County Recorders Office registers Wrongful Liens without notifying Homeowners
We are seeing HOA Boards, Management Companies, and their Debt Collectors file liens on homes while violating their own House Rules.
Salt Lake County Recorder's office registers the majority of wrongful liens with no notice given to homeowners, no opportunity for due process, no opportunity to dispute and resolve, etc. Only the roughly 3500 homeowners, out of 370,000 households, who are tech-savvy enough to have registered on the new Property Watch website are informed at all about liens on their property.
The average homeowner does not have the experience, financial resources and legal knowledge needed to defend their property against wrongful liens issued by predatory HOA Boards, Management Companies and their Debt Collectors.
This has to stop!
We need to take action to prevent homeowners from predatory actions such as those listed below:
A) A minor alleged infraction - such as a fine for a supposedly late HOA payment - something as low as $25 or $50 - quickly turns into $2,000, $5,000, $15,000, and more with legal action, although the homeowner has never been given notice,
B) HOA Boards simply refuse to produce documents per state statute
C) HOA Boards ignore and violate Federal Fair Housing statute, discriminating against the disabled
D) HOA Boards ignore and violate Federal Statute regarding sexual harassment and assault
E) HOA Boards, Management Companies and their Debt Collectors target the disabled, minorities, wanting them out of the building, using the Recorders Office to quickly expedite the taking of their property, their home, to foreclosure
Thanks be to Karen Maine for recommending people be noticed when activity occurs on their property, but that is not enough. Currently, one has to sign up for the service. According to a websearch only about 3500 people have signed up in a County of 1 million-plus residents.
Sure, I will work with the State Legislature on protections, but abuses are occurring now. Just over the last few weeks, I am aware of several instances of horrible alleged abuse. We must act now.
There is literally no system in place right now to protect homeowners. The following consumer watchdogs are effectively neutered in this process:
1) The Division of Consumer Protection has not teeth and no staff equipped to support homeowners in this situation
2) The Disability Law Center has some of the needed capabilities but their funding is inadequate to support the large numbers of cases
3) The State Labor Commission is not focused on such issues, with the result that investigations and conclusions in such matters easily become inaccurate and counterproductive
4) Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) doesn't offer the possibility of resolution or remedy, even if the homeowner files a complaint
Homeowners are simply left to defend themselves, oftentimes forced to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees, or simply lose their home. Defending their property often requires homeowners to spend countless hours, undergo enormous stress and fear for the future of their loved ones.
One particular management company claims to have over 20,000 residents and hundreds of communities. How is the everyday homeowner to defend against such enormous financial and legal power.
Of course HOA’s need their residents to pay their dues for roads, services, amenities, and such; those are not what we are referring to here. We are talking about real abuse of private residents and homeowners.
I believe the Recorders Office should be obligated to notify every property owner each time a lien is registered on their property, rightly or wrongly. Requiring property owners to sign up for a special service is woefully inadequte.
Furthermore, the Recorders Office has a moral obligation to the community to educate, provide real instruction, real direction to protect the homeowner from wrongful and suspicious liens.
Candidate for Salt Lake County Recorder