Thursday, April 23, 2009

Facing Financial Crisis

The subtitle of this section is "Foreclosures and Community Associations"

Surprised? Ha!

An insurance professional and three lawyers are discussing the pitfalls and risks associated with foreclosures; both those done correctly, and those which have problems.

The moderator, Jamie Schraff, is recommending communications with association members. Barry Postman, Esq., who disclaims pursuing collections as part of his regular practice, is suggesting communications with owners and a case-by-case analysis on whether or not to pursue individual collections. Leonard Siegel suggests inquiring as to the debtor's solvency prior to the commencement of a foreclosure.

Florida now mandates, via statute, a "meet and confer" conference with the debtor prior to commencement of the proceedings.

An attorney in the audience has thrown a curve to the panel by suggesting that an effort to contact the unit owner may constitute a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The panelists are acknowledging that to be a "fair point"; Mr. Postman is attempting (unsuccessfully in my humble opinion), to draw a distinction between "gathering infromation" and commencing collection proceedings.

Ms. Schraff has reminded all of the participants that CAI's listing of Rights and Responsibilities calls for foreclosure to be used only as a last resort...

All of the panelists are encouraging the obtaining of directors and officers coverage.

Now the panel is discussing the transfer of collection rights to debt collectors; the panel is rightly warning Associations to carefully scrutinize these relationships to make certain that the Board is not improperly delegating its responsibilities. And, they are all advising, make certain that the parties making these offers are not looking primarily to their own interests.

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