As an HOA (homeowners association) or property manager, you’re responsible for ensuring the community is well-maintained and that all residents adhere to the dedicatory instruments of the Association. These include the declaration, bylaws, and rules and regulations. A type of restrictive covenant that must be followed is the timely payment of HOA assessments, which cover the cost of maintaining common areas, amenities, and other services the association provides.
When a homeowner falls behind on their HOA fees, it creates financial strain on the HOA and the community as a whole, so the HOA has the right to take legal action to collect.
Let’s take a look at the assessment lien foreclosure and how an HOA lawyer can help your association recover late dues or start the foreclosure process.
Placing the Lien
One option available to the HOA is to place a lien on the property. This means the unpaid fees become a lien on the property, which gives the HOA a legal claim on the property until the lien is satisfied. If the homeowner decides to sell the property, the unpaid fees would be collected from the sale proceeds.
While a lien can be an effective way to collect unpaid fees, it may not be enough if the homeowner continues to fall behind. In some cases, the HOA may choose to foreclose on the property. Foreclosure is a legal process that allows the HOA to take possession of the property and sell it to collect the unpaid fees.
The Last Resort
It’s important to note that foreclosure is typically a last resort for HOAs. The process can be time-consuming, costly, and emotionally challenging.
The HOA foreclosure process varies by state. In Texas, HOAs must follow a strict process that includes providing the homeowner with notice of the delinquency and an opportunity to fix the default. If the homeowner fails to pay the outstanding fees within the specified time frame, the HOA may initiate foreclosure proceedings.
However, the HOA should always be mindful that financial difficulties can arise and should encourage homeowners struggling with their HOA fees to reach out for assistance. The HOA may be able to offer payment plans or other options to help homeowners catch up on their payments over time.
Keeping in Touch
Effective communication between homeowners and the HOA is essential when managing HOA fees and avoiding legal action like foreclosure. If a homeowner is experiencing financial hardship and having trouble making their payments, it’s crucial they reach out to the HOA and stay in communication.
Ignoring notices or failing to respond to contact attempts from the HOA can create confusion and may indicate that the homeowner is not interested in resolving the situation. This can lead to frustration on both sides and potentially result in foreclosure. By staying in communication, the HOA and homeowners can demonstrate their commitment to resolving the issue and work to find a solution for both parties.
Communication should be proactive and ongoing, with homeowners informing the HOA of any financial difficulties as soon as possible. The HOA should consider payment plans, deferred payments, or other options to help homeowners get caught up on their fees. The earlier the HOA is made aware of the issue, the more options are available to resolve it.
Seek Representation from an HOA Lawyer
When legal action becomes necessary to collect HOA fees, both the HOA and the homeowner must seek the assistance of an attorney knowledgeable about HOA law, like the experts at Manning & Meyers.
An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and responsibilities and the homeowner’s options. We can help negotiate a solution that works for both parties, potentially avoiding costly and emotionally challenging legal battles.
Avoiding a Lawsuit
In addition to their legal guidance, an attorney can help the parties involved understand the potential consequences of legal action, like the impact on the homeowner’s credit and the potential for a lengthy legal fight. By working with an attorney who specializes in HOA law, both the HOA and the homeowner can make informed decisions and find a solution that works for everyone.
Seeking legal assistance doesn’t necessarily mean legal action is inevitable or necessary. In many cases, attorneys can help negotiate a solution without taking legal action. However, the assistance of an experienced attorney offers peace of mind and can help ensure all parties are protected throughout the process.
Let Manning & Meyers Help with Late HOA Dues
As HOA lawyers, we take the legal process of HOA foreclosure seriously and want to protect the rights of both the association and the homeowner. If you are facing a foreclosure situation or have residents struggling to keep up with their fees, take action and seek help from reputable attorneys like Manning & Meyers, who specialize in HOA law. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact Manning & Meyers today to schedule a consultation and explore your options.