Florida has more homeowner associations (HOAs) and condominium associations
(COAs) than any state in the country. With so many people living in a
managed community, the state has developed a large body of law dedicated
to regulating these organizations.
People who choose to live in an HOA agree to follow that organization’s
rules. Even if a person owns his or her house outright, the HOA can still
control many facets of everyday life, from the types of landscaping allowed
to the number of vehicles that can park in a driveway.
While HOAs can regulate nearly everything, how much power do they actually
have? Can an HOA foreclose on your home even if you are current with your mortgage?
In short, the answer is yes. Most HOA and COA agreements allow the organization
to obtain a lien on the property and institute foreclosure proceedings
when a person falls behind on monthly association dues.
In Florida, an HOA can easily begin a foreclosure case. In essence, all
the HOA must show is that a homeowner has unpaid assessments, that the
homeowner had notice of the delinquency, and that the dues or assessments
remain unpaid after the notice.
The HOA must give the homeowner a 45-day demand letter advising them of
the delinquency and providing notice of the HOA’s intent to file
a lien on the property. If the HOA receives no response to the letter
and the dues remain unpaid, the HOA can place the lien and send a notice
of intent to foreclose. If the HOA still does not receive a response or
payment, the HOA can begin the foreclosure process.
Once the HOA’s foreclosure begins, the cost of clearing the debt
can add up quickly. HOAs are allowed to add interest, penalties, late
charges, and attorneys’ fees to their lien. Attorneys’ fees
alone may be 2-3 times the cost of the actual unpaid assessments.
For many homeowners, it is inconceivable that they may be current on their
mortgage but can still lose their house because of their HOA. However,
since the HOA contract was part of the property when it was purchased,
state law treats HOA dues much like mortgage payments.
The consequences of losing your home to your HOA in foreclosure can be
severe. When a person is current on the mortgage but delinquent on the
HOA assessments, the HOA can foreclose on the property and take the home
subject to the original mortgage. This means that the homeowner would
lose his or her house to the HOA, but would still be responsible for paying
off the mortgage for the property that he or she no longer owns.
For this reason, it is important to seek legal help immediately if you
receive a notice of delinquency from your HOA. If you don’t act
quickly to correct the delinquency, an HOA foreclosure could ruin your
credit and saddle you with a lifetime of debt. Avoid these consequences
by scheduling a free consultation at the Loan Lawyers. Our attorneys will
review your HOA claim, and will help you create a plan to protect your
To schedule a risk-free, confidential consultation with our office about
your foreclosure matter, contact us today by calling (888) FIGHT-13 (344-4813).