Friday, October 14, 2011

Homeowner Scores Foreclosure Win Against HOA Over Unpaid $4.70 Charge That Ballooned To $3K

In Melbourne, Florida, Florida Today reports:

  • For Geeta Ramcharitar, the ordeal began with a past due balance of $4.70 owed to her condominium association in Melbourne’s Venetian Village — and ballooned from there. The threatened end: foreclosure on her two-bedroom condo.

  • The 56-year-old grandmother got lucky. County Court Judge William McLuan tossed out the foreclosure case brought by her condo association, ordering each side to pay their own attorney’s fees.

  • But while Ramcharitar’s situation sounds extreme — a foreclosure case that began over what initially was such a paltry sum — she’s hardly alone. [...] Marlene Kirtland, the attorney representing Becker & Poliakoff, the law firm representing the condo association, also declined to comment.

  • The exact origins of Ramcharitar’s dispute are unclear, but records show she owed a past due balance of $4.70 to the association in August 2009 and became subject to monthly late fees.

  • By November of that year, certified letters sent by Becker & Poliakoff said the association intended to foreclose for nonpayment of dues. At the time, her total outstanding fees were $1,248.89. Of that total, $760 were for attorney fees. By the middle of 2010, the attorney fees for all the paperwork sent to her had ballooned to about $3,000.

  • An effort at mediation failed. That led to a non- jury foreclosure trial this summer. “This was completely unnecessary,” said Ramcharitar’s lawyer, Ken Weaver, who disputed the charges against her.

  • Primarily a criminal defense lawyer, he had never defended a foreclosure case, but “I was compelled by a sense of justice, this woman needed a defense.”

  • Weaver said he’s grateful the case was tossed out, and complained that the practice that started the problem is predatory. He said: “She is relieved that the court was able to understand the issue and apply the rules so that this lady could keep her house.”

For the story, see Grandmother nearly loses condo to foreclosure after $4.70 fee balloons to nearly $3,000.

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