Restraints Broadened Against Realty Firm

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge Thursday temporarily barred a Burbank real estate company from several practices that are the subject of a $10-million fraud suit by an indigent woman who bought a house from the firm.

Judge John L. Cole, broadening an earlier order that applied only to the mother of five who brought the suit, ordered Los Angeles Homeowners Aid Inc. not to wrongly foreclose on any homes until the suit is tried. The suit contends that the company foreclosed on several homes whose owners were charged improper late fees for overdue mortgage payments. Excessive charges for lateness were prohibited as well.

The judge also barred the company from selling additional properties unless buyers are given essential information about financing arrangements, such as balloon payments.

The order was issued in a suit filed on behalf of 32-year-old Annie Hall of South-Central Los Angeles, whose attorney, Kevin Kane, contends that she and other poor people were deceived into buying houses from Homeowners Aid with hidden balloon payments. Damages are being sought for any affected homeowners.

Hall said she was told that a three-bedroom house at 2810 2nd Ave. would be hers in 10 years after a down payment of $5,000 and monthly payments of $651. Instead, the payments actually leave a balloon payment nearly equal to the $69,950 purchase price, according to Hall.