Homeowners, HOAs battle at General Assembly
Posted January 23, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Dozens of angry homeowners came to a public hearing at the General Assembly Monday to ask lawmakers to tighten regulations for homeowners associations.
HOA boards have the power to put liens on homes or foreclose on them if owners don't pay their membership dues and fines. Homeowners who spoke Monday said some boards are abusing their power, misspending funds and pursuing personal vendettas.
Irene Thiele, who owns a house in Cary, said her HOA contract was changed after she bought her house to add services she never agreed to, doubling her fees. She has been fighting it in court, but she said she wants more state oversight.
Other speakers suggested adding a homeowners' bill of rights to state law.
Representatives of homeowners associations said they don't want any changes and told lawmakers that HOAs maintain buildings, roads and pools and protect property values for all homeowners. They say liens and foreclosures are the only tools they have to enforce their contracts and that stricter regulations will make that job more difficult.
Legislators made a few changes to the state's HOA laws last year, such as giving homeowners more time – 90 days instead of 30 – to pay off assessments before an HOA can start foreclosure proceedings on their property. Lawmakers could consider even bigger reforms when they come back to Raleigh for the short session this summer.