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Justice sought for elderly woman who nearly lost property due to late fees

Casa Del Sol Condominiums on Lomaland Drive.

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid is seeking justice for an elderly woman who nearly lost her property because of late fees.

KFOX14 first brought you the story last March.

Maria Nuñez, 88, lives at the Casa Del Sol Condominiums on Lomaland Drive.

One year ago, she thought she was about to end up living in the streets.

Despite paying off her mortgage in full six years ago, her property was foreclosed because of a missed payment to the condo association.

“It was the biggest scare of my life. But here I am. And I'm giving everyone advice to everyone that's in the same situation,” she said.

Even though Nuñez had paid off her condo, she is still responsible for paying an annual fee to the condo association.

When she made a late payment, she ended up accruing late fees that totaled over $1,300.

She paid it two months late, but at that point the condo association began charging her late fees on late fees.

At that point her condo was foreclosed. That’s when the TRLA stepped in to help.

Through fundraising, Nuñez was able to buy back her foreclosed condo, with the help of the TRLA.

“This association has determined that it is reasonable to charge $90 a month for late fees on late fees. And that's problematic because that runs counter to state law,” said attorney Veronica Carbajal.

Now, Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid is filing a lawsuit against the condo association.

Carbajal said it goes beyond Nuñez’s case, as they have reason the believe it’s happened to other condo owners.

“The question is, at the heart of this case, why the association is being allowed to encumber people and their properties with late fees that don't seem to have any basis in the law or in any material damage to the condominium association itself,” she said.

Nuñez wants older people to be especially careful so they don’t end up in her situation.

“We have to defend ourselves,” she said.

TRLA said it has tried settling the case multiple times over the past year unsuccessfully which is what led them to filing the lawsuit this week.

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