I used my right hand to shield his final attempt to shoot me in my head, but I fell over in my seat and played dead and did not move,” Belinda Tucker wrote WFAA in an email Monday. “I’m desperately distraught,” she said. Her husband saw what happened and started shooting at Haggerty. The men exchanged gunfire, Thompson said. When police arrived, both men were taken into custody. However, Anthony Tucker was later released without being charged. Thompson said criminal charges may still be filed against him. Tucker was taken to the hospital in stable condition and was released Sunday night.  Read more:

TEXAS – Houston condo owners sued their board after foreclosures, a big assessment, and other issues. But state law gives them few options.

Houston Chronicle

By Olivia P. Tallet

August 10, 2019

The letter literally took her breath away.“Notice of foreclosure sale,” Aurora St. Andrassy read as a friend drove her home from work in August 2016. The letter informed her that her home in the Sugar Branch Condominiums in southwest Houston would be sold at auction due to about $11,000 she owed to the homeowners association.“I felt a block of rocks fell on my head, my heart pounding,” recalls St. Andrassy, now 85. “I could hardly breathe. I had to be helped, almost carried, from the car to my doorstep.”St. Andrassy’s debt was based on missed monthly maintenance payments .

She is among over 30 former and current Sugar Branch property owners who sued the Sugar Branch Condominium Association in state district court. The plaintiffs allege that the association’s board members are committing fraud and conspiring to drive homeowners into foreclosure by assessing excessive, arbitrary fees so they can buy the units for themselves at below-market prices.

A group that acquired control of the association board in April 2016 — an attorney, her father, her brother and her boyfriend — has purchased more than half of the development’s 180 units, buying many at bargain prices in foreclosure auctions the board members initiated, a Houston Chronicle review of public documents shows. These board members say the acquisitions have given them enough votes to push through a “special assessment” totaling $450,000 for the community, much of which was earmarked for board members for various services.  Read more:

FLORIDA – Lawsuit accuses Aventura condo board of election violations

The Real Deal:  Lawsuit accuses Aventura condo board of election violations

By Francisco Alvarado

July 31, 2019

For Harry Catton and two unit owners at the Turnberry Village North condominium in Aventura, their two-year effort to force new elections for the building’s board of directors has been a futile exercise – even with the assistance of state regulators, according to a recently filed petition in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.The trio are seeking a court-appointed receiver to take over the board’s duties for holding an election and monitoring the results, alleging the condo association’s current directors have violated Florida law by repeatedly canceling annual meetings when unit owners can vie for vacant seats.Franklin Zemel, the attorney representing Catton, David Harari and Mark Massry, said an independent election monitor is the only way to ensure legitimate elections for the Turnberry Village North condo board. State legislators have sought to criminalize condo fraud, which is rampant in South Florida.“The self-proclaimed board of directors has not had an election from 2013 to 2016, and then cancelled the 2017 election in order to make an eligible candidate illegible,” Zemel said. “We often read about fraud in condominium association elections and my clients are more than concerned with the actions of the current board.”  Read more:

Lawsuit accuses Aventura condo board of election violations

NORTH CAROLINA- Raleigh veteran evicted after unpaid HOA fees gets keys to home back

by Michael Hyland

August 6, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A veteran who got evicted from his home for failing to pay his homeowners’ association fees, got the keys back to his home this week thanks to help from CBS 17 viewers.Keith Williams Jr. lived in his home in southeast Raleigh for 10 years. A few weeks ago, he said the sheriff’s office came to his house, told him he had to leave and changed the locks.“It started off as a nightmare,” he said. “Homeownership is what America is all about.”As CBS17 previously reported, the situation started in January 2018 when he failed to pay his annual HOA fee, which at the time was $177. He said at the time he was trying to help support his daughter and pay other bills as well, including his mortgage.In the year-and-a-half since then, the situation got out of control as attorneys’ fees mounted and he lost his job.Wake County court records show the HOA, Chastain of Raleigh Community Association, put a lien on his home in May 2018, at which point he owed $526. “And if the lien is not paid, the homeowners association may proceed with a foreclosure against your property in like manner as a mortgage under North Carolina law,” the document reads.  Read more:

Florida – Condo owners need protections from deep-pocket buyers/Editorial

Tampa Bay Times: Condo owners need protections from deep-pocket buyers/ Editorial

Published July 19

Florida should not allow billion-dollar real estate companies to bully condo owners into selling their homes, especially at unfair prices. But that’s exactly what’s happening around the state and in the Tampa Bay area thanks to a faulty law. Legislators have tried to mitigate the problem, but if they really care about property rights and fundamental fairness they have to do more.Lawmakers appeared well-intended in 2007 when they passed legislation that lowered the portion of condo owners needed to approve repairs or terminate a condo association from 100 percent to 80 percent. The idea was to ensure that condo associations could respond quickly to damage caused by hurricanes and other catastrophes, or disband if the complex was beyond repair. But there were unintended consequences — well-healed real estate companies saw an easily exploited loophole. The 80 percent threshold made it easier to take control of condo complexes, even ones never affected by storms, and then force any stragglers to sell at low prices.  Read more:

MICHIGAN – Family says request to remove Virgin Mary statue from front yard is ‘an attack on our religion’

Family says request to remove Virgin Mary statue from front yard is ‘an attack on our religion’

Hope Schreiber, Writer

Yahoo Life Style

July 11, 2019

A Michigan family believes that they are being unfairly discriminated against by their homeowners association (HOA) for their faith.
The Samona family, who lives in Novi, Mich., is now considering taking legal action after the HOA requested they remove a Virgin Mary statue that has stood in their yard since 2003.The statue is more than just an ornament for the Samonas. According to the Detroit Free Press, every time a member of the family leaves their home in the Tollgate Woods neighborhood, they stop to pray to the statue, and when they return home, they stop again.On Tuesday, however, the family received a letter from Kramer-Triad Management Group, the managing agent for the Tollgate Homeowners Association, requesting that the family mow their grass, trim the weeds and remove six statues from their yard – including the one-foot tall Virgin Mary.”There is no doubt in my mind that this is an attack on our religion,” Joseph Samona, who lives at the home with his parents, told the Detroit Free Press.  Read more:

NORTH CAROLINA – Woman says she was harassed, assaulted, and then put on trial, sparking 15-year court battle

Port City Daily:  Woman says she was harassed, assaulted, and then put on trial, sparking 15-year court battle

By Benjamin Schachtman and Johanna Ferebee

July 1, 2019

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Nearly twenty years ago, Virginia Radcliffe moved into Avenel, a neighborhood just north of Wilmington with tree-shaded houses, a pier onto a floating dock onto the intracoastal, and a homeowners association.Radcliffe had recently completed her studies at Yale University where she had earned a four-year graduate degree in divinity. Radcliffe moved to the Wilmington area looking forward to a career as a minister; she had become a certified candidate for ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church and had also worked as a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem (an officer of the court representing the “best interest” of children) and in the chaplain’s department of a men’s medium-security prison.A year later, that HOA informed Radcliffe her property was in “non-conformance” with the association’s guidelines, a violation that came with the potential of daily fines. What followed was a series of disputes between Radcliffe and the HOA’s other members, including the HOA president, who Radcliffe claims sexually harassed her. According to Radcliffe, what began as arbitrary violation letters escalated into harassment, threats, and ultimately physical assault.Over the next several years, the situation would go far beyond a dispute between neighbors, ultimately involved law enforcement – but it was Radcliffe who found herself facing criminal charges.  Read more: