KAREN: A Jupiter police chief Frank Kitzerow is currently facing a lawsuit from his homeowners association who claims the chief owes them thousands in delinquent assessments. The lawsuit was filed with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court on April 19th claiming Kitzerow owes $1,600 in association fees after not paying monthly payments. Here to talk about whether the Chief can lose his house is attorney Eric Glazer who hosts the Condo Craze and HOAs Radio Show each Sunday at 11AM here on 850 WFTL.
ERIC: How are you Karen?
KAREN: WE TALK ABOUT THIS ALL THE TIME —– PEOPLE FALLING BEHIND ON THEIR CONDO AND HOA ASSESSMENTS —— BUT JUST HOW SERIOUS IS THIS MATTER? CAN THE POLICE CHIEF ACTUALLY LOSE HIS HOME?
ERIC: In a word Karen – YES. Lots of people don’t realize it until it’s too late, but failing to pay your association dues is just as dangerous as failing to pay your home mortgage. If you don’t pay, you can get foreclosed on by the association and have your home sold at public auction.
KAREN: It’s crazy, but it seems as if the entire amount at issue is only $2,300.00 with interest. Are you saying that an association can foreclose on you and you can lose your home for such a small amount?
ERIC: YOU CAN ACTUALLY LOSE YOUR HOME FOR A LOT LESS. And…..If you fail to pay even the smallest assessment, it gets very expensive very fast. Associations are not only allowed to charge interest on the money at 18%, but they are also allowed to charge late fees. But on top of all that……those are nothing compared to what the attorney’s fees can be after the lawyer gets hold of you.
KAREN: So in reality —- if the Police Chief owes $2,300.00 in assessments, he probably owes a lot more — when you factor in interest, late fees and attorney’s fees?
ERIC: Rest assured that if just his assessments are $2,300.00 — he won’t be able to settle unless he comes up with about 3 times that amount.
KAREN: SO MANY MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN OUR STATE LIVE IN COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS — IS IT EVER AN EXCUSE FOR ANY OF THEM TO EVER TELL THEIR ASSOCIATION —– SORRY I JUST CAN’T AFFORD TO PAY RIGHT NOW?
ERIC: Apparently, that happened here even though the chief has an annual salary of about $147,000 — He too said he’s fallen on hard times. The bottom line is that every community association has bills to pay each month — and they can only pay the bills like electric, cable, water —— if all of the owners pay their assessments. So —- NO – IT’S NEVER AN EXCUSE TO TELL YOUR ASSOCIATION SORRY I CAN’T PAY RIGHT NOW. THE ASSOCIATION WILL NORMALLY STILL FORECLOSE ON YOU AND THAT’S WHY OWNERS WHO ARE GETTING FORECLOSED OFTEN TIMES WIND UP IN BANKRUPTCY COURT.
KAREN: WHAT’S YOUR BEST ADVICE TO ANY HOMEOWNER OR CONDO OWNER WHO IS CURRENTLY BEHIND ON THEIR ASSESSMENTS?
ERIC: No matter what you do —— try to enter into payment plan with your association before a foreclosure is filed against you because once a foreclosure is filed — the amount of fees and costs you owe go up dramatically. Don’t let the lawyer put his hooks into you – but it’s expensive to get out.
KAREN: THANKS FOR THE ADVICE AND WE’LL SEE YOU ON SUNDAY.