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Unpaid fees lead to home auction

The 75-year-old woman's Carrollwood home will be sold Tuesday. She plans to move to a rental house.

By TIM GRANT

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 12, 2001


TAMPA -- A 75-year-old woman is losing her home because she failed to pay homeowner dues in her Carrollwood subdivision.

Mary Govantes' 1,300-square-foot home in Plantation will be sold to the highest bidder Tuesday morning at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in an attempt to recoup the $5,600 she owes in dues and legal fees.

"I feel angry about it," Mrs. Govantes said. "I feel the Plantation homeowners association likes to take people's houses."

It has happened before.

A single mother in Plantation lost her $88,000 home just before Christmas for a $500 debt she owed the homeowners association.

But in this case, Mrs. Govantes' total debts on the house are more than it is worth.

The homeowners association may not recoup what it is owed, lien holders won't get paid, and Mrs. Govantes will lose her $56,000 home at 10410 Rosemount Drive.

"I agree that people shouldn't lose their homes over assessments," said Tom Jones, Plantation property manager. "There are many alternatives, and one is to pay your dues. We do this as a last resort."

Mrs. Govantes said she is making arrangements to move to a rental house in West Tampa.

Mrs. Govantes has not made a payment to the association in more than two years, records show.

Jones said he tried to work with her by arranging payment plans to avoid foreclosure. But she and her daughter Rosalie broke two agreements, even after he lowered their agreed monthly payment, Jones said.

Mrs. Govantes said she co-signed the mortgage with her daughter with the understanding that her daughter would pay the monthly assessment and a $25,000 second mortgage on the house. Mrs. Govantes would pay the $619 mortgage. She receives $600 monthly from Social Security.

Mrs. Govantes kept the mortgage current, but her daughter failed to pay the assessments or the home equity loan, she said.

Rosalie Govantes said that she gave her mother two years notice that she was moving out and that if her mother could not afford to live there, she should have moved. The daughter said she lived with her mother during those two years but did not pay the monthly dues.

"There would have been nothing for me to save," she said.

Govantes said she has no ill will toward her 35-year-old daughter, who still lives with her. Instead, she blames Plantation.

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