Recently, there has been significant media attention regarding banks’ “robo-signing” procedures and the impact on pending foreclosure cases. In response, many Ohio judges have imposed strict new guidelines for banks and their attorneys to follow in an effort to ensure accuracy of loan documents. On Monday, the Columbus Dispatch reported that multiple Franklin County Court of Common Pleas judges have joined with other judges from across Ohio to require banks and/or their attorneys to file certifications that their documents are accurate, or the case will be dismissed.
In response to this news, many association board members and property managers have contacted our office questioning the impact on their associations’ pending foreclosure cases. To be clear, these requirements and the banks’ errors will not affect association foreclosures, provided the board followed Kaman & Cusimano’s recommendation to either file a foreclosure complaint or an answer and cross-claim.
Kaman & Cusimano has strongly encouraged its service option clients to be aggressive in pursuing delinquencies. To do so, the firm strongly recommends that an association file a lien and then either 1) file a complaint to initiate foreclosure proceedings when a balance become high, or 2) join take action through the bank’s foreclosure by filing and answer and a cross-claim. Using this approach is a proven method for protecting the associations’ interest and enabling the association to proceed, if necessary, to a sheriff’s sale. In fact, by following this procedure, Kaman & Cusimano collected over $3.97 million, including the costs of collection and attorney fees, for its clients in 2010.
Again, when an owner fails to pay, filing a lien, then a complaint or an answer/cross-claim enables the association to push the foreclosure, continue the court proceedings, and order a sheriff’s sale regardless of the status of the bank’s claim. The owner has no choice but to pay the association to save his/her home. If your association has aggressively pursued its delinquent accounts and followed Kaman & Cusimano’s recommendations, the banks’ foreclosure problems will not affect your association’s ability to obtain a judgment on its claim and ultimately order a sheriff’s sale.