A Pasco County homeowners' association takes possession of couples' home, evicts the existing tenant, changes the locks and moves in its own tenant, all over a $2,565 dispute.
Bridgewater Community Association took possession of a home owned by Joanne McCarn and her husband after successfully persuading a judge to order McCarn's tenant evicted from the Florida home and appointing the association manager of the property.
According to The Tampa Tribune the HOA promptly evicted the home's existing tenant, giving (the single mother of five) just 24 hours to move out and denied the McCarns any access to their own property.
"This is not a foreclosed house," said McCarn. "This is still my house. It's unfair how much power the HOA has. It's so surreal to me."
Apparently the McCarns are not alone in the community, their home is among five other homes (not taken in foreclosure) the association is currently seeking to rent out, according to county public records.
The dispute began after the association imposed a $2,565 lien on the couple's property in 2009 and wanted the tenant to pay rent directly to them. McCarn said she had no knowledge of the lien until recently when a court evicted her tenant for non-payment of rent.
McCarn claims she had kept up-to-date with her $225 annual HOA dues although admits missing one payment when her mother died. The homeowner also told the press she is willing to pay what she owes even as she believes the fees are just a way for the association to rack up the bill.
"We did everything we thought was right to resolve this, I even went to Mr. Spector's house to try to resolve it," said McCarn. "He threw me off his property. He threw my husband off his property."
Mark Spector is the president of the Bridgewater homeowners' association and has yet to comment on the situation.
South Florida-based homeowners association lawyer Ben Solomon told the Tribune he thinks the eviction may be legal due to the fact that McCarn moved in a tenant before paying off the lien.
However, Solomon said: "Taking possession of the property and renting the unit out, that part is not something afforded by the law."
McCarn and her husband have recently hired a lawyer and are planning to head back to court later in the month to contest the judge's ruling.