Homeowners associations foreclose on at least 60 homes in Denver neighborhood
DENVER - Dozens of residents in one Denver neighborhood are facing their own kind of housing crisis, fearing they may be kicked out of homes they have owned for years.
KDVR reports that at least 60 families in the Green Valley Ranch neighborhood are facing the possibility of losing their homes after their homeowners associations began the foreclosure process on them.
Some owners said they had no idea they were in danger of foreclosure.
Monica Villela told KMGH that she didn't know the HOA had foreclosed on her home until the new owner knocked on her door.
"Three weeks ago, the new owner shows up," she recalled. "He told me, 'I'm the new owner, I bought your house.'"
Villella said she had paid their mortgage on time for nearly 20 years, but that the HOA had issued a number of fines.
"They were issuing a lot of fines for anything… the grass, leaving the trash can out, a lot of fines, $50 or $100," she told KMGH. "They went all the way up to $8,000. The last time I checked, it was $10,000 in fines."
RELATED: ‘It’s become a crisis’: Tampa mayor wants $5 million for rental assistance program
While her family couldn't afford to pay the fines, she didn't know an HOA could foreclose on a home because of it.
And she wasn't alone.
"To this day, still nothing," one woman, who did not want to be identified, said to KDVR. "I had two Denver housing people come to my house, and they said time is of the essence, that [we] are being targeted and that they were going to foreclose. And that was the first I'd heard of it."
The homeowner said her husband had been wrangling with their HOA for six years over an alleged violation. She thought he had taken care of the issue.
It wasn't until after her husband died following a battle with COVID and a stroke that she found out the HOA violation had not been resolved.
She said the HOA was relentless.
"They don't deal with you, they just push you off," the homeowner said. "They make you send everything to them registered. But they don't send you anything registered."
She had been fighting the HOA in the courts as well, but to no avail.
RELATED: Rents reach 'insane' levels across the country with no end in sight
The problem in the community was so widespread that Denver's Department of Housing Stability sent out flyers to affected homes in Green Valley Ranch, telling homeowners where they can get answers to questions about HOA fines, citations and possible foreclosures.
"We found it alarming and immediately alerted our nonprofit partner to reach out with housing counseling resources and assist homeowners who were impacted," Denver’s Chief of Housing Britta Fisher told KDVR.
Fisher said that of the 119 HOA foreclosures that happened in Denver in 2021, 50 of them were from Green Valley Ranch.
"That's a pretty disproportionate share of those here in Denver," she told KMGH.
The homeowner whose husband passed away said she came home to find a lockbox on her door, along with a note saying that her home would be auctioned off.
She said she owes about $30,000 on the mortgage, KDVR reports. Meanwhile, the HOA wants her to pay a fine of $11,000, which she says she cannot afford.
For now, the homeowner is still in the home, and says she will fight to keep it.