Judge Rules Condo Board’s Lockout of Owners in Foreclosure Was OK
By: Habitat Magazine
October 23rd, 2014
In a court decision that may shine a light of hope on condo boards — which unlike co-op boards have a huge lack of options when apartments go into arrears or foreclosure — a judge ruled last week there are instances where a board may legitimately exercise “self help” and lock a delinquent owner out of his or her apartment. As the New York Law Journal reports, the family in Penaflorida v. The Copely Condominium and Club was not entitled to return to its foreclosed-on apartment in the Upper West Side’s Lincoln Square neighborhood since, the judge wrote, “return would be futile and … would only forestall the inevitable eviction.” As well, none of the immediate family members were living there — a niece was staying — and the owners admitted they were holding onto the place solely to drag out a bankruptcy auction.
The foreclosure had occurred in 2009 and the owners by now owed $100,000 in arrears and $200,000 in interest, the Law Journal said. This is an example, the board’s attorney, Adam Leitman Bailey, told the paper, of foreclosed condo owners trying to “game the system” and “live for free” in the apartments. Maybe this ruling is a first step into having that stop.