The Real Deal Miami

Homeowners association forces lender to take title with “reverse foreclosure”

January 27, 2010 12:15PM

Foreclosure proceedings are all too common in Florida courts, but a recent legal ruling may help condominium and homeowners associations that are struggling to stay solvent as banks stall the foreclosure process.

In a case decided earlier this month, Association Law Group represented Keys Gate Community Association, a homeowners association in Miami-Dade County with over 3,000 home in a “reverse foreclosure,” a new legal technique that aims to speed things along. Keys Gate was awarded a partial final summary judgment of foreclosure — against itself — and in favor of HSBC Bank USA, the lender to the project.

As a part of that judgment, Keys Gate waived its right to public sale and requested a certificate of title be issued directly and immediately to the bank, making HSBC responsible for the association’s dues. The ruling sets a precedent that will force banks to take over distressed units much faster than ever before, said Ben Solomon, an ALG attorney. Solomon noted that banks have a tendency to drag their feet in foreclosure proceedings in an effort to avoid payment of past-due assessments and legal fees to similar associations. Keys Gate’s foreclosure case had been pending since 2007.

“This innovative new legal strategy holds banks accountable for paying their fair share of assessments and significantly reduces the amount of bad debt incurred by [condominium and homeowners] associations,” Solomon said. TRD