Although statistical data shows the battle against zombie mortgages (A property becomes a zombie when a creditor initiates foreclosure and the homeowner vacates then home. When the creditor fails to complete the foreclosure, title to the real property remains with the original homeowner, leaving the ownership “half dead” and “half living”) is being won nationwide, abandoned lots, vacant units and zombie properties continue to have negative impacts on communities throughout the United States (unkempt proprties, maintenance issues, rodents, unpaid assessments and lack of community spirit).
Through vigilance, community associations can effectively address conditions caused by these zombie properties.
A Court’s opinion doesn’t have to say much to say a lot…the District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida, Fourth District, reverses a foreclosure judgment where the claim of lien overstated the amount actually due. The only case cited in the opinion, Saar v. Wellesley at Lake Clarke Shores Homeowners
Ass’n, 68 So. 3d 417 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011), found against the Association, holding:
What can be gleaned from this record is that the association and its accounting methods were woefully inadequate to correctly ascertain and give notice of the amounts claimed to be due. Because of this imperfect record-keeping, the association did not make a proper claim of lien, nor did it give sufficient notice in its complaint of its claim. Had it done so, in all *420420likelihood this case would not have even been filed. Saar showed that she consistently made the payments required and had detailed records to support her payments, many of which were not properly credited by the association. She paid all sums due in accordance with the notices and claim of lien.
Good record keeping and correct accounting are critical in any assessment collection case.