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Florida homeowners associations going after banks for back fees

Florida abounds with empty homes that have been foreclosed on due to homeowners who have filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy or who have had trouble making their mortgage payments. This has resulted in a surprising turn of events in which homeowners associations are faced with lenders not maintaining the vacant properties they've taken over -- or paying the association dues.

Homeowners associations take care of the maintenance in the neighborhood grounds. They rely on homeowners' fees for services such as landscaping, garbage collection, and water. The entire neighborhood can suffer when funds are too low to perform the necessary maintenance, and dues for each individual homeowner can even increase to cover the unpaid costs.

Homeowners and associations alike are fighting back by foreclosing on the banks that are delinquent in their dues. By putting liens on these properties, many have been able to get the banks to settle on their association bills and keep the costs down for the rest of the neighborhood.

Several local bankruptcy attorneys have filed thousands of liens and foreclosures against banks on behalf of the associations. These actions are proving largely successful, with late association dues being paid in more than 90 percent of the cases. This is beneficial for the residents and associations alike. With today's financial challenges, nobody needs higher association dues.

Upholding the responsibility of a bank which owns a foreclosed home to pay dues and maintain the property is one of the ways a bankruptcy attorney can ensure other neighborhood residents don't have the hardship of increased bills and a declining neighborhood.

Source: CNN Money, "Payback time: Florida homeowners foreclosing on banks," Les Christie, Jan. 4, 2013

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