HOAs Turn the Tables and Foreclose on Banks

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Don’t get mad, get even! In the Sunshine State, which was hard hit by the 2008 mortgage crisis, many homeowners are taking that philosophy to heart. Considering that within the last five years, over 400,000 Florida residents have faced foreclosure, it is not surprising that they are looking for a little revenge from those lenders that possibly mismanaged their loans.

It seems that FL banks are failing to pay up on HOA and COA fees for properties they have repossessed. Their failure to pay has put the associations in the red, which has left many with no choice other than to take action. Miami-based attorney Ben Solomon noted that, “homeowners groups are putting liens on the properties until banks pay up and foreclosing on them if they don’t.”

A January 4th article that ran on the CNN Money site by contributor Lee Christie, revealed that the Solomon’s firm is looking into over 130 foreclosures and has placed more than 1,100 liens on banks for failing to pay association fees. The lawyer acknowledged that the banks have so far settled and paid up in over 90% of the cases.

The problems arise when homeowners are left short of funds that would usually be collected through the association fees. Suddenly routine considerations such as lawn and pool maintenance, security, some utilities, site management, and garbage collection become big issues. The owner of a Homestead, FL town home, Don Gonzales spoke with Christie and said, “I own two properties and it really ticks me off when the banks don’t pay their fair share. Everybody else has to make it up.” His case is presently in the hands of the Solomon firm and a suit has been filed to foreclose on JPMorgan Chase in order to recoup $20,000 owed in HOA fees.

The issues are not limited to the Miami area. Several different banks foreclosed on the Southbridge community in Pembroke Pines, FL. According to Scott Lebron, who is the association’s treasurer, the new owners have failed to pay close to $1 million. In an attempt to make up for the lost revenue, the maintenance fees have almost doubled.

The fact that foreign banks now own some of the properties only intensifies the aggravation. The Germany-based Deutsche Bank is one of the owners of property in the Southbridge community. It argues that the mortgage company servicing the account is responsible for the fees. This situation was ongoing since 2009. Thankfully, it was recently settled. To read more on this developing storing, here is a link to the entire article: http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/26/real_estate/bank-foreclosure/index.html

Anna Platz is an Editor at ForTheBestRate.com, a leading mortgage rate research website, as well as the Lead Contributor to GoodCentsSavings.com, a blog about budgeting and personal finance. Anna is immersed in the world of real estate, mortgage, and home financing and is here to provide valuable resources for homeowners and soon-to-be-homeowners on buying and selling real estate, researching a mortgage broker or lender, and securing a home loan. Check back often for news, updates, and remember that you can find today's current mortgage rates at ForTheBestRate.com. My Google Profile+

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