Neighbors say a local homeowners’ association is unfairly targeting homeowners. 10News WTSP uncovers more problems with a Bay area HOA.
“They’re just looking for ways to trip people up, so they can really steal their home," says Rivercrest homeowner Joseph Matteucci.
Neighbors like Matteucci aare reaching out to 10News saying the Rivercrest HOA’s fines and threats of foreclosure are out of control. The subdivision is located just east of U.S. 301 near Symmes Road in Riverview.
Last month, 10News told you about the Lopez family. They say a $150 unknowingly missed payment turned into more than $3,000. Now, they're battling to keep their home.
They Lopez family says they’re not the only ones feeling bullied by the board.
“I asked you how do we resolve this? You said you can't resolve this,” says Matteucci to the Rivercrest HOA.
Frustrations flared for Matteucci at a recent HOA meeting. “Let's go back to the $1,000 you owe me,” Matteucci says.
The family didn't really have the welcome mat rolled out when they moved into the neighborhood in 2014. Two days before they even closed on the house, the Rivercrest HOA filed foreclosure papers on the home, and the Matteuccis received the bill -- a back-payment to the HOA that wasn't even theirs.
“They turn $90 into $1,436 in less than six months,” says Matteucci.
He says he tried for more than a year to get it resolved with his title company, HOA, Wise Property Management, and Bush Ross attorneys. Matteucci filed Better Business Bureau complaints, then got slapped with more fines for a bill he says they never sent, but forked over the money fearing foreclosure.
“We paid everything to get it out of the way and then fight later,” says Matteucci.
The Matteucci family had been trying to put their foreclosure threat in the past, until they saw the Lopez family’s story that the same HOA just foreclosed on their home and sold it at auction. A pattern the neighbors say has to be stopped.
“They’re trying to take my house, after we worked so hard to keep a roof over them,” says Luis Lopez through tears.
“I don't understand how they are getting away with this,” Matteucci says.
10News has been reaching out to the property manager, whose office referred us to their Bush Ross attorney. 10News called and stopped by the Bush Ross office and was told attorney Charles Glausier wasn’t there. It prompted an email response: “Bush Ross does not comment on pending litigation. Our client's position is set forth in the court file for the foreclosure lawsuit.”
For the Matteucci family, it's not the way they want to feel at home. “I don't have to deal with that. I can just sell my house. I'm not going to give my money to crooks,” says Matteucci.
The Lopez family has a court hearing the end of the month to fight the foreclosure. 10News will be there.
The Lopez family’s cries for help has prompted action. Hillsborough County Commissioner Stacy White reached out to Sen. Bill Galvano. Galvano is now working with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which licenses HOAs in the state. However, it's up to lawmakers to pass a bill to give the agency authority to investigate HOA complaints.
HOAs always seem to be in the news: