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Are HOA Liens dischargeable through chapter 7?

Chandler, AZ |

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.

Attorney Answers 6

  1. In a Chapter 7, the lien would remain until the debt was paid in full.

    First, the firm is a debt relief agency according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. We help people file for bankruptcy. We also do other stuff and we do it well, but Congress wants me to post this notice. Second, nothing on this site is legal advice. You are not my client unless you enter into a written agreement signed by you and me.

  2. 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.

    We can be reached at 507.334.0155 (Toll Free: 888.777.5009). Our web address is: www. Answers on Avvo are not to be considered a response to a specific legal issue in a specific jurisdiction - they are to be considered only general responses to hypothetical scenarios posed by the questioner. For specific legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. No information contained herein should be construed as a solicitation for business, an offer to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which the attorneys of Corbin Law Office are not licensed, or the dissemination of legal advice. No creation of an attorney-client relationship should be assumed or implied. We are a debt relief agency. Corbin Law Office helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.

  3. No, the debt and the lien both stay until you pay them.

  4. 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.

    Be sure to designate "best answer." If you live in Oregon, you may call me for more details advice, 503-650-9662. Please be aware that each answer on this website is based upon the facts, or lack thereof, provided in the question. To be sure you get complete and comprehensive answers, based upon the totality of your situation, contact a local attorney who specializes in the area of law that involves your legal problem. Diane L. Gruber has been practicing law in Oregon for 26 years, specializing in family law, bankruptcy, estate planning and probate. Note: Diane L. Gruber does not represent you until a written fee agreement has been signed by you and Diane L. Gruber, and the fee listed in the agreement has been paid.

  5. They can't collect against you but the lien will remain on the property.

  6. 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.

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