Want the news summarized?
Subscribe to The Morning Report.

In my story Thursday exploring some of the losses resulting from a massive mortgage scam, I mentioned that “homeowners associations have struggled under the weight of delinquent dues” at the condo complexes struck by the swindle.

Friday, I got some specifics on what that struggle has looked like.

It’s been a rough year, I heard from Teresa Parkhurst, whose company manages two of the three complexes’ associations — Sommerset Villas in Escondido and Westlake Ranch in San Marcos.

Parkhurst said the vacancies left by foreclosure proved very attractive to squatters in Sommerset Villas.

“We had very active meth lab on the property. We had prostitution. We had a guy sleeping naked in the clubhouse,” she said. “The coin things were beaten off of the washer and dryer. So until we’re confident that the squatters have left for good we’ve got all of the common area amenities locked down.”

Besides vacancy, another big issue for the associations in these complexes is the financial losses from homeowners who didn’t pay their dues before falling into foreclosure, Parkhurst said.

Many of those homeowners were unwitting homeowners — straw buyers who lent Jim McConville use their identities to get mortgages to purchase the units in 2008. They themselves felt duped when we talked to them last year, having not been paid the $10,000 per condo they were promised and facing credit ruin.

But, Parkhurst said, those buyers aren’t immune from the debt they owe the homeowners associations in these complexes. And the associations are pursuing legal remedies to collect the money that’s owed to them, she said.

“They’re the ones who signed on the dotted line, and that’s all we care about,” she said. “We don’t care about their involvement or how they became involved or their sob story about how they’re a victim — they were a victim by choice. The HOA was not a victim by choice.”

Parkhurst said she’s encouraged that the complexes are beginning to attract new owners and scrape together the resources to clean up the properties.

— KELLY BENNETT

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.