When common-charge arrears keep piling up with no end in sight, condo boards typically make a motion to foreclose and then another to evict. But there’s a workaround you may not know about.
Slow going. When unit-owners fail to pay common charges after a notice to cure, condo boards commence an action similar to what a mortgage lender would to foreclose. You ask the court to appoint someone to calculate the amount owed and for permission to auction off the unit in order to satisfy the money you’re due. Then comes the problem of eviction. Once boards become owners of a unit, they typically go to a landlord-tenant attorney and move to evict. But the process can take years, and in the meantime you’re not getting your common charges.
A faster route. There is an alternative — a writ of assistance, which allows a board to make a motion to evict a tenant within the foreclosure action. In other words, you’re just acting within an action that already exists instead of having to commence a new one. But there are three requirements to be met before you can do this. One, there needs to be language in the judgment of foreclosure specifying that the purchaser be let into possession of the property. Two, when you commence the foreclosure action, you have to serve not only the unit-owner but also any tenant residing in the apartment. Three, you have to file a notice of pendency so that if a tenant comes in after the foreclosure judgment, that person is subject to eviction as well.
Forced out. So once a board becomes the unit-owner, it would make this motion for a writ of assistance. If the motion is granted, the board would automatically have a judgment of possession, which it can give to the police to evict the former owner from the apartment. But that can only happen if you take all the necessary steps during the foreclosure action, so you need to think ahead.