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Homeowner association bars woman from home

April 30, 2012 at 9:51 PM

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla., April 30 (UPI) -- A Florida woman says her homeowners association took control of a house she owns, evicted her renter and moved another family in without her consent.

The Bridgewater Community Association changed the locks on the house, and calls the sheriff's office if Joanne McCarn comes near her property, The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune reported Monday.

"This is not a foreclosed house," McCarn said. "This is still my house. It's unfair how much power the HOA has. It's so surreal to me."

McCarn said the association imposed a lien of $2,565 against her in 2009, but she did not find out about it until later, when the association persuaded a court to evict her tenant for non-payment of the rent.

The homeowner said she had been keeping up with her annual homeowners association dues of $225 but missed one payment when her mother died, so she is unsure why her debt to the association is so high.

"We did everything we thought was right to resolve this," McCarn said. "I even went to [association President Mark] Spector's house to try to resolve it. He threw me off his property. He threw my husband off his property."

Legal experts say the eviction of McCarn's tenant may be legal, but taking over the house is not.

"Taking possession of the property and renting the unit out, that part is not something afforded by the law," said Ben Solomon, a homeowners association lawyer based in south Florida.

McCarn hired a lawyer and plans to take the case back to court. She's asking a judge to give her back control of her home.

Spector and his homeowners association have not commented on the case.

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