An attorney for the Summer Trees West HOA filed an “HOA Release of Lien” concerning 107 Cypress Pond Road on Dec. 5, halting – at least for now – a foreclosure threatened against a homeowner there deemed a “nuisance” by the Association’s board of directors.

By removing the lien, the HOA board appears to be signaling that it intends to abide by the Nov. 1 agreement to buy 107 CPR if its owners fail to sell and move out of Summer Trees West by July 1, 2017, as they agreed to do in a mediated settlement agreed to by both sides on Nov. 1.

If the Shaffers do sell and move, it could put an end to a bitter, multi-year dispute between the Shaffers, their neighbor – HOA Chairman Joe Richotte – and the board of directors. In response to numerous requests for information and threats of lawsuit, the HOA placed a lien on 107 CPR in an attempt to recoup monies the board spent on lawyers. Although state courts have held that a sale of a home cannot be forced via foreclosure in order to recoup legal fees, the Shaffers nonetheless agreed to sell and move in return for the release of lien – which was dated Nov. 11, 2016, but wasn’t filed until this week.

It is unclear what will happen next. The issue is expected to be discussed when the HOA board meets on Dec. 27 to adopt the 2017 budget. There are no funds set aside in the draft budget for the purchase of the unit and no HOA director has publicly stated they support the agreement, which was signed by Association president John Lyon acting with a Power of Attorney granted by some, but not all, board members.

Under the terms of the agreement, if the Shaffers do not sell their home by July 1, 2017, the HOA can reinstate the lien associated with thousands of dollars in legal fees that the HOA claims it would not have occurred but for actions and statements by the Shaffers. Under a bylaw amendment enacted in 2013, the HOA board can deem a homeowner a “nuisance” at will. Any foreclosure litigation would likely be focused on whether an HOA can lawfully pass its legal bills on to someone it was not involved in any lawsuit with at the time they incurred the expenses.

The board meeting on Dec. 27 will be held at the VFW on S. Williamson Boulevard. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and is only open to Association members.

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