A recent column in the Los Angeles Times addressed an interesting issue regarding assessment collection on units or lots owned by soldiers who are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere.
The article referenced a community association in Texas that proceeded to foreclose on its lien recorded against a home owned by a soldier that was on active duty in Iraq. As the article indicates, while the soldier was in Iraq, his wife was in the home but “suffered from anxiety and depression over her husband’s tour of duty, didn’t open the certified letters informing her that the $315,000 home in Frisco, Texas was about to be sold to collect $977.55 in back dues [assessments] (although by the time the home went to auction, legal costs had ballooned the amount to about $2,600)."
The house was sold in a foreclosure sale, the buyer sold it to an investor, a lawsuit ensued and eventually the parties settled.
The law, the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940, was originally enacted during World War II and rewritten in 2003 as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The statute protects active-duty military families from foreclosures, evictions and other financial consequences they are not in a position to deal with while on active duty and for up to a year after active duty.