Grantsville neighborhood surprised to learn homes are in HOA

Grantsville neighborhood surprised to learn homes are in HOA (Photo: KUTV)

Gaynel Cromwell has owned a home in Grantsville for about a year and a half. One of the major selling points: it's not in a homeowner’s association, she said.

So imagine her surprise when she got a letter from a neighboring community's HOA telling her that she needs for plant a few more bushes, trees and put some rocks along the street.

“[The letter is] saying we're not in compliance and we have 10 days to get our stuff in order," Cromwell said.

Cromwell was also told she needs to start paying the association $30 per month for dues. She says she protested that nobody told her anything about an HOA when she bought. The real estate listing has no mention of an HOA and the seller clearly marked, "no," when asked if there was an HOA.

The HOA bosses did not relent. Cromwell was again told she needs to pay dues and change your property or face a fine or a lien.

Cromwell says she absolutely would not have moved in if she’d known it was a part of an HOA, "because there's too many restrictions."

Cromwell says she is angry, both for herself and for a handful of her neighbors who tell Get Gephardt they have received similar threatening letters from an HOA they didn't even know existed.

"I'd just like them to leave all of us in phase two alone and quit sending threatening letters to us," Cromwell said.

A spokesperson for the South Willows HOA refused to do an on camera interview but, by email, was adamant that Cromwell and her neighbors are in the HOA.

Tooele county records show, sure enough, bad news for Cromwell: An HOA has been in place 2005 on her entire subdivision.

She bought the house in 2015, 10 years after the HOA was recorded. It seems it was in place, but had not been enforced until recently in Cromwell’s area of the relatively new community.

Attorney Gregory Schultz specializes in real estate law. Speaking generically, he has even more bad news for Cromwell: legally, she's probably stuck.

"It doesn't matter if you knew about it or didn't, an HOA is something that affects the property," he said. "There isn't really a good way to get out of the HOA."

Schulz says this is a good example of why people need to pay close attention to their title insurance report. In this case, the title insurance company did catch it but it was not brought to her attention, she says.

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