Miami Homeowners’ Association Foreclosure Lawyer
When one thinks of Florida, one thinks of condos and homeowners’ associations (HOAs), given how numerous they are in our state. Living in a subdivision with a homeowners’ association can have real benefits – your subdivision’s roads, parks and community assets like pools are maintained and managed, and no one home is allowed to lower the property values. However, there are also obligations that come with being part of an HOA, and failure to meet them can result in what is referred to as an HOA foreclosure. If you have been threatened with an HOA foreclosure, there are possible defenses you may have available to you.
Different Than Bank Foreclosures
HOA foreclosures might seem similar to bank foreclosures in that they both result from a breach of contract – in one case, a contract to pay mortgage payments on time, in the other, a contract in which one agrees to pay HOA fees and dues. However, they are much more different than they are alike, and because of this, it is far too easy for the unsuspecting person to make mistakes in attempting to settle such a suit.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that HOA foreclosures are not as difficult to defend as one might think. While a homeowners’ association may have some restrictive covenants (promises to do or not do a certain thing that are usually embedded in leases and public records), this does not mean that a foreclosure must necessarily be an inevitability. There are ways to attempt to block a foreclosure, including procedural questions, defenses in equity or personal defenses, and more. For example, many HOAs do not provide homeowners sufficient notice before going ahead with a foreclosure filing – yet Sec. 720.3085 states that lien claims cannot be recorded until a 45 day notice period has passed. During that period, a homeowner might be able to pay off the arrearage, so a failure to provide that notice period may be a defense to the foreclosure.
How Can I Save My Home?
If you are ruled to be delinquent in paying HOA fees, dues or other expenses, the HOA can record the lien on your property after the 45-day period has passed. Once this has occurred, they have the right to rent out the unit to recover the amounts due to them. However, this obviously leaves the homeowner in a terrible position – especially since even after an HOA foreclosure, they remain responsible for any mortgage payments still owing on the home.
One resolution of an HOA foreclosure is simply to pay the amounts owing, as one might imagine, or to see if they can be discharged in a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. Most of the time, however, relief from foreclosure will be found in claiming either substantive or equitable defenses. Some of these include:
- Showing that the HOA acted outside its own governing rules or documents, which can affect its right to bring the foreclosure lien against you;
- Mistake or fraud – there may be mathematical or legal errors in the foreclosure claim, or in rare cases, an HOA may simply decide to act in bad faith;
- Illuminating unfair debt collection practices, which are against the law in Florida if they can be adequately proven; and
- Any other potential violation of either state or federal law which may grant more time to reach a settlement or dispose of the debt.
Contact An Experienced Miami HOA Foreclosure Lawyer Today
You do not have to go through what can be a terrifying process alone. The dedicated Miami HOA foreclosure attorneys at Nowack & Olson, PLLC are ready, willing and able to help answer your questions and guide you through proceedings – or to try and stop them from happening at all. Contact us today either on our website or by phone to set up an appointment.