Home Owner’s Associations (HOAs) have more power than one might think. HOAs can even foreclose on your home. If the homeowner is failing to pay HOA dues, that individual is in fact eligible to be kicked out of the home, even if he/she is current on mortgage payments. However, there are ways that home owners can vindicate themselves of the charges and stay in the home. Anyone fighting with an HOA over this matter should follow these steps to gain a clear understanding of the situation and secure the home.
Request a List of Charges
First, contact the HOA and ask for a detailed list of all of the charges and fees that are owed. Review this list carefully to assess if the charges are accurate. Everyone makes mistakes, so it is possible that the HOA has wrongly assigned fees. If the homeowner is unsure about any of the charges, he/she should make sure to ask for clarification.
Consider If the Fees are Excessive
If the individual being foreclosed upon can prove that the fees are excessive, the foreclosure may be able to be stopped. Excessive fees may include: an unreasonable amount of interest on the debt balance, steep fines for lateness, or charges that are not legally authorized by the CC&R (the rules of the neighborhood). If any of the charges against the homeowner are invalid, the foreclosure is likely invalid as well.
Review State Laws & Procedures
Finally, look over all of the documents that are in your possession about the measures taken by the HOA to foreclose on the home. The laws and procedures regarding HOA foreclosures vary in every state.
In Florida, the procedure for HOA foreclosures is as follows:
- The HOA must first provide the homeowner with a demand letter for payment that allows 45 days to pay all dues.
- After 45 days have passed, the HOA must then provide the owner with a notice of intent to file a lien. A lien is the HOA’s right to obtain possession of their home until the debt is paid.
- If the owner still has not paid the dues thirty days after the notice of intent was delivered, the HOA can then go ahead and file its lien.
- The HOA can begin regular foreclosure procedures as a last resort if all other efforts have not been effective.
Truth be told, it is rarely this simple. The laws and procedures differ in every situation, depending on when the HOA recorded its CC&R’s, whether a lien has been recorded against the home in the past, and if the homeowner is in bankruptcy proceedings, among other factors.
Clearly, HOA foreclosures are complicated. It’s important to consult with a Miami foreclosure defense attorney to discuss your legal options and the possible repercussions. The attorney’s at Graham Legal are experts in this field, and will help you fight your HOA to avoid foreclosure. For a free consultation, call us today.