February 26, 2014

My Homeowners’ Association just served me with a foreclosure suit. Can I really lose my home?

It happens to the best of us, when times get tough, we prioritize which bill to pay with what’s left of our paycheck and try to put off what we can for the next pay cycle. The problem is we may not realize that some bills just will not wait.

Did you know that failing to pay your condominium or homeowners’ association dues could land you in foreclosure lawsuit? It is true.

Just like the bank, your association can foreclose on your house, townhouse or condo for falling behind on your payments. The association can place a lien on your property upon your account becoming delinquent. Once a lien is filed, the association can file a foreclosure suit against you in either county or circuit court, depending on the amount they are claiming you owe them. And, just like the bank, the association can take your home away from you, if you fail to act.

Condo and homeowner association attorneys are known to move quickly to foreclose on properties. Unlike the bank, the association does not have thousands upon thousands of cases. Every homeowner who fails to pay their dues causes a very direct impact to the community. Maintenance to common areas, such as community gyms, pools, parking lots, landscaping / lawn maintenance, etc., are contingent on the association’s ability to pay for the upkeep. A nicely kept neighborhood can lose curb appeal quickly when homeowners fail to pay. Not having your monthly payment, makes a notable impression on the community, so associations are eager to begin collecting assessments as soon as possible.

Also, attorneys for the associations know that they can accrue attorneys’ fees by working on your case for which you, the property owner, will be ultimately responsible. Racking up attorneys fees, costs, interest, late fees and other penalties, your few missed payments can increase exponentially once the foreclosure suit is filed against you. And they will only continue to amass, if you do not act immediately.

Moreover, these foreclosure actions are much harder to defend than those filed by the banks. A standard uniform residential mortgage has several defenses built right into the ~20-page mortgage document. Your condominium documents do not afford you with nearly as many defenses. If your property is being rented, the association can move the Court to collect rent from your tenant while the case is being litigated. The cases move to summary judgment much more quickly and once that is obtained your home can be sold at auction in 30 days. Time is of the essence when dealing with any legal action, but this cannot be stressed enough when it comes to association foreclosures.

Defenses are limited in association cases, but they do exist. You have rights, but you won’t know what they are until you speak with an experienced foreclosure attorney.

Consulting with a lawyer as soon as possible may help you save your home from foreclosure. A qualified attorney can give you information about your options and can help you make the right decision as to how you will contend with the association foreclosure. Whether that means defending the association lawsuit in Court or assisting you in negotiating a payment plan, having the right counselor can get you back on track and help you stay in your home.

Neustein Law Group, P.A. can help you with your condo or homeowners’ association foreclosure case. With offices in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and throughout the State of Florida, meeting with an experienced professional is just minutes away from your home or office. The attorneys at Neustein Law Group, P.A. can help you defend your association foreclosure and negotiate a payment plan so that you can stay in your home.
Contact us today – 305-531-2545 (Direct) or 888-400-ATTY (2889) (Toll Free).