A condominium association had an owner that was uncooperative, didn’t like following rules and paid assessments on her own timeframe for more than 10 years. In the spring of 2009, another law firm started collection against the unit owner for unpaid assessments by filing a lien on the property. During the next year and a half, the lien was foreclosed and judgment entered. In November 2011, the property went to sheriff’s sale. At the sheriff’s sale the attorney for the association opened the bidding at $1 and the property was purchased by a third party for $2. When the third party spoke with the unit owner, he felt sorry for her and sold the property back to her. Although the association’s attorney sought and was granted a deficiency judgment, the judgment was not collectible because the unit owner was retired and had no assets. As a result, the association’s debt had increased to more than $22,000, which the association lost due to the purchase of the unit by the third party for $2. In addition, the unit owner was still not paying and continued to be uncooperative. When the unit owner became delinquent again, the association hired The Husch Blackwell Condominium & HOA Law Team to collect the debt or remove the unit owner from the property. HB filed a lien in May 2013. When the owner didn’t pay, HB started foreclosure. After the unit owner answered, HB brought a motion for summary judgment. The court granted the association’s summary judgment motion in November 2013 with a one-year redemption period. When the redemption period expired, HB scheduled the sheriff’s sale and in February 2015, the association became the owner of the unit. The original owner left without the association having to pay the sheriff’s department to evict her. Much to the unit owner’s dismay, she lost the battle and could no longer get away with not paying her assessments. In the end, the association achieved its desired result.
Lesson: Hire knowledgeable condominium legal counsel as early as possible. A collection attorney who specializes in condominium law can best pursue all the remedies allowed the association under the governing documents and state law. The HB Condo & HOA Law Team has a proven collection strategy. Since 2012, our team has collected over $9 million in dollars and property.
The HB Condo & HOA Law Team has the only two Wisconsin attorneys who are members of The College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL). Fewer than 175 attorneys nationwide have been admitted to this prestigious organization. To be granted membership in CCAL requires demonstrated contributions over a number of years in the development of community association law, including publications containing substantive legal writing, teaching and significant involvement in the condominium and HOA law industry. To read more on what sets CCAL attorneys apart, click here.