Many people have mixed emotions when it comes to paying homeowners’ association (HOA) or condominium association fees. For some, it’s a costly hostage situation managed by their nosy neighbors; for others, it’s a necessary monthly fee that keeps the house community – as a whole – safe and in excellent condition. If you live in a home, condominium, or townhouse built within the last 50 years, you likely have to pay monthly or annual association fees. Like it or not, these payments are used to account for any maintenance, legal, or management obligations that happen to arise in the community.
But what happens if you can’t make your payments because you’re experiencing serious financial hardships?
The Difference Between Mortgage Payments & Association Fees
When a person doesn’t make their monthly mortgage payments, the bank usually tries to establish communication to ascertain their intentions regarding the property, and, if possible, help them develop a repayment plan that avoids time-consuming foreclosure proceedings. However, if you don’t pay your association fees, the HOA or condominium association can sue you for the balance and evict you from the premises by obtaining an order of possession from the court.
Can Bankruptcy Help?
Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 offer a modicum of relief when it comes to managing past-due association fees. If you want to keep your property, you can pay the association back as part of your Chapter 13 repayment plan. The payments you make to the trustee encompass your total unsecured debts, including the amount you owe on association arrears. Keep note that you’ll have to continue making your association payments during this time. Also, if your case happens to fall through, the association can file a motion to lift the automatic stay and proceed with your eviction.
If you pursue a Chapter 7 case, on the other hand, you’ll be able to discharge the association dues completely. However, you’ll likely need to surrender the property to complete your bankruptcy case. As a homeowner, you’re liable for all pre- and post-petition dues until the property is transferred back to the association.
Take the First Steps to a Debt-Free Life
If you’re think about filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, contact the Northbrook bankruptcy lawyers at Bach Law Offices today. We can review your financial circumstances and help you decide if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. Not only can we help you pay off your overdue association fees, we can also teach you essential tools and tips that will keep you from experiencing similar financial hardships in the future.
Contact Bach Law Offices at (847) 448-0025 to schedule a free consultation.