All too often I am asked for advice on dealing with associations filing a lien or foreclosing on a home and the first statement the homeowner makes is “I never received a notice.” Unfortunately, rarely will that work as a defense to save your home from being sold at a foreclosure auction by your association.
You have to give your association your address where you receive your mail! It’s foolish to think if you don’t update your address to get notices and payment coupons a judge not order a sale of your home. You have a duty to notify the association of your most current address. You also have a duty to ask for the amount due if you don’t receive a notice or payment coupon. The courts have ruled against homeowners consistently on these issues because if you live in a community that has a sign with the communities name on it at the entrance, you have notice your community is governed by an association and you pay assessments to that association.
Avoiding the mail or a summons does not work either. All the association has to do is prove they mailed the notice to the correct address. If you avoid a summons the courts allow the associations to serve you by publishing a notice in some obscure small newspaper no one reads. Its usually too late by the time you find out you have been served by publication because the court can then enter a default judgment against you. Plus this just adds to the attorney’s fees you are required by state law to reimburse the association (that’s if you can come up with the money to pay off the demand or judgment and save your home).
The bottom line is don’t be foolish. If you can’t afford to pay the association, call them and try to make payment arrangements. The association can foreclose on your home quickly and faster than a bank because the association is the original creditor and not a third party who took it by assignment.