Thursday, August 23, 2012

HOA Fight Against Dues-Stiffing, Deadbeat Banksters Continues As Lenders Increasingly Find Themselves On Defensive In Foreclosure Actions

In Broward County, Florida, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports:

  • South Florida homeowner associations are foreclosing on some of the nation's largest banks, accusing the lenders of failing to pay thousands of dollars in maintenance fees on repossessed properties.

    The foreclosure filings are a growing trend as associations become more aggressive in going after delinquent fees that have crippled HOA budgets during the housing bust.

    Banks owe a portion of the past-due maintenance fees and the full amount from the date they take title to the property, attorneys said. If the lenders fall behind, they're subject to foreclosure just as an individual owner would be.

    In one Broward County case, Deutsche Bank didn't pay maintenance fees for nearly three years on a townhome it repossessed in September 2009 at the Southbridge development in Pembroke Pines, said Ben Solomon, a lawyer for the association.

    The Southbridge HOA filed for foreclosure against Deutsche Bank last year. The bank finally paid $25,553 in June — and only then because it had to convey clear title to another buyer, Solomon said.

    "They expect payment from their customers, but once they become our customers, they don't want to pay us," said Marc Lebron, treasurer of the Southbridge HOA. "It's ironic, isn't it?"

    Solomon is representing dozens of other South Florida homeowner associations that have filed foreclosures against Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and others. He expects more than 100 similar cases to be filed by the end of the year.
  • Solomon said lenders often remain delinquent while they market the home for sale to a third party. Once those deals are completed, the banks pay what's owed out of the proceeds of the sale rather than fulfill the legal requirement of paying each month. "Every association needs to pursue delinquent owners, banks or otherwise," he said.

    In another case, he said, JPMorgan Chase hasn't paid the Keys Gate Condominium Association in Miami-Dade County for more than two years after it foreclosed on a condominium there.

    Keys Gate filed for foreclosure against the bank, saying it owes nearly $20,000 in fees. JPMorgan failed to respond, and the association entered a default against the bank and is awaiting a judge's ruling, Solomon said.

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