B.G. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have a reverse mortgage on my condo and have not been able to keep up with the condo fees. I have a hearing with the board this week .Can the board take my condo?
Mister Condo replies:
B.G., as yesterday’s column about the association’s right to foreclose on a unit will explain, there is a process by which the association (not the Board, per se) can bring foreclosure action against you or any other unit owner who does not pay their common fees. I am not an attorney and my best advice to you is to consult with an attorney at your earliest convenience to get the legal advice you are very likely going to need soon. I am sorry that you find yourself in this predicament but my best advice to you is that if you cannot afford the common fees and cannot make a satisfactory repayment schedule with the Board, it is time to seek legal counsel and see what steps you have available to you to prevent a foreclosure by the association.
Reverse mortgages are becoming more common in condominium associations and can provide needed cash for folks like you who have them. However, they can also provide a double edged sword when it comes time to collections and foreclosures. It is a legal battle between you, your mortgage holder, and your association. There may be some wiggle room for negotiation but, for the most part, if you do not pay your common fees on time, and you cannot reach an arrangement with the Board, their hands are tied and they must foreclose. You may be able to file a bankruptcy or stall the foreclosure (consult with your attorney) but I do believe that the Board will ultimately prevail. Common fees are the lifeblood on any association. You agreed to pay them when you moved in and your reverse mortgage does not excuse you from paying them now. All the best, B.G.!