A MOTHER-of-four was shocked to learn that her home was sold from under her, leaving her and her children with few safe housing options.
Nearly a quarter of the US population belongs to a community association, such as an HOA.
Only a few states have laws that prevent HOA’s from foreclosing on residents.
Monica Villela was one of the unlucky homeowners subjected to a foreclosure initiated by her HOA.
She maintains that she was not warned and found out her home was sold by meeting the new owner in her driveway.
Villela was heading out to pick up her children from school last February when a stranger approached her and introduced himself as the new homeowner.
The Villela’s owed about $8,000 in HOA fines, a hefty price for a large family supported by a single income.
The charges were issued for minor offenses, including dead tree branches and trash cans being left on the curb.
Vilella never expected that her HOA would put her home up for foreclosure sale over seemingly small infractions.
The new buyer, a real estate investor, allowed Viella to stay in her home until the school year was over as long as she paid him rent.
He also offered to sell the property back to her for around $25,000.
Villela and her family are not the only residents who have had their homes sold from under them.
The HOA had approved at least 60 foreclosures in the first three months of 2022, according to an investigation by Denverite.
In a statement issued last March, the Green Valley Ranch board defended against their practices.
“The fact of a foreclosure filing does not mean someone loses their home. A majority of the cases are in active payment plans or closed without further legal action,” the statement read.
The Colorado attorney general’s office investigated the HOA but found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Vilella has received support from the Community Economic Defense Project, which assists Denver-area residents facing economic hardship.
The organization is trying to negotiate a deal to repurchase her home.
In the meantime, Villela has had no choice but to live as a squatter in the place she used to own.
Most of the furniture has been removed, a constant reminder of the frustrating foreclosure experience.
Her children are living with her mother-in-law, sleeping in the basement.
“I want to keep fighting,” she said. “I say I’m about to buy a chain and lock my hands to the door.”
The U.S. Sun has reached out to the Green Valley Ranch HOA for comment.