Contact 13 Investigates
Mortgage Meltdown: BOA vs. HOA
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- From busting Bank of America to the HOA Hall of Shame, Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has kept Las Vegas' mortgage meltdown in the spotlight for two years now.
Tonight, Darcy has a story of BOA versus HOA with a homeowner caught in the middle.
How in the world does a $700,000 home sell for under $7,000?
"I was floored. I was completely freaked out!" says Char Vanderveen, a mortgage broker and mortgage banker for nearly two decades.
She knows how the system should work.
"It just all seems very shady to me."
The Cascade subdivision at Mountain's Edge has been through three builders in five years.
When Char bought a new home there in 2007, she got caught up in the Countrywide sub-prime loan scandal.
"At Countrywide, they lied to me, they bait and switched me..."
BOA, who bought out Countrywide, agreed to a modification. And as a sub-prime loan victim, Char got a twelve dollar settlement check through the Federal Trade Commission.
She keeps it as a reminder of how little help Countrywide homeowners got.
But that was just the beginning of her troubles.
While she was working out her loan modification with BOA, the builder went bankrupt.
"At the same time, the HOA I guess was still effective, but they were not doing the services that we were paying for. So there was no guard, there was no clean-up services, nothing."
Even the HOA statements, which Char was getting every month when she first moved to Cascade, stopped coming.
She didn't know what was going on, but says BOA told her they'd process all payments, including whatever was owed to her HOA.
"Because they kept saying, we're handling, we're handling, we're handling it, I thought it was handled! And then I wake up to this notice on my gate that you have three days to vacate."
But not from BOA. The Cascade HOA foreclosed on Char's house for non-payment of dues.
Char: "I never once got a delinquent bill from the HOA from the get-go."
Darcy: "No statements saying you owe dues? No statements saying you're past due?"
Darcy: "No statements saying you've gone to collection?"
Char: "Nothing. I got nothing."
With collection costs and attorney fees tacked on to unpaid dues, the HOA sold Char's half-million-dollar home for $6,634.
Char called Contact 13 and after we contacted BOA on her behalf, they jumped into action and bought her house back.
Darcy: "So do you think by going to this extraordinary step of actually buying your house back out of foreclosure, they're admitting that they made a mistake?"
Char: "Absolutely, because there's no way they would be talking to me had I not contacted you."
Char's getting her monthly HOA statements again and she's paying the $90-a-month dues herself. But BOA still hasn't put the home back in her name.
"I don't trust Bank of America," Char says. "I'll be a lot more comfortable in my house once I get something in writing."
What Char recently got in writing is not at all what she expected. BOA seems to be holding her house over her head to hush her up.
Before they'll sign the house back over to her, they want her to sign a settlement agreement promising she'll never sue them and promising she'll keep quiet.
No talking to the media. No posts on the Internet, including Facebook. They don't even want her to tweet about it.
Char says there's no way she'll sign the settlement documents. She wants her story to be told.
"I don't gamble, but I do gamble on my life when it comes to what's important, what makes sense and doing the right thing. And that is why I've been in this fight."
BOA continues to refuse our requests for on-camera interviews.
Though the settlement agreement they sent Char says they disagree that they failed to pay off the HOA, the written statement they sent us says, "We apologize to Ms. Vanderveen for our part in this situation. When we found out that fees were due to the homeowners' association, we made a payment but the association did not accept it and moved forward with the foreclosure. Since the day it occurred, we have been working diligently to reverse the proceedings. Ms. Vanderveen has remained in her home throughout this process."
Contact 13 will be following up to see if they let her stay.
And in the meantime, Contact 13 will continue to stand with homeowners in their fights against the big banks. If you're in the midst of a mortgage meltdown and need our help, email us at email@example.com.