HOA suing family for forgetting $120 fee - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

HOA suing family for forgetting $120 fee

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BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) It may not sound like a lot of money, but an unpaid $120 bill could force a Boca Raton family out of their home.

Asher Essebag has lived in a Boca Del Mar home for 12 years with his family, but by next month they could be forced out. He's up to date on his mortgage, but Essebag and his family are haunted by a Homeowners' Association fee he forgot to pay earlier this year.

"Next thing I know, I have a police officer at my door serving me with a summons," said Essebag.

The summons read that if the fee isn't paid to the Boca Del Mar Improvement Association, he'll be foreclosed on. Essebag didn't think that would be a problem, since the fee was just $120. But it grew over time to twenty times more. Now that the Association is suing to collect the bill, it skyrocketed to $2400 to include legal fees.

"Now that they're asking for almost $2400, it's looking more like a reality. If I cannot come up with this money, I will lose this house," said Essebag.

Attorney Dan Kaskel says it's common and well within an HOA's right to use foreclosure to collect unpaid fees. But Kaskel says it's unfortunate the legal system could oust the family over what was originally a small amount.

"The fees are three times what the annual assessment was. It doesn't warrant a foreclosure over $120," said Kaskel.

Essebag, a musician and graphic artist, says $2400 isn't something he can pay overnight, but losing his house isn't an option.

"I would do anything to stay in this house. But that threat of 'pay us or we'll take your house' it's a real threat," he said.

Essebag filed for a 30-day extension with the courts, so he has until January 3rd to try and settle this. Attorneys for the HOA have not yet responded to that extension, or returned NewsChannel 5's phone calls for comment.
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