DENVER — Residents in Green Valley Ranch said that they are being targeted and bullied with bogus fines by their HOA, which is resulting in some families being displaced from their homes.
Homeowners joined The Redress Movement outside of the Wellington E. Webb Building on Thursday. They said this is a form of re-segregation of an already diverse community.
“We don’t know the demographics currently right now of the homes that have been foreclosed on, and we want to make sure that we have the correct information," said Kevin Patterson, senior campaign organizer for The Redress Movement. "We can understand if there are racial trends, if there are age trends, if that type of thing is happening consistently, we can statistically prove that.”
The Redress Movement said that they're calling on the Office of the Denver Clerk and Recorder and the Department of Housing Stability to track demographic data on foreclosures in Denver.
"The folks who seem to be the most afraid, have the most issues, tend to be Black, brown, Latino, immigrant folks, English second language, who have really had very consistent problems with this particular HOA and fines and paying very large fees," Patterson said.
Leaving trash cans out, broken blinds, weeds in their yards are all things that residents in Green Valley Ranch said they've been fined for.
In February, Green Valley Ranch resident Monica Villela said a man knocked on her door and told her he was the new owner of her home.
"Since then, it's been a nightmare for us," Villela said. "We didn't know about the foreclosure."
She said that although she's never missed a mortgage payment for the past 17 years on the house she has had with her husband, it was foreclosed on without her knowledge and sold to someone else.
“In the beginning, he didn’t tell me for how much he bought the house, but he bought it for $25,000," Villela said.
After seeing her story on the news, Villela said the man offered to sell her back her house.
“He called me saying, 'I’m willing to sell the house back to you for $28,000,' " she said.
Villela said they were fined by the HOA for minor things like leaving their garbage cans outside and having a few weeds in the yard.
"Not everyone was being fined for the things we were fined for, so we felt like we were being targeted," she said.
Those unpaid fines now total thousands of dollars, something Villela said they can't afford.
"It went up to $8,000, and it's an affordable home," she said. "We are a family of six and only one income."
Another resident, Darla Nowak, said she's also received unfair fines and violations.
"I don't know if they just enjoy preying on people," Nowak said. "When you receive a violation for a tree not being 'tree-shaped,' it boggles your mind."
She said that she won the court case that involved her tree when a judge couldn't find anything in the bylaws that showed she was violating a rule. Then, she was summoned to court for another issue, a temporary fence she set up for her small dogs.
Nowak said she was fined $1,400 for the temporary fence. She also had to pay $14,000 in attorney fees.
"I had to get a loan to pay it off so I could keep my home," she said.
She said she lives in fear each day.
"When my doorbell rings, I'm afraid to answer it," she said. "I don't know if it's going to be another person trying to summon me again for violations I don't know about."
9NEWS has reached out to the HOAs involved and was not able to get a comment.
The Denver Clerk and Recorder provided this statement:
"HOA foreclosures are judicial in nature and are administered by the Sheriff’s Office, we play no role in the actual conduct of the HOA/Judicial foreclosure process. The Sheriff will send combined notices, initiate publications, hold the sale, and issue certificates of purchase and sheriff’s deeds. The Clerk and Recorder, in our capacity as the recorder of land records has a duty to record documents related to these foreclosures when they are presented to us. Recording the documents is our only role. We have partnered with the Office of Financial Empowerment, Colorado Legal Services, and the Mayor’s Office of Housing Stability to provide easy access to trusted agencies within the City who can speak to matters outside of our purview."
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