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Georgia Lawmakers to Rein in Aggressive HOAs After Hearing Homeowner Horror Stories (Video)

Introduction

Georgia state lawmakers are taking action to address concerns over aggressive practices by homeowners associations (HOAs) that have led to homeowners losing their properties despite being up-to-date on mortgage payments. This move follows numerous horror stories from homeowners who have suffered from unexpected foreclosures and exorbitant fees.

Homeowners Facing Unexpected Foreclosures

Karen Gibbons, a resident of Gwinnett County, regularly mailed her HOA dues but often faced unpredictable delays in her checks being cashed. Despite her attempts to stay current, she received a foreclosure notice from her HOA, demanding over $30,000 in late fees and attorney costs. Trisha Quigley of Cherokee County saw her home of 18 years sold at a foreclosure auction for just $3.25 after missing two biannual payments totaling $800. Despite paying over $10,000 to settle her debts, the growing attorney fees kept her in a financial bind.

Escalating Attorney Fees and Costs

Attorney fees play a significant role in these escalating debts. Homeowners like Juliet Graham saw their HOA bills skyrocket due to every email, inquiry, and attempt to resolve or pay their overdue bills being added to their charges. By the time Graham sold her downtown Atlanta condo, her HOA bill had reached $250,000. Two Metro Atlanta law firms specializing in representing HOAs filed 279 foreclosure notices over the past three years.

Legislative Action to Protect Homeowners

State Senator Donzella James has introduced multiple bills this legislative session aimed at curbing overly aggressive HOAs. The proposed legislation seeks to protect homeowners from unjust foreclosures. James McAdoo from South Fulton had to file for bankruptcy to stop his HOA from garnishing his wages over $36,000 in fines, primarily due to weeds in his yard. McAdoo faced $600 deductions from his paycheck every two weeks before seeking bankruptcy protection.

Impact on Generational Wealth

The aggressive practices of HOAs have been criticized for stripping families of their generational wealth. Senator Matt Brass, co-sponsoring the bipartisan bill with Senator James, emphasized that such practices are un-American and vowed to protect homeowners. The study committee formed under this legislation will focus on examining and recommending changes to the laws governing HOAs, particularly concerning foreclosure practices.

Future Legislative Efforts

The legislative study committee is expected to begin work late this summer, aiming to develop bills that can be introduced in the next legislative session. Senator Brass, who chairs the rules committee, has significant influence and is committed to pushing through reforms to better protect homeowners from predatory HOA practices.

Conclusion

Georgia lawmakers are responding to numerous homeowner horror stories by initiating legislative efforts to rein in aggressive HOAs. With a study committee set to examine and recommend changes, future legislation aims to safeguard homeowners from unjust foreclosures and preserve their generational wealth.

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