I purchased HOA foreclosure (foreclosed by first HOA) home from court auction sale. After purchasing it I discovered that there is another (SECOND) HOA in the neighborhood. The second HOA is now filing foreclosure against me (new owner) for non payment of the money that was owed to them before I purchased the house. The previous owner basically failed to pay both HOAs for years. And the money owed is to second HOA about 6-7 thousand (80% of it is attorney fees). The second HOA failed to collect left-over (surplus) money from first HOA foreclosure even though by law they should have claimed it from court. On the other hand, second HOA decided to foreclose on new owners for previous owners unpaid money.
CAN HOA FORECLOSE ON ME FOR AMOUNT OWED BY PREVIOUS OWNER?
Yes it can. The usual way associations are set up create an obligation on the part of every property owner whose property is part of the HOA, and taking title to the property creates the obligation. If the second HOA had a surplus on which it could have made a claim and failed to do it, it is possible that you could use that failure as a defense, a failure to mitigate damages, and if successful, the amount the second HOA would have realized from the excess proceeds would, in theory, be deducted from the total obligation.
These are difficult issues, and the HOA attorneys, many of whom have become extremely hard nosed and predatory, know that most purchasers are not going to incur the sort of expense to fight with them that it would take. Litigation is expensive. When an HOA litigates, the burden is spread among the entire membership. When the other side consists of one owner, that person's litigation costs need to be borne completely by that owner. This creates a very one-sided situation.
Please note that the above is not intended as legal advice, it is for educational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is created or is intended to be created hereby. You should contact a local attorney to discuss and to obtain legal advice.
Real Estate Attorney
I agree with the other answer - but I would not say the HOA's are predatory, I think they are just doing the job they are required to do for the entire membership of owners.
The law says that in your situation, the subsequent owners are jointly and severally liable to the association for all unpaid assessments of the previous owner. The obligation becomes both personal to you as the owner (or such company that won the foreclosure bid that you used) AND they have a lien on the real property, so that they can foreclose.
Associations do not have to compromise - although they do so in situations where there is economic sense to do so. In your situation there may or may not be a reason to compromise. An attorney examining the matter could give you an opinion on why the association may or may not be interested in making a deal with you.
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Some one who purchases a property which is subject to assessments of a property owners association takes the property subject to the declarations of the association as recorded in the public records and the rules and bylaws.
To put it another way, when one buys or inherits such a property, they take it and all the baggage that comes along with it.
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Real Estate Attorney
When you purchase a property that is part of a homeowners association, the covenants and restrictions, which are a matter of public record, become the contract between you and the association, so you do very much have a contract with rights and obligations. The fact that you purchased the property at a foreclosure sale does not change the fact that there is a contract between you as the owner and both the first and second associations, and this contract extends to much more than just the payment of assessments. If there are assessments (and related charges, such as attorney's fees) due from you to the second association, even if attributable to the previous (foreclosed) owner, the second association can proceed against you with a lien and ultimately foreclosure.
This posting is not intended to be, nor may it be relied upon, as legal advice, and does not establish an attorney-client relationship of any kind. Each case is different and the facts and circumstances that vary from one situation to another could lead to very different legal opinions and results. Consult with your own attorney for guidance as to your specific situation.
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