Action 9: HOA fines woman $11,000 for warped fence



CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A single mother bought a home with a bad fence and her homeowners association fined her thousands of dollars. When she didn't pay it, the HOA threatened to legally take her home away.

She turned to Action 9's Jason Stoogenke before she and her 7-year-old daughter would have been forced to move out.

Megan Chandler bought the Indian Trail house with a rundown fence and was getting fined $25 every day for more than 400 days.

"It was actually pretty warped when we moved in," Chandler said. She said she did not have the money to fix the fence.

Then she started getting fined.

"They went from lackadaisical to extremely aggressive," she said.

Chandler finally bought a new fence about 18 months later after receiving fines up to $10,851.

"This is not just," she said.

"North Carolina law does give the homeowner association a lot of power," said attorney David Thurman, who is not associated with the case but is familiar with HOA cases.

He said if the homeowner cannot afford to pay HOA fines then he or she should immediately raise the issue with the association.

"I would go to the board and explain your situation and just explain your side of the story and see if they will be sympathetic and listen to it," Thurman said. "If they aren't, you need to consult a counsel. You need to get somebody who is going to advocate for you."

Within a few days after Chandler reached out to Action 9, the HOA's lawyer agreed to waive all fines and cancel the lien as long as she pays late charges, attorney fees and court cost totaling $852.

That amount was still high for Chandler.

There was also a difference in lawyer costs and Action 9 approached the HOA's lawyer about the amount.

Following that, Chandler received an email from the HOA that read, "We are going to waive the $70 that you questioned through Mr. Stoogenke. Hopefully, that puts us in a position to wrap this up with you."