Can an HOA Force You to Sell Your Home in Maryland?

Can an HOA Force You to Sell Your Home in Maryland

Living in a community governed by a Homeowners Association (HOA) comes with unique challenges, especially when you’re facing financial hardship. But can an HOA force you to sell your home in Maryland?

If you’re struggling to keep up with HOA fees or facing pressure to sell due to alleged violations, know that you have protections under the law. In this article, we’ll investigate the circumstances under which an HOA can foreclose and discuss the HOA’s authority and some of your rights as a homeowner.

HOA Authority and Governing Documents

If you’re worried about your rights and the HOA’s authority, familiarize yourself with your HOA governing documents. Your HOA should have a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), which is a legally binding document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the HOA and its members (AKA you).

CC&Rs define the HOA’s powers, such as:

  • The ability to collect assessments,
  • Enforce rules, and
  • Maintain common areas.

They also establish limitations on the HOA’s authority, preventing them from overreaching and protecting your rights as a homeowner.

Can an HOA Force You to Sell Your Home in Maryland?

Technically, N-O. A Maryland HOA cannot force you to sell your home. However, they can foreclose on your home OR execute a money judgment and sell your home in something called a “Sheriff’s Sale” if they have a reason to place a lien on your house and decide to execute that lien. 

Circumstances Under Which an HOA May Pursue Foreclosure

When you’re wondering, “Can an HOA force you to sell your home in Maryland,” it’s important to understand the circumstances under which an HOA may foreclose.

HOA Assessments and Fees

Unpaid HOA assessments and fees are the most common reason for HOA foreclosures. If you fall behind on your dues, the HOA has the right to collect the delinquent payments—and HOAs are often very aggressive when collecting them.

The consequences of non-payment can escalate quickly, starting with late fees and interest charges. If the situation persists, the HOA may place a special statutory HOA lien on your property, potentially leading to foreclosure or a Sheriff’s Sale if you don’t resolve your debt.

Violations of Community Rules

Violations of the CC&Rs or other community rules can also put you at risk of foreclosure. Some examples of serious violations include:

  • Unauthorized renovations or architectural changes
  • Persistent non-compliance with parking regulations or pet restrictions
  • Failure to maintain your property in accordance with community standards

If you’re concerned about the possibility of HOA foreclosure and have run out of time, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can stop the foreclosure or sheriff’s sale, and level the playing field with your HOA.

Homeowner Rights and Protections

Right to Due Process and Fair Treatment

As a homeowner, you have the right to due process and fair treatment from your HOA. This means your HOA must follow proper notice and hearing procedures before taking any disciplinary action or enforcing consequences.

Right to Cure Violations and Delinquencies

If you violate HOA rules or fall behind on payments, you have the right to ‘cure’ these issues before facing severe consequences like foreclosure. The HOA should allow you to rectify the situation, whether that means correcting a violation or setting up a payment plan to catch up on delinquent dues.

In cases of financial hardship, the HOA may offer accommodations or assistance programs to help you get back on track.

Bankruptcy Will Stop a Foreclosure Cold

If you’re facing serious financial hardship and asking, “Can an HOA force you to sell your home in Maryland,” filing for bankruptcy will immediately stop the foreclosure and sheriff’s sale processes. When you file for bankruptcy, an “automatic stay” goes into effect, which instantly stops all foreclosure and other collection proceedings.

If your HOA has already initiated the foreclosure or sheriff’s sale process, filing for bankruptcy will immediately halt those proceedings—even if you file a minute before the auction.

Breathing Room to Reorganize Your Finances

The automatic stay gives you the breathing room you need to reorganize your finances and develop a plan with your bankruptcy attorney to address outstanding debts—including any delinquent HOA fees or assessments.

Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file (Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13), you can discharge certain debts or establish a repayment plan that lets you catch up on your HOA obligations over time.

An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you understand your options, determine which type of bankruptcy is best for your situation, and guide you through filing and navigating the legal system.

With the right support and strategy, you can use bankruptcy to protect your home and get back on solid financial footing.

Key Takeaways

  • HOAs in Maryland cannot force you to sell your home. However, they have the authority to initiate foreclosure and sheriff’s sale proceedings under specific circumstances, such as unpaid assessments or violations.
  • As a homeowner, you generally have rights and protections, including the right to due process and the opportunity to cure violations.
  • If you’re facing HOA foreclosure or sheriff’s sale, filing for bankruptcy can provide immediate relief through the automatic stay and give you time to reorganize your finances.
  • Speak to a bankruptcy attorney to understand your options and develop a strategy to protect your home and financial well-being.

Contact Steiner Law Group to Save Your Home

You don’t have to navigate this complex situation alone. At Steiner Law Group, our experienced bankruptcy attorneys have a proven track record of helping homeowners like you protect their most valuable asset—their home.

We can guide you through the process of filing for bankruptcy to stop foreclosure in its tracks.

Have More Questions? Contact Us

If you have more questions about “Can an HOA force you to sell your home in Maryland?” or create a tailored plan to save your home, contact Steiner Law Group today to schedule a free consultation. You can also call us at (410) 670-7060.

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About Eric Steiner, Esquire

Mr. Steiner graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 2006. Since then, he has focused his practice on bankruptcy, real estate, commercial and consumer collections, including representing the third largest lender in the greater Baltimore area.