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Home Owners Associations

If a debtor owes homeowners or condominium association dues, fees, assessments, or other charges, are those charges dischargeable in a bankruptcy?

The answer depends on the circumstances and the answers to a few other questions.
  • Is the home being retained after bankruptcy?
  • If the answer is "yes," then the lien securing the HOA charges survives the bankruptcy and the prepetition and post petition HOA charges remain collectible. Prepetition charges are those incurred before the bankruptcy petition is filed, and post petition charges are incurred after the start of the bankruptcy case.
  • Has the home been surrendered before or during the bankruptcy?
  • If "yes," then the prepetition HOA charges (before the case was filed) are dischargeable, but the disposition of the post petition HOA charges depends on whether a debtor files a chapter 7 or a chapter 13.
  • If a debtor files chapter 7, then post petition HOA charges incurred while the debtor remains on title to the property (usually up until a foreclosure is completed) are not dischargeable.
  • If a debtor files chapter 13 and surrenders the home as part of the chapter 13 plan, the HOA charges are dischargeable.To what extent are nondischargeable HOA charges valid and enforceable? That depends on the facts and the relevant documents.