• Can an HOA Foreclose if You Are Current In Your Mortgage Payments?

    Homeowners who are frustrated with the rule-making and enforcement authority of their Homeowners’ Association (“HOA”) can often feel as if the HOA has unbridled authority. While this is not true, an HOA does have some pretty impressive powers.

    But is foreclosing on your condominium, townhouse, or home when you are not behind in your mortgage payments one of them?

    No.

    But HOAs do foreclose on homes—even when people are not behind in their mortgage payments.

    So can they do that?

    Here’s how.

    The Failure to Pay HOA Dues or Fines.

    Although your HOA or Condominium Association (“COA”) cannot foreclose on your home because of your mortgage payments, they can take steps that might lead to foreclosure if you don’t pay your dues or fines the association has imposed on you (for example, for hanging out your laundry on a clothesline).

    Georgia has two main laws that govern homeowners’ associations and condominium associations:

    • The Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act (Ga. Code Ann. § § 44-3-220 to 44-3-235), and the
    • The Georgia Condominium Act (Ga. Code Ann. § § 44-3-70 to 44-3-116).

    These state laws govern association liens in the state.

    If you fail to pay your monthly dues and/or any special assessments (collectively,  “assessments”) the HOA or COA can place a lien on your home.  Just like that. They don’t need to record a notice of lien when they do this because in Georgia, unlike in other states, the recording of the association’s Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) or Declaration of Condominium constitutes record notice of the existence of the lien. Which means that no further recording of the claim of lien is required.

    If you are a homeowner who has not paid your dues or assessments, you should be aware that the association’s lien can also include late charges. You should also be aware that with few exceptions, HOA or COA liens have priority over other liens on the property. Which means that an HOA or COA lien is a powerful tool for the association.

    Once a lien is charged against your property, the HOA or COA can move to foreclose on that lien. This leads to foreclosure proceedings, and could result in you losing your home.

    So while the HOA or COA cannot foreclose on your home if you are current in your mortgage payments (or even if you are behind in them) they can still foreclose on your home if you don’t pay your dues or assessments.

    Here for You.

    If you have questions about your rights as a homeowner or authority as an HOA or COA, contact us. We are experienced real estate attorneys in Georgia. We handle all aspects of HOA law as well as other real estate issues and litigation. We have offices in Cumming, and we serve clients in Atlanta, Gainesville, Gwinnett County, Bartow County, Hall County, Henry County, Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County, and other counties throughout Georgia. To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707.

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