Woodlands sets home foreclosure / Group moves to collect fees on vacant house

Jul 6, 2006

The Woodlands Association is moving toward its first foreclosure on an abandoned house in the Sterling Ridge neighborhood.

The homeowners group, which covers newer villages in The Woodlands, has been trying to track down the property owner or financing agency for the home at 34 Bantam Woods Circle for three years to collect $12,000 in back assessment and maintenance fees. The association has been unable to locate the person responsible for the house, and if no one steps forward, there will be a foreclosure sale Sept. 5.

"The only way to clear our delinquent assessment is to post for foreclosure," said Joel Deretchin, president of The Woodlands Association. "It will bring the party or parties of interest so we can deal with them."

Missing owner

This will be the third time The Woodlands has foreclosed on a property. The Woodlands Community Association, the sister homeowner group that covers older villages, has foreclosed on two properties for health and safety issues. Unlike those properties, the home is not a hazard, but the property has remained unkempt and The Woodlands has had to maintain it. In the Bantam Woods Circle case, a property owner cannot be found.

"There is no property owner," said Hennie van Rensburg, director of covenant administration for The Woodlands. "Nobody is living there. We are not putting anyone out in the street."

The house was constructed in 2002 and has never been lived in, Deretchin said. The house is appraised at $481,970, according to records from the Montgomery County Appraisal District.

The owner of record is Juan Cardoza, but there is no phone listing for this name in The Woodlands or the Greater Houston area. The mailing address is listed as "care of Dorothy Hedwood" in Houston, but there is no phone listed under that name and address in the phone directory, Deretchin said.

Collecting taxes

The Woodlands Association will post a notice of the foreclosure sale at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Aug. 1.

Deretchin said the property also has outstanding taxes from Montgomery County. Those liens also would have to be addressed, Deretchin said.

According to Montgomery County Tax Office records, no taxes have been paid on the property since 2003, and there is an outstanding $28,000 owed to all county taxing entities, which includes school district, county, hospital district and municipal utility districts.

The Woodlands has spent about three years trying to track down the owner or a mortgage company, with no luck. It is resorting to the foreclosure sale to find the owner or company or to sell the lien for assessments. Deretchin said they intend to send notices to all parties they have contacted on the case in the past.

"It is not our intention to foreclose," Deretchin said. "We hope we can find the owners. But we do not have names for any of the parties and unless they pay the assessment, we are taking our action against them. If no one comes forward, we will foreclose on the house."

. . .


According to The Woodlands Association covenants, the following remedies are available to the association to collect back assessments:

Bring an action in law against the owners, including delinquent assessments, penalties, interest, costs of collection, court costs and reasonable attorneys fees

Furnish to mortgage holder notices of sums owed to TWA

Authorize the foreclosure of the TWA covenants lien

Bring an action for judicial foreclosure

Read More: Beth Kuhes, houston chronicle

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