Desperate condo, homeowner associations thrown a lifeline
Revenue-starved condominium and homeowners associations struggling to keep the taps running and the lawns mowed have found a novel way to squeeze money from units that don't pay what they owe. It's called a reverse foreclosure, a tool that can force banks to pay association maintenance fees when unit owners don't. It's a way for associations to halt the decline that begins when one owner quits paying maintenance fees, followed by another, then another, forcing a reduction in general maintenance, driving down property values even more, and leaving a community riddled with vacancies and vandalism. Also, it's a way for associations to stick it to banks -- who they are convinced have been sticking it to them since the real estate meltdown began. Banks, for their part, deny any dishonorable intent and say they are just protecting their interests, as any prudent business would do.