Three Major Mistakes by Homeowners When it Comes to Association Dues

Condominium AssociationBy Omar J. Arcia, Esq.
Foreclosure Defense and Bankruptcy Protection Attorney

 

Many homeowners that have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, also make the decision to stop paying their homeowners’ association dues. If a homeowner is trying to save their home, non payment of association dues is perhaps one of the worst decisions they can make. Homeowners can quickly find themselves defending two foreclosure actions, one from the mortgage company and one from the homeowner’s association. The following are three major mistakes by homeowners when it comes to collection of association dues. 

Only the mortgage company has the right to foreclose on a home. This is just not true. Florida law permits homeowners’ associations to place a lien against your property for the value of any unpaid dues or assessments, quickly foreclose, and take possession of the property to recover the value of that lien. Generally speaking, there are fewer defenses to an association action than a mortgage foreclosure action. Also, because the amount in controversy is usually less than $15,000, association foreclosure actions may be filed in the lesser backlogged county courts. This means that association foreclosure actions are completed much quicker than mortgage foreclosure cases – usually in less than 6 months.

An association will not foreclose if there is no equity in the property. Just the opposite is the case. Since there is a significant mortgage ahead of the association lien, at a foreclosure auction, the association itself is usually the highest bidder and becomes the new “owner” of the property. More and more homeowners’ associations are foreclosing on South Florida homes in order to take possession of the property and rent it out to recover the unpaid dues, until and when the mortgage company forecloses. Accordingly, an association may foreclose and deprive you of your property if there is equity or not.    

There is no need to hire an attorney to defend an association foreclosure action. Like in a mortgage foreclosure action, there are a number of defenses to an association foreclosure action which may only be effectively developed in court by a law firm with experience and specialized knowledge on how to defend association foreclosure actions. An attorney can also help you negotiate a structured settlement of your association debt with affordable payments to avoid foreclosure. There are also bankruptcy related strategies that can be implemented to reduce or wipe out homeowners’ association debt altogether. If you have fallen behind on your association payments, or recently received an association foreclosure action, it is important that you retain a well qualified law firm, like the Arcia Law Firm, to fully represent your interests.      

The Arcia Law Firm is privileged to represent dozens of homeowners in our community in association foreclosure and collection actions. More detailed explanations of different options available to homeowners in foreclosure, at risk of foreclosure, or considering bankruptcy are discussed in a new consumer DVD developed by the Arcia Law Firm entitled “Fight For Your Home.” If you mention that you heard about the DVD through blog post you will receive a FREE copy during your appointment to discuss your case in detail with a member of our legal team. You may contact the Arcia Law Firm at 954-437-9066 to schedule your free consultation. You may also visit www.arcialawfirm.com for more information about the Firm, and to make your appointment online.

 

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