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Bill Could Require Mortgage Lenders To Maintain Vacant Age-Restricted Units During Foreclosure

By Jennifer L. Alexander, Esq. December 3, 2013 Posted in Community Association Law

Individuals, both young and old, are having a tough time making ends meet for a variety of reasons. However, the situation might be even more precarious for individuals who are older that live on very limited incomes that may or may not be sufficient to cover their monthly obligations. Many of those older individuals who are facing financial difficulties live in age-restricted communities that often call for the payment of association fees in addition to their required mortgage payments. Homeowner and condo associations typically rely on the payment of such fees to cover things such as ground maintenance and overall community upkeep. However, as just about any New Jersey condo association lawyer knows, struggling individuals quite often decide to focus on paying other bills rather than their association fees. 

So, what happens when an individual who lives in an age-restricted community faces foreclosure or decides to simply abandon his or her unit to look for cheaper living options? Who pays for the upkeep of that now-empty unit? Well, a New Jersey assemblyman has recently posted a bill that would call for the mortgage creditors to maintain and pay the association fees for age-restricted units that are in foreclosure.

Bill A4169

Foreclosures have been an ongoing problem for many community associations. Depending on the specific situation, some foreclosures can take years to process, which can leave associations with mounting association fee delinquencies. However, Bill A4169 would remedy those types of situations by requiring the mortgage creditors to maintain the vacant age-restricted units during the foreclosure process. What does that mean? To be clear, it means that creditors would ultimately have the same responsibility as the owner of the unit to not only pay the monthly maintenance fee that is associated with the unit, but also maintain the unit itself.

If a creditor fails to pay the association fees as required once it has been notified that a unit has been vacated and/or abandoned, the community association can seek the same remedies that it would have sought against the owner.

Support for the Bill

Griffin Alexander, P.C., the New Jersey condo association lawyers, fully support the bill; however, hope to see the bill extended even further to cover all community associations, not just those in the age-restricted communities. Passage of the bill would go a long way toward helping community associations collect the necessary payments on the foreclosed units to ensure their proper maintenance so that the community maintains its curb appeal and continues to operate effectively.

The laws that govern condo and community associations can be very difficult to understand and they are constantly evolving. That is why it is imperative for associations to work with skilled attorneys to ensure that they are able to retrieve the fees needed to continue functioning without difficulty. Association boards that have questions about the law and/or how an attorney might be able to help them deal with foreclosures and maintaining empty units, should call a New Jersey condo association lawyer at Griffin Alexander today. 

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