We are now current on our HOA dues however we weren't from 09-12. The HOA filed a lien against our house in '10 for $340. We eventually ended up owing them $1700, fees included, and are on a payment plan that I understand will be discharged. Does the lien go away too? The amount was never increased to match the final debt.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
In a Chapter 7, the lien would remain until the debt was paid in full.
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5 lawyers agree
Family Law Attorney
No. Since there is a pre-bankruptcy lien, it will remain against the property until it is paid off. You certainly will lose any personal liability for pre-filing HOA dues, but it will remain a lien on the property. Also, all fees incurred post-filing will NOT be discharged.
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5 lawyers agree
Family Law Attorney
I agree with Mr. Corbin. When the bankruptcy reform act was passed in 2005, HOA dues were singled out for special protected treatment. In other words, the Homeowners Association lobby had powerful friends in Congress. Even if you give up the house, move out, etc., you will still owe HOA dues until the house is foreclosed on AND the title transferes to someone else. Discuss this with your attorney.
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Interesting and all too common question. From the bankruptcy prospective, I agree with the other lawyers who have posted here. So what to do about the lien? Obviously, a homeowner could simply pay the amount and the lien will be released.
But be careful, in Arizona if the lien is more than $1200 or for a year or more of assessments, the HOA still has the right to foreclose on the lien. It's an unusual circumstance indeed that a homeowner is free of the debt personally but could still lose their home to the HOA's foreclosure.
In addition, the amount of the lien may be a key to fixing this issue. HOAs, their management companies and the attorneys who represent them make mistakes. Payments may have been misapplied. Some simple math and some advice from an attorney who helps homeowners in this situation may be in order. It's also important to note that some of these lines have unusual language that protect the HOA lawyers who recorded them. The face of the lien may read $310, but after a call to the lawyer for the HOA, the number may be significantly higher. Get some advice on this one!
This answer is to give information and general understanding of HOA laws. This answer is not legal advice. Don't rely on this answer in place of legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state. Roger is licensed in Arizona only. Laws change and some of this information may become outdated. When you read this answer, there is no attorney-client relationship between you and our office. The author of this answer does not necessarily support the views expressed in all articles, answers or comments here.