A Florida appeals court recently held that a condominium association that filed a foreclosure complaint to recover unpaid assessments could not foreclose its lien because of an existing lis pendens placed on the property by the first mortgagee. The court held that, if a bank files a lis pendens on a property, this lis pendens bars others that have an interest in the property from enforcing liens and levies against the unit unless that party intervenes in the first mortgagee’s case. While the decision is only binding in Broward and Palm Beach Counties for now, courts in other Florida counties could rely on it as persuasive authority. This decision has important implications for community associations; if an association does not record a lien against a property before the bank records a lis pendens, a court can bar the association from foreclosing on that property. Therefore, it is important for associations to record liens early so that they can “get in front of” the bank’s lis pendens. Of course, community associations must still comply with the statutory waiting periods in pre-suit collections. Condominium associations must wait thirty days after sending a demand letter to record a lien against the property, and another thirty days after recording the lien to file a complaint. Homeowners associations must wait forty-five days between each step in order to file a foreclosure complaint against a delinquent owner.
Chaired by Partner Joshua D. Krut, our Community Association, Club and Resort Practice Group offers a small boutique team approach where each client is valued and is not just a “number” among hundreds of thousands of similar clients. The Group is dedicated to providing innovative, responsive and cost-effective legal services to condominium associations and homeowners’ associations. We pride ourselves on our aggressive and creative strategies to recover past-due maintenance penalties, and vigorously represent our clients in all manner of foreclosure litigation.
Author(s): Joshua D. Krut & Brooke P. Dolara