Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bankruptcy Won't Work!

Why There’s No Protection for Members When 
Community Associations "Go Broke"

Tyler P. Berding, Esq. and Sandra M. Bonato, Esq.

            You’re at a board of directors meeting of your homeowners association.  Things have been happening around the community--not good things--and you want to find out why.  Why have they closed the pool?  Why is the landscaping looking so bad?  What’s with the rumor that the property manager might be let go.  You know that money has been tight for the association.  You’re aware that assessments haven’t gone up for years, and now word has it that a large number of owners have stopped paying altogether.  At the meeting the president of the association announces further cutbacks--the association’s insurance may have to be dropped.  There have been no deposits to the reserve account for several years and, worse, the account has been drained over time to meet monthly obligations. The board proposes a 5% special assessment and approves it, but it’s not likely to go far with all there is to do and pay.  A report from the manager confirms your worst fears: re-roofing of the project (including for your unit) will have to wait, and even temporary repairs to the leaking portions of the roof may not be done for months.  There’s no money to pay for it.
            A member raises his hand and asks the inevitable question--if the association is too broke to pay its bills, why not simply declare bankruptcy?  Hold the creditors at bay until the economy picks up?  No one on the board has a good answer.  Why?  Because it almost never happens.  Here are the practical and legal reasons why...

Click on the title link above to read the rest of this article

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Great Foreclosure Debate: Part II--Readers Respond

Here are two of the letters we received in response to “The Great Foreclosure Debate: Should Community Associations use Alternatives to Foreclosure to Protect Their Cash Flow?” posted below. They represent two sides of this very controversial issue. The first is a spirited response from Mr. George Staropoli, a community association activist in Arizona who writes a blog and newsletter devoted to the question of the constitutionality of community associations. The second is from Ms. Nancy Sterling, a real estate professional, about a 34 unit condominium complex where nearly half of the units have been through bank foreclosure in the past two years. They help to understand why the foreclosure debate has generated so much energy and provide contrast between the theoretical and the practical...

To read the letters and our comments, please click on the title link above...