Like banks, homeowners associations have the right to foreclose if people don’t pay. But in what Tankel has called a “race to the courthouse steps,” the associations have an advantage.
Because most owners owe less than $15,000, associations can file their cases in county court instead of circuit court with its heavier caseloads and higher dollar amounts. That way an association can get a final judgment of foreclosure in as few as 270 days, compared to the 800 days it takes for the average bank foreclosure in Florida.
After the foreclosure, the property usually goes to auction, where buyers pay a few thousand dollars to cover delinquent fees. If no one bids, the association can negotiate its own sale. Either way, the new owner can then rent out the home while the bank foreclosure drags on.