Are Condo and Homeowner Associations the Devil? They Can Be.

Recently, NBC reported on a new “Condo Takeover Scheme” where homeowners who are actually paying their mortgage risk losing their condos to the condo association.  How does it work?  In a nutshell, an investor comes in and starts buying up other foreclosed units in the condo, eventually getting enough votes to take over the condo board.  Once in control of the board, they can set monthly assessments to whatever amount they want.  The other owners end up facing foreclosure because they are hit with skyrocketing condo assessments they cannot afford.

How is this even possible?  Because condo associations are the devil.  Too harsh?  No.  Not too harsh.  Some wise person said “Power corrupts.  And absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Yea, absolutely.

Now granted, the scheme discussed in this article is not your everyday event.  But the fact that this scheme is even able to happen proves what I have always said, “Condo association and HOA’s have way too much power and no checks on this power.”

Maybe you’re saying, “C’mon Paul, get real.  We need these associations to maintain property values by keeping the neighborhoods looking good and clean.  Besides, the people on the board are the owners themselves.  They don’t have personal agendas.  They just care about their community.”

OH REALLY?  So it’s for the “good of the community” that an association can foreclose on an owner who owes less than $100 but with outrageous attorney’s fees and tacked on “costs” now has to pay over $3000 to avoid losing his home?  How is this fair?  How is this reasonable?  How is this for the “good of the community”?  That’s just one example.  I could go on and on and on.

Listen.  I’m not saying that associations don’t serve a legitimate purpose.  But the reality is that many of these boards are made up of people who have little to no experience in leading or governing and have even less knowledge about the law.  Not that the law helps in this area because the laws give them so much power that there is little they cannot do.  And if they are wrong or abusive, what can a homeowner do?  The only real option is to suck it up and do what they say or sue them.  In my opinion, we need to get some checks on these condo and homeowner associations.  They need someone to answer to that doesn’t require homeowners to submit to their regime or be forced into an expensive lawsuit.

Read the full “Condo Takeover Scheme” article here


From Getting Served to Getting Sold—In Brief

On average, the banks file 50 foreclosures per day in Miami-Dade County alone and Florida as a whole has one of the highest rates of foreclosure in the country.  Many cases can be fought and won.

The foreclosure process has sped up in 2014.  Now, more than ever, it is important to hire an experienced attorney who will actually defend your case and not just “buy time.”

From the time you get served with the summons and complaint, you will have twenty days to file an answer.  If you do not answer within twenty days, the bank has a right to get a default against you.

That is you losing your home because you did not fight.

On the other hand, if you file an answer, eventually you will either go to amotion for summary judgment (MSJ) hearing or go to trial.

An MSJ hearing’s purpose is to determine whether you need to go to trial because there is some genuine issue of material fact or if the bank is entitled to final jugment as a matter of law.

Trial is when the bank presents its evidence, including bringing its witness, and the court decides if and when your house gets sold.  If you lose at trial, typically your sale date will be within 30-120 days.  Even after having a foreclosure sale date, there may still be opporutnity to stop it based on several different reasons.

Even after final judgment or sale, sometimes it is sometimes possible to vacate a final judgment or file objections to the sale.  Remember, however, as a general rule, it is easier to prevent something than undo it.

Whatever part of the process you may be in, get advice from an attorney who has experience defending foreclosure cases and get advice on your specific case.


To fight, or not to fight? That is the question

Many homeowners ask themselves whether it is worth fighting the bank in foreclosure.  My answer is, “ALWAYS!”

Why?  Because the burden is on the bank to prove they have the right to foreclose.  Why?   Because defending can give you options–from modifications to short sales.  Why?  Because we can negotiate “cash for keys.”  Why?  Because we identify possible fraud by the banks that could result in final judgment in your favor.  Why?  Because as long as you are the owner, it is your property and you are entitled to receive the benefits from it–whether it is the home you live in or it is rented to tenants.

During your consultation, ask us to discuss how we have won foreclosure cases over the last few years.  And while no two cases are alike, we can look at your case and discuss what we can do for you.