RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A veteran who got evicted from his home for failing to pay his homeowners’ association fees, got the keys back to his home this week thanks to help from CBS 17 viewers.
Keith Williams Jr. lived in his home in southeast Raleigh for 10 years. A few weeks ago, he said the sheriff’s office came to his house, told him he had to leave and changed the locks.
“It started off as a nightmare,” he said. “Homeownership is what America is all about.”
As CBS17 previously reported, the situation started in January 2018 when he failed to pay his annual HOA fee, which at the time was $177. He said at the time he was trying to help support his daughter and pay other bills as well, including his mortgage.
In the year-and-a-half since then, the situation got out of control as attorneys’ fees mounted and he lost his job.
Wake County court records show the HOA, Chastain of Raleigh Community Association, put a lien on his home in May 2018, at which point he owed $526. “And if the lien is not paid, the homeowners association may proceed with a foreclosure against your property in like manner as a mortgage under North Carolina law,” the document reads.
An attorney for the HOA previously told CBS17 she couldn’t comment beyond what was in court documents regarding the situation.
Though he received multiple notices in the months after that about the pay he owed, Williams said he was out of work and couldn’t afford the growing cost of the missed payment.
County property records show Chastain of Raleigh Community Association held the deed to the home as of March 11 after the house was sold at a foreclosure sale.
After being evicted from his home earlier this month, he received an email from the collections agency saying “the association will agree to sell you back your property for $4,500.”
CBS17 viewers helped him raise that money in less than 24 hours. Williams thanked those donors and said he was “overjoyed” to get his keys back.
He picked up the keys late Monday and brought his nine-year-old daughter back to the home for the first time in weeks.
“By opening that door, I felt like an American again. I’m able to come home like I normally come home,” he said.
Under North Carolina law, it is possible for an HOA to get a lien on a home and even foreclose.
According to the NC Real Estate Commission, the HOA first has to send a homeowner a reminder letter about paying the fee. The HOA can file a claim of lien if a fee has not been paid and is at least 30 days past due. At least 15 days before that happens, the HOA has to send a letter telling a homeowner precisely what they owe. If 90 days pass and the homeowner still has not paid, the HOA’s executive board can move to foreclose.
Though HOA’s have to follow state law, they are not overseen by any state of federal agencies, according to the NC Attorney General’s Office.
“Any time something like this happens, hopefully, the homeowners association will reach out as opposed to just sending you a letter saying you’re going to get evicted,” said Williams.
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