An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published October 17, 2020


A report by Ken Amaro on First Coast News published on August 15, 2020 headlined Navy couple fights to save home from HOA lawsuit got my attention. With the help of Ken Amaro I got in touch with the couple and found out that the family with seven kids was threatened by their HOA with foreclosure and unable to pay the amount demanded by the association attorney.


After talking to the couple it turned out that they actually owed the association about $ 800 in unpaid dues, but after a payment-plan was rejected, the debt had risen to more than $5,800.00 an amount the family of the Navy Second Class Petty officer was unable to pay.


These cases always raise the question: Should a family lose their home to foreclosure for an actual small amount of money owed? Florida statutes allow huge legal fees to be added to small amounts owed, making it often impossible for families to save their home.


With the generous pro-bono help of Orlando attorney Barbara Stage we were able to reduce the debt to a final amount of $3,600.00 by asserting the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides protections for those who make sacrifices in their personal lives to protect the freedom of others and defend the United States of America.  The Act includes limits on the rate of interest that can be charged to active duty military as well as other valuable protections and a stay of proceedings during deployment. Violations of the Act can carry significant penalties for an association.  CCF Foundation and the Navy couple shared this amount equally and Barbara Stage finally received the official RELEASE OF LIEN the document that officially showed that the home of the family was saved from foreclosure.


We should all learn from this example an example that had a Happy-End. Not all these cases have a happy-end and many of these cases end in foreclosure and the loss of homes.


The lesson to be learned: Contact the association immediately if financial hard ship causes dues to be unpaid, before legal fees create an amount that makes it impossible to repay the initially small debt owed. Propose a reasonable payment plan and make sure that you follow the provisions of this plan to the dot. This approach can save your home.


Our organization, CCFJ Foundation, and its donors were happy to help the service-member family in need and helped to keep a roof over the head of this couple with seven kids!