Texas Foreclosure Rates Boosted by Strict Homeowners' Associations

If you buy a home in Texas, pay those Homeowners Association dues: Not only can your HOA dictate what your property should look like, it can also take it away from you if you fail to pay dues.

There are four ways to lose your home in the Lone Star State:

  • Failure to pay taxes of any kind -- federal income taxes, or property taxes.

  • Mechanics liens, when you fail to pay a workman who has done work on your house, provided he correctly files a mechanics lien.

  • Purchase money mortgages, in other words, not paying your fee simple mortgage.

  • And failure to pay homeowners maintenance fees, a topic that was hotly debated in Austin during the last legislative session, as it has been for years.

In a recent session, HOA power and abuse was on the agenda again as Austin legislators listened to angry homeowners who say their homeowner associations are way out of control -- like the Houston homeowners who may end up paying $20,000 in fines because they had gray tape, not black, on their exterior waterlines.