POA dues issue could lead to home foreclosure

POA dues issue could lead to home foreclosure

NEW BERN - Some homeowners in Fairfield Harbour could be facing foreclosure if they don't pay back thousands of dollars in late property owners association dues.

Those homeowners stopped paying their dues in 2012 because they were upset dues had increased from $400 in 2009 to $659 in 2013.

In September, about 20 people brought legal action against Fairfield Harbour Property Owners Association alleging the POA misused the funds. After a six day hearing, Superior Court Judge Jay Hockenbury ruled against the Plaintiffs.

As a result of that ruling, the homeowners that didn't pay dues will be on a lien and could face foreclosure. Judge Hockenbury ordered the plaintiffs pay a cost of $110,975.41.

The attorney for the plaintiffs, Lee Bettis, said they plan to appeal the ruling.

"They've watched their dues go up over %50 over the last 3 or 4 years," Bettis said.

Bettis' argued that Fairfield Harbour is not one but two neighborhoods separated by Broad Creek Rd. Some people living in the neighborhood feel dues collected from the West side of the community were used in East side improvements. However, the judge ruled Fairfield Harbour as a unified community.

Management for FHPOA said the dues increased to fund the neighborhood and that before the increase the budget wasn't balanced.

"The dues are used for over 30 miles of roadways, we have over 20 miles of storm water management," POA manager Mystre' Van Horn said. "It is a corporation, it is a business, and a business must budget to meet it's expenditures."

Despite the judge's ruling, Bettis said he plans to appeal the decision.

"The order will go up on appeal," Bettis said. "This case, when the court of appeals decides it, [will lead to] new law in North Carolina."

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