L. from Fairfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
My husband and I live in a 4-unit condo. One of the units has been bank-owned for 3 years as the previous owner passed away and the bank got the condo when the estate settled. The other two units are owned by the folks who run the Board. One is the President and the other is the Treasurer. We do not get along with these folks and the worst scenario has now happened. We are being sued by the association for fines and delinquencies to the tune of $10,000.00! This suit has already been through pretrial and is now heading to full trial. To make matters worse, the bank that holds our mortgage has been alerted and they have sent us a letter stating that if a lien is placed on our property as a result of this suit, the bank may move to foreclose to protect their interest.
This is a terrible situation we find ourselves in. We cannot afford an attorney but feel we will be unable to defend ourselves against these scurrilous charges. What can we do?
Mister Condo replies:
L., I hope you don’t mind that I took the liberty of shortening your initial letter as it got into an awful lot of detail that cannot be addressed here. Small condominium associations like yours can be big trouble when it comes to governance. As long as everyone gets along, there is no issue. However, you have described a Hatfield and McCoy relationship with your fellow unit owners that is unhealthy and has now turned financially devastating. In my opinion, you’d best hire a competent attorney to assist you or you will very likely lose in court. If a lien is placed, your bank very likely does have the right to foreclose on the property. An attorney should be able to guide you through the legal process of objecting to the charges you claim are being falsely brought against you and prevent this from happening. At the very least, an attorney may be able to slow down the process and give you a chance to either settle your differences with your fellow unit owners or sell your unit while you can, before the bank forecloses. Given the description of your living arrangements I can’t imagine any scenario under which you should wish to remain in your condo. Best wishes!