Vigilante homeowners in Florida are turning the tables on banks by foreclosing on them over unpaid homeowner fees, which can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
Although banks are typically the ones foreclosing on homeowners who can't pay their mortgages, those same banks sometimes fail to pay the homeowners fees that come with holding those properties after foreclosure, reported CNN.
And when banks fail to pony up, associations have hit back by imposing liens on those properties. If they still fail to pay, associations pursue foreclosures against the banks -- a reversal of the process that banks typically pursue against homeowners.
Ben Solomon, an attorney in Miami, told CNN that of the 1,100 liens his firm has filed, 131 led to foreclosure threats, although 90 percent of those resulted in banks settling. In one such suit, JPMorgan Chase owed $20,000 in fees and bills that accumulated over two years.
Only once did he recall actually foreclosing on a property, which was held by NovaStar, a mortgage servicer.
Without that money, homeowners associations may not have enough funds for basic neighborhood services like garbage collection or other maintenance and may raise fees to compensate for the loss.
JPMorgan Chase admits such fees are indeed the bank's responsibility; others banks, such as Deutsche Bank, have argued that mortgage companies are responsible. However, Florida attorney Michael Gelfand told CNN that banks, more often than not, officially hold the mortgage.
[Image: JeffreyTurner on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]