An elderly woman is facing the heartbreaking risk of losing the home she has resided in for more than three decades after falling on hard times.
Marie Riggins, 82, has resided in her home in the Carlton Square community of Inglewood, California, for 35 years and is now fighting to keep it after the community’s homeowner’s association left her with two options: pay the full $38,000 owed or move.
Riggins and her late husband moved into the community and their brand-new home in 1986 she began to fall behind on the dues in 2017 after his passing from complications related to pancreatic cancer. She filed for bankruptcy following his death and continues to work, while also relying on social security checks, but doesn’t find the funds to be enough to help her come up with the lump sum.
Regardless, Riggins has made it clear that she’s not going quietly into the night. “I’m trying to pay them to get my title back because I don’t plan to move from here. My husband died here. It makes me sick,” she said. “I said they’re going to have to kill me; it’s that bad.”
Riggins also disputed the high number that the Carlton Square Homeowners Association is claiming she owes, saying that it’s impossible for her to be that far in debt. “There’s no way in the world that I would owe $38,000,” she told KTLA. “That meant I never paid my property dues.” It’s unclear of Riggins’ exact circumstances, but in many cases, the amount of HOA fees will escalate when attorney fees are added after an association has decided to pursue the fees legally.
The area surrounding Riggins’ home is experiencing gentrification due to the 2020 completion and opening of the SoFi Stadium, which is about 1.5 miles from the Carlton Square neighborhood. The multi-billion-dollar project has been the source of much contention within the community and is currently the most expensive sports venue ever built. Riggins’ home is now worth close to $1 million.
A GoFundMe page was created by real estate lawyer Nissan Thomas Esq. on behalf of Riggins and explains that she has less than 30 days before she is locked out of her home. “The Los Angeles County Sheriff has placed a lockout notice on her door, and within less than 30 days, she will be permanently locked out of the home she has resided in for the past 30+ years. Ms. Riggins has retained our services to negotiate additional time to stay the lockout.”
The statement continued, “This campaign is designed to assist Ms. Riggins with whatever circumstance that may occur. Ms. Riggins is on a fixed income, so she needs resources to purchase her home, or in the alternative find another place to live. If she has to relocate, she will need to hire movers, secure storage facilities for her personal belongings, and to secure alternative housing.”
At the time of this writing, over $39,800 has been donated, more than enough for Riggins to cover her HOA fees, which is great news considering she wasn’t planning on leaving anyway. “My blood, sweat, and tears are in this house,” she stated. “This is my home; this is where I’m going to stay.”