Q&A: Owner Who Owes Money Now Declares Bankruptcy

Q. What can be done if a unit owner, who has not paid his or her maintenance for a year and owes the association $30,000, has now declared bankruptcy? How does the association get its money?

            —Neighbors Seeking Recourse

A. “In short, it depends on the type of bankruptcy,” says attorney Matthew Zifrony of the firm Tripp Scott, which has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and Tallahassee. “In most cases, the post-petition assessments are non-dischargeable and are not affected by the bankruptcy.  To the extent that the association has secured itself with a recorded lien, the pre-petition assessments could still be collectible from the property itself.  But there are so many twists and turns in the impact that a bankruptcy has on outstanding maintenance that’s owed to an association that a simple answer isn’t possible.”

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