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What Happens When an HOA Defaults on a Loan?

Discover how to protect your HOA's finances. Avoid loan defaults with guidance from HOA Loan Services. Get the information you need today.

Written by

HOA Loan Services

Published on

25

Mar

2023

Whether a homeowners association or condo association needs to borrow for emergency repairs or common area improvements an HOA loan can be a great tool to help bridge the funding gap and a great alternative to a special assessment.

HOA loans are unique financial products. Unlike mortgages, lenders extend credit to the HOA or condo association without requiring personal guarantees, individual credit checks, or real estate collateral. Instead, they are securing the debt using the community association's annual assessments. The lender is, in effect, lending money based on the association's financial profile.

When underwritten responsibly, association loans are considered highly secure. Lenders employ various measures to assess an HOA or condo association's ability to repay debts alongside the intended use of a loan's proceeds. Yet, at the end of the day, if an association stops repaying the principal and interest on its loan, the creditor will not repossess or seize ownership of the association or any property.

 

Is my HOA a Good Candidate for an HOA Loan?

"The number of HOAs in the U.S. as of 1990 was estimated at 130K. Meaning that 37% of all HOAs in the U.S. are 30 years old or more as of the beginning of 2021."

Source: cidanalytics.com

Older HOAs are more likely to need to borrow money (for obvious reasons), but newer associations often need funds as well.

Lending institutions have multiple proprietary ways to assess an association's creditworthiness. To satisfy basic loan requirements, bankers and credit underwriters consider market values, annual budgets, and delinquency rates. They like a strong track record of dues collection, responsible budgeting, and record keeping. Lenders also look for solid plans for debt repayment.

Falling Behind on Payments: Phase 1

In most instances, financial modeling, responsible boards, and good planning prevail. However, lenders have contingency plans should an HOA or condo association start falling behind on their loan repayments.

Typically, lenders will try to work through short-term problems. A lender will likely be sympathetic if an association has issues after changing its accounting systems. They may also understand the stress caused by a change in an association's management company or board members. But they have a business to run and will take legal action if necessary. In most cases, it would take something like nine months (just an estimate*) of late or no loan repayments for an HOA loan to go from delinquent to default.

Legal Recourse and HOA Loan Default: Phase 2

Legal recourse is likely a last resort. In the event of default, a lender will probably ask the courts for a judgment on the association's dues. If successful, future dues would all go into an account designated by the legal system. In this rare and dire situation, the lender acts almost like a trustee for the HOA.

The lender would have first right to their monthly loan payments before turning over the remaining balances to the HOA. The HOA would be forced to function on the reduced cash flows. Monthly trash collection, snow removal, and landscaping budgets would likely suffer. On a more positive note, homes could continue to be bought and sold, and daily life in the community would continue to go on. An HOA loan default would not impact any community member's personal credit or home mortgage. Like any loan default, it might cause some short-term stress, but it certainly wouldn't trigger complete neighborhood dystopia.

How Can we Avoid Defaulting on a Loan?

Before defaulting on debt, a Board should increase dues or cut other expenses to remain current on loan payments. Like any financial instrument, HOA loans can be misused.

For this reason, Boards and Management Companies should seriously consider how loan proceeds will be used along with well-thought-out plans for loan repayments. When appropriately used, HOA loans can provide much-needed financial relief to help manage large capital projects. The default rate on an HOA loan is exceedingly low, and the benefits far outweigh the rare potential downsides.

Is an HOA loan Still a Good Option or my HOA to Consider?

The decision to take out an HOA loan is entirely up to the Board of Directors and the community members. While no one wants to default on a loan, the advantages of an HOA loan far out way any potential negative impacts of having outstanding debt. For example, rather than having to raise large amounts of capital by way of special assessments, an HOA loan gives your association the ability to spread out costs over a longer period of time. This can help to reduce the financial burden on individual owners, fulfill the boards fiduciary responsibility and ultimately make the community more equitable for all of it's residents.

HOA loans are available through many reputable financial institutions at reasonable loan rates with flexible loan repayment options. It is important to explore all loan options before making a decision.

HOA loan services can help HOAs, Condo Boards, and Property Management Companies model scenarios to support decisions around association debt best practices.

Contact us today to learn more about our tailored solutions from one of our experts.

Want to know more?

Our team is here to help. Reach out to one of our specialists today and we will be happy to help you walk through the process of obtaining an HOA loan for your community.

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