Whether you live in a gated community or in a normal neighborhood district, one thing can be certain. The Homeowner’s Association you are forced to work with has a list of unnecessary rules and an even longer list of lawyers.
At Bella Collina, a gated community located in central Florida, the HOA rules hold everyone in fear. In order to live at Bella Collina, you have to pay between 40,000 and 80,000 in club fees, as well as an annual 5,000 to 10,000 to keep up with it. Even if you’ve been banned from the Club, you will still be forced to pay the fees.
Residents Don Juravin and his family have experienced the unreasonable rulings first hand. Mr. Juravin moved into Bella Collina in December of 2015. After a few months of living in Bella Collina, he was tired of living in a community that claimed to be one thing on the advertising brochure, but was in fact something else. For the amount of money invested in Bella Collina, the Club, and the amenities, the return was small.
Mr. Juravin penned a review and placed it on Google. The retaliation he received through Bella Collina’s HOA bankrupted him.
Immediately, the Juravin family–including his wife Anna and their three daughters–were banned from Bella Collina’s Club. The letter Mr. Juravin received marked the family as “dangerous.” When a neighbor took the Juravin children to the community pool with her own children, the Juravin daughters were told they could not enter.
Despite being banned from the pool, the Juravin family was still forced to pay the massive fees associated with the Club. Meanwhile, Mr. Juravin was told by the local court that the fees were legal, because he agreed to them. Moreover, the court reasoned that the fees were legal because Mr. Juravin was paying them, in a sort of round about form of logic.
Mr. Juravin was not the only homeowner that tried, and failed to take on Bella Collina. Other families tried to actively fight the HOA at Bella Collina, only to be chased away.
Three families, the Heckenbergs, the Sheltons, and the Sutherins, sued the Bella Collina club, calling the massive Club fees they were forced to pay “unjust” and even “illegal.” However, even in these cases, while the homeowners were not paying the fees, their cases were dismissed.
In retaliation, Bella Collina cancelled the school bus that came to pick up the Sutherin children. The children were forced to leave the community to be picked up by the bus. Eventually, the Sutherins were forced to move to another neighborhood.
HOA has made it clear: you can’t just leave your HOA past behind. It will catch up to you. The Sutherins were chased down by the property manager, Randall Greene. Greene sent a mug to the Sutherins with a note: we haven’t forgotten that you owe us HOA fees.