An elderly Kentucky woman has had her home auctioned off without her knowledge after she failed to pay her homeowner's association annual membership fees.
Ingrid Boak, a 75-year-old German immigrant, purchased her Lexington home in 2007 for $125,000.
As a condition of living on Winding Oak Trail, Boak was required to pay $48 a year in membership fees to the Masterson Station Neighborhood Association — a fact she says was never disclosed to her.
When she began receiving notices from the association, she ignored them, thinking membership was voluntary.
"I'm very cautious how I spend my money," Boak told LEX 18. "If it is frivolous, I don't go for it."
After she accumulated six years worth of unpaid dues and related notices, the association moved to foreclose on Boak's home.
While she was out of town on one her frequent business trips, Boak learned that a notice was posted on her door informing her that the house was sold at a Master Commissioner's sale for $93,500 and now belonged to someone else.
Prior to the sale, the warning order attorney informed the association that Boak "has not been notified of the nature and pendency" of the foreclosure.
The sale went ahead as scheduled.
"I believe that if a house can be sold without me personally getting something in my hand or signing something...it is almost like communism," Boak told the NBC affiliate.
The association, through its lawyer, insisted it had no idea the house was even occupied.
"Because of her failure to respond, the association had no way of knowing otherwise," said attorney Nathan Billings.
But according to Boak and her neighbors, no attempts were ever made to resolve the matter in person.
Boak has declined to appeal the sale, fearing expensive attorney fees. She did make a court appearance at a hearing concerning the distribution of money made from the sale of her home.
She ultimately received $88,000 — the rest went to the homeowner's association, the master commissioner, and their attorneys.
The new owner of Boak's home has allowed her to move back in, as a tenant.
"I'm paying rent on my own house," she told the news station. "There is something wrong with that system."
After her story received press coverage lass month, a Lexington city council member called for a review of the foreclosure, but experts said it will most likely stick.
Billings, the association's attorney, said Boak's case has had the effect of prompting others to pay their HOA dues.
"People realize the seriousness of not paying their dues, and a story like this helps elevate the importance of their obligation," he told the Herald Leader.
[screengrab via LEX18]