Can I Wipe Out Homeowners Assocation Fees in Chapter 7?

Any homeowners association fees that have accrued prior to the filing of the Chapter 7 can be wiped out.  The problem is when a mortgage company refuses to foreclose on a house after we surrender it in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Post-petition homeowners association fees (fees that become due after the Chapter 7 is filed) that become due after a Motion for Relief or a discharge is granted ARE NOT dischargeable in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Sometimes a person might be better off living in the house and waiting to file Chapter 7 until the mortgage company completes the foreclosure process.  The reason for this is the mortgage company would then be liable for any future homeowners association fees.

The related Bankruptcy Code Section regarding homeowners association fees is 523(a)(16).  The section states in part,

“(a) A discharge under section 727, 1141, 1228(a), 1228(b), or 1328(b) of this title does not discharge an individual debtor from any debt – ………..

(16) for a fee or assessment that becomes due and payable after the order for relief to a membership association with respect to the debtor’s interest in a unit that has condominium ownership, in a share of a cooperative corporation, or a lot in a homeowners association, for as long as the debtor or the trustee has a legal, equitable, or possessory ownership interest in such unit, such corporation, or such lot, but nothing in this paragraph shall except from discharge the debt of a debtor for a membership association fee or assessment for a period arising before entry of the order for relief in a pending or subsequent bankruptcy case.”

Nothing in this post should be interpreted as legal advice.  There is no attorney client relationship until you and I have a written contract.

4 thoughts on “Can I Wipe Out Homeowners Assocation Fees in Chapter 7?”

  1. What happen if you keep the house in chapter 7. Are the past HOA fees still discharged, and you would have to pay the future HOA fees.

    1. Jeff Kelly, Esq.

      Past HOA fees attach to the house so I if you file 7 and keep the house, you will have to pay them.

  2. Jeff- I have just filed Chapter 7 in Georgia. Past HOA dues were part of my discharge and am not keeping the house. Would/should I now be allowed access to the HOA amenities with these debts discharged? Being as the past dues were discharged, would restricting me from the amenities still be considered an attempt to collect? A lien was filed by the HOA prior to my Chapter 7. I know if I kept the house, that the past dues would not have been discharged.

    Thank you

    1. Jeff Kelly, Esq.

      Theo,

      I don’t think you will be allowed to access any HOA amenities unless you start paying future HOA fees again. The cannot pursue you for the amount of debt that was discharged.

      –Jeff

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