Tampa Lien Foreclosure Representation Lawyer
Homeowners Associations (HOAs) and Condominium Associations (COAs) have a powerful tool at their disposal to make sure their members pay their dues and assessments on time and in full. If members become delinquent on their payments, the Association can record a lien against the property, so the member can never sell their home or condo without first paying the community association what they owe. What’s more, HOAs and COAs don’t have to wait patiently for the member to sell the property; instead, they can move forward to foreclose on the lien, evict the tenant, and sell the property themselves. In certain circumstances, associations are actually required to promptly foreclose on the lien if they want to enforce their lien rights.
Tampa HOA attorney Alicia Seward practices exclusively in the areas of Florida real estate and community association law. In that capacity, she represents HOAs and COAs throughout Tampa and St. Petersburg in a variety of matters, including creating and recording liens and foreclosing on properties when necessary. Call Seward Law Office in Tampa for help with the collection of delinquent assessments, including lien foreclosure representation. Our office also represents homeowners and condo unit owners in assessment disputes with their associations.
How Does HOA Lien Foreclosure Work?
With a validly-recorded lien in place, an HOA can proceed to foreclose on a delinquent member’s property in the same manner that a bank could foreclose on a mortgagee who missed too many mortgage payments. But, it doesn’t matter whether the homeowner is current on their mortgage or not in order for an HOA to foreclose on its lien.
A lien can be imposed when the association member is behind on monthly dues (common expense assessments) or owes on special individual assessments for expenses such as emergency repairs. A community association can also get a lien for unpaid fines issued against a member for violation of rules or CC&Rs.
In Florida, foreclosure is a judicial process that must go through the courts. The Association must serve the owner with notice that the pre-foreclosure process has begun and let the member know what options they have to avoid foreclosure. For an HOA, the homeowner has 45 days to pay the amount of the lien. Condo unit owners get 30 days’ notice under Florida law. In court, the homeowner or unit owner would have the opportunity to present arguments at a hearing to show cause why the foreclosure should not happen. If unsuccessful, the court will set a date for a foreclosure sale of the property.
It is possible for the owner to avoid foreclosure on the lien by making a qualifying offer prior to entry of judgment in the Florida judicial foreclosure process. The owner would need to pay the whole amount secured by the lien. The HOA is not required by law to accept a qualifying offer, and it is not available in every instance.
The property owner can also file a notice of contest of lien. If this happens, the HOA has 90 days to move to enforce its lien, or the lien will be void. Similarly, a COA has one year to enforce a lien, without requiring any action on the part of the condo unit owner.
What Happens to the Bank Loan if the HOA Forecloses?
Unless the member bought the property in a cash sale, there is probably a bank or other lender that already has a lien, i.e., a mortgage, recorded against the property. Liens typically take priority based on the date they are recorded, so how can an HOA foreclose when its lien is recorded years after the bank recorded its mortgage? Florida law gives HOA liens “super lien” status so they take priority over earlier-recorded liens.
The priority date for an HOA or COA lien is the date the Association recorded its CC&Rs or Condominium declaration. This date is likely to be earlier than when the owner bought the property unless the CC&Rs were substantially changed and re-recorded in the interim. Super lien priority does not apply in every case, so it’s important to consult with an experienced HOA lien foreclosure attorney about your options.
HOA Lien Foreclosure Representation in Tampa
For help with HOA or COA lien foreclosure representation in Tampa, call Seward Law Office at 813-252-6789 to speak with a skilled and knowledgeable Tampa HOA and real estate lawyer.