This month we are highlighting the process of filing a lawsuit to obtain a judgment against a delinquent homeowner. After a lien is filed, we generally send a lien notification letter to the delinquent homeowner advising him or her that a lien has been filed against the property and; further, if he or she fails to remit payment in full or contact our office to negotiate an agreeable payment arrangement, we will proceed with filing of lawsuit to obtain a judgment against the person, which is in addition to the lien against the property. Lawsuits of this nature are typically filed in the District Court (as long as the principal amount sought is under $30,000.00. If the amount sought is $30,000.00 or over then the lawsuit must be filed in Circuit Court). Further, we file the complaint under affidavit which means the accounting is signed under oath by the custodian of records for the Community, i.e., generally the management company.
Once a lawsuit is filed with the Court against the current or prior owner (hereinafter referred to collectively as "owner"), the owner must be personally served with the summons and complaint. Service can sometimes take time to complete if the owner evades service. After being served, however, we often see an increase in the communication between the delinquent homeowner and our office which allows us to work out payment terms and avoid a costly trial for the Community.