BANKRUPTCY – WHAT EVERY CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION MUST KNOW

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Stephen M. Guerra, Esq.* and John L. Finkelmann, Esq.*

Delinquent assessments are unfortunately a frequent and practically universal problem for condominium associations. The collection of delinquent assessments is essential to the viability of any condominium association; however, these collection efforts can become problematic when a co-owner files for bankruptcy. This Article will address the two common types of consumer bankruptcies filed by co-owners, those being Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, as well as the bankruptcy filing’s affect on an Association’s ability to collect these delinquent assessments. Continue reading

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Two Condominium Bylaw Provisions That Every Board Should Review To Ensure That Assessments Are Not Unnecessarily Depleted

Attorney Stephen Guerra

By Stephen M. Guerra, Esq.*

Assessments are the means by which all associations operate, and assessments provide the necessary income to maintain and enhance a community’s assets to protect and maximize unit values. When assessment levels get too high, the very assessments that are essential to sustain a condominium community may very well end up hurting the market values the association is seeking to increase and protect.

Indeed, in addition to unit types, amenities and location, the single most important factor in condominium unit resale is the amount of association assessments.  Consequently, those communities with higher than average assessment levels will find that they are at a market disadvantage. In order to sustain and enhance market value, condominium communities must therefore find ways to lower or stabilize assessment levels, without reducing services necessary to properly maintain and enhance the community’s assets. Continue reading

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Make Sure Your Enforcement Charges are Collectible

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Lawsuit Money

Attorney Stephen Guerra

By Steve Guerra

In the course of running a Condominium Association, various charges may be provided by the Condominium Documents to be assessed against or posted to the accounts of co-owners who are either delinquent or in violation of other provisions of the Condominium Documents. These charges are variously referred to as interest, late, fees, fines and attorney’s fees. Many times we find that due to procedural errors, or because the lack of understanding of the uniqueness of each type of charge, the charges become subject to legal objection as being excessive, constitutionally invalid, unreasonable or in violation of statute. For these reasons, it is important that Associations understand the nature of each of these charges, the legal requirements for validity, and the proper procedures to follow in order for these charges to be enforceable.

There are two main enforcement categories facing all Associations from which these charges flow. The first is in the area of collection of delinquent assessments. The second is in the area of enforcement of behavioral-based restrictions contained in the Condominium Documents, including the Bylaws and Rules and Regulations. Common to both areas are attorney’s fees and, potentially, fines. Continue reading

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