By Scott A. Malm
Many lawyers representing creditors record their money judgments and let escrow companies collect the judgment amount for them when the debtor sells real property.
But after a recent published opinion in Arizona applying its homestead protection laws, that practice may soon come to an end if the real property is protected by the homestead statutes.
In Pac. W. Bank v. Castleton, No. 1 CA-CV 17-0667, 2018 WL 6815531 (Ariz. Ct. App. Dec. 27, 2018), the Arizona Court of Appeals considered the effect of a $5.2 million recorded judgment on a subsequent conveyance of a personal residence by the judgment debtor to a third-party buyer.
After the close of escrow, the judgment creditor sought to collect its judgment against the buyer by filing a judicial foreclosure complaint.
Such action triggered coverage under a title insurance policy (not an Alliant National policy!) because the judgment was not listed in Schedule B.
The Arizona Court of Appeals had to decide the purely legal question: Is a recorded judgment a lien that encumbers homestead property? If so, the insured would lose its property.
In many respects an association foreclosure mirrors a bank foreclosure, with some minor differences.
Once an account is delinquent, the association is permitted under Florida Statutes to place a lien on the subject property for nonpayment of assessments.
Prior to recording this lien, the association is required to send the offending homeowner a Notice of Intent to Lien and to provide a period of time with which to bring the account current (30 days for a condominium association, 45 days for a homeowners’ association).
If the account is not brought current during this time period, the association is permitted to record its lien and institute a foreclosure action in the subject property and against the offending homeowner.
Prior to filing the lawsuit, however, the association is required to offer the offending homeowner one last chance to bring the account current.
Because of Florida’s boom in development during the 1990s and early 2000s, many properties are included in planned unit developments, more commonly known as homeowners’ and condominium associations.
If a property is located within one of these developments, activities conducted on and uses of the particular property are governed by the association charged with overseeing the day-to-day operations of the development.
Although we tend only to notice the activities of the association as they relate to aesthetic matters (landscaping, trash disposal, pool maintenance, etc.), much of the association’s duties relate to community finances and enforcement of the association’s governing documents.
While the legal principles involving associations is vast, this blog will focus on one small aspect of the association puzzle: association foreclosures for nonpayment of assessments.