Beware and Pay Those HOA Fees
Owning a condo in Michigan is a great way to downsize or to avoid outside mowing, shoveling and painting. Owners belong to the Home Owner Association. That association has by-laws that every owner should have a copy of. The by-laws define the "covenants" that every owner by becoming and owner, agrees to. The Association may have a managment company that keeps the books but the Association will also have a board of owners that will also see that the by-laws are being followed.
The reason that each individual owner needs to keep their HOA fees up to day is because these are funds that pay for the upkeep and insurance necessary to protect each owner's investment of their property. There are many functions of the board which will be outlined in the by-laws. One of the by-laws will be that if a co-owner is behind in their dues they have the power to foreclose on the unit. What this means is that if you don't pay the association takes over control of your unit and kicks you out. Your Mortgage? You will still be liable for the mortgage even if you are not living there.
So, what should a condo owner do if they fall on hard times? One thing is to go to the condo board and arrange catch up payments. If that is not possible because of lack of funds and the association files action to foreclose you have a limited time to redeem your unit. In Michigan, from the time it is sold at the Sheriff Sale you will have 6 months. Sounds like a long time. It isn't. Your choice is to find the money and "redeem" the unit or sell it before the end of the redemption period of the 6 months.
It is an unfortunate situation. Your best action is to immediately go to the association if you can't pay all but some to make arrangements and stick to that agreement. If you are left with no choice then sell the unit and take the equity if you have some and start over or rent an apartment until you can get on your feet again. Need to talk about your situation? Send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org