This subject is very painful. We see it all too often in the HOA delinquency and collection world. And yet, it is not hopeless.
It is hard for a community to have to write off amounts that were left owing from a bank foreclosure in your community association. If you are in a super lien state, upon an HOA bank foreclosure, lending institutions will throw you a few bucks for your trouble. If an owner was foreclosed upon in a super lien state, don’t expect more than 6 months’ worth of assessments (it varies between states, but six months is the average).
It’s a pittance! And what makes it worse is that the banks are often unconcerned about speed when foreclosing–especially when dealing with a non-performing unit. Is a super lien amount enough to satisfy your association’s needs? I think not.
Communities will wonder: does my association have to write off the balance owed?
But that isn’t the question you should be asking. Instead, you need to focus all of your attention on recovering that money.
Was It Really an HOA Bank Foreclosure?
When the bank foreclosed, did they take title, or did they sell the property to a third-party purchaser?
This is a critical question. The answer can make all the difference between getting nothing or getting everything–and I mean every dime that was owed when the bank foreclosed.
In state statutes (and most likely in your governing documents) there is the concept of “Joint and Several Liability.” This doctrine makes it possible for community associations to exist, in that if I sell a property and owe the association money that obligation rides along and is the responsibility of a new purchaser.
With that in mind, when a bank forecloses and the unit is purchased, it is important to determine who was on the chain of title. If the bank foreclosed and sold the unit before they took title, then the association’s lien was not extinguished. This was not a foreclosure where the bank could hide behind their lien priority. THIS WAS A SALE.
Because it was a sale, the association is entitled to recover every penny. When Axela Technologies is servicing a debt, we do not depend on the lender to be an honest agent. This is an arm’s length transaction, and although the association is not a buyer or a seller in this deal, they do have money at stake and require professional representation (that does not cost $350 an hour) that has their interests at heart.
When a bank forecloses, look and see if they had title and sold it, or sold it post-judgment. If they did not take title, this is the difference between a successful collection event and taking a hit (sometimes substantial).
Pursuing a Surplus From a Bank Sale
Often when a bank forecloses and takes title, they will sell their REO (Real Estate Owned Property) at auction or through standard real estate brokers. In these times of real estate appreciating at a rapid rate and inflation roaring, banks will often sell the property that they foreclosed upon for more than they are allowed to recover. That results in a foreclosure surplus, and the association (by right of the contractual lien in your governing documents) has the right to claim that surplus amount.
At Axela Technologies we do this every day because if we do not recover our fees, then we do not get paid. Unlike your attorney, we don’t tell you to write it off and send you a bill, because our interests are aligned with the association. If you have had a unit foreclosed upon and don’t know if it was sold at a surplus, then somebody is not trying hard enough to recover what is legally, rightfully, and ethically money that belongs to the association.
Post-Foreclosure Recovery From the Delinquent Owner
Let’s assume that when the HOA bank foreclosure concluded, everything was done in order and there was no surplus for the association to recover. What happens then?
Well when the bank foreclosed on that unfortunate member of your association, and they left the membership holding the bag for their delinquent assessments, the debt was not extinguished.
Let me repeat that: an owner who owes the association money before an HOA bank foreclosure STILL owes that money after they have lost their house.
Now you may be inclined to say that this was a poor unfortunate person and to pursue them is heartless. In reality, it is heartless NOT to pursue this money. You must consider the good paying owners who picked up the cash shortfall by way of increased assessments and special assessments. Choosing not to pursue that debt means they footed the bill for nothing.
Axela Technologies has a cure for that as well.
Our Post-Foreclosure recovery program allows us to pursue these debts on a contingency basis. If we recover, it is like finding $20.00 in your jeans when you pull them out of the dryer, but way better. (Note: Contingency collections are not available in Texas.)
Let Axela Technologies Help
If your community association has delinquencies, remember that they do not end with an HOA bank foreclosure, or even an association/foreclosure. It ends when the debt is either collected or determined to be absolutely, positively uncollectible. Contact Axela Technologies and speak with our knowledgeable recovery specialists. Let us help you obtain the holy grail of community association governance that is a balanced budget.