Make us your home page

Brandon couple caught in HOA foreclosure

Ron and Angela Zappia are in a tight spot.

Angela has lung cancer that has spread to her liver. Ron has asthma and a lung disease believed to be related to his volunteer work at the World Trade Center site after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The couple, who moved from New Jersey to Brandon in 2006, fell behind on the mortgage on their $265,000 home a couple of years ago. They've been trying to work out a loan modification with their lender while the bank foreclosure is pending. When they got about $600 behind on their homeowners association dues, Ron Zappia assumed the debt would be rolled into their loan modification.

Bad news: The homeowners association foreclosed first. The Zappias' house was auctioned in mid April, and it was purchased for $3,780 — the amount of the outstanding lien — by Prop Inc. The company and its affiliates were profiled in a recent St. Petersburg Times story for their acquisition of 71 homeowners association foreclosures in Hillsborough County over the past eight months.

Angela Zappia said Prop Inc.'s agent, Lisa Gerhart, came by in late May with an ultimatum. She threatened to evict the family, which includes three kids ages 10, 12, and 16, unless the Zappias started paying rent. One other option offered by Gerhart: Pay $15,000 for Prop Inc. to go away.

"I said, 'Are you throwing me out of my own home?' and she said yes," said Zappia, who was unaware her home had been sold until Gerhart showed up at her door. Gerhart did not return a call seeking comment.

The Zappias, who get $2,100 a month in disability payments, had little choice but to begin paying rent. Gerhart gave them a "discounted" rate of $1,000 a month but made an unusual demand. If Ron Zappia, a mental health counselor who volunteered at the World Trade Center site after the attacks, gets any settlement from the 9/11 fund, Prop Inc. will collect $400 a month in back rent.

Prop Inc., which already has nearly recouped its investment in the Zappia's home, told the family it will pay the homeowners association dues out of the rent, but it will not make any mortgage, tax or insurance payments on behalf of the property. Angela Zappia said Gerhart told her Prop Inc. will try to buy the house from the bank in a short sale.

"Then she said we could use her mortgage company and borrow money from them to repurchase it," Zappia said. "But I've got news for her: I wouldn't buy a thing from them."

Zappia is still trying to figure out how someone could get title to her house for pennies on the dollar.

"It may be legal," she said. "But it's so hard to believe when you're living it."

Kris Hundley can be reached at or (727)892-2996.

Brandon couple caught in HOA foreclosure 07/02/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 2, 2011 9:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa is 15th-most popular city to move to with U-Haul


    TAMPA —Tampa is undoubtedly a destination point, at least according to U-Haul.

    Tampa is the No. 15 destination for people moving with U-Haul trucks. | Times file photo
  2. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall


    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  3. Westshore Marina District project takes shape with another acquisition

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — One of Tampa Bay's prime waterfront areas took another major step toward redevelopment Friday as WCI Communities bought 2.35 acres in Westshore Marina District.

    WCI Communities, Lennar's high-end subsidiary,has paid $2.5 million for 2.35 acres in the Westshore Marina District for 35 townhomes. WCI is under contract  to buy an additional 9.5 acres.
[BTI Partners]
  4. Posh Guy Harvey RV park to open in Tampa Bay with $250,000 cottages


    HOLIDAY — Love those Guy Harvey T-shirts with the soaring marlins? In the not too distant future, you might be able to kick back in your own Guy Harvey cottage in the first-ever Guy Harvey RV park.

    Renderings of the clubhouse and an RV cottage site of the planned Guy Harvey Outpost Club & Resort Tarpon Springs.
[Guy Harvey Outpost Collection]
  5. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel


    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.