mortgage

7 choices for underwater condo owner

Call a lawyer
Call a lawyer

She could sic her attorney on the condo board.

Huss is in Minneapolis, and Garfinkel is a lawyer in New York City, where people are believed to be more confrontational. And Garfinkel has some provocative advice. "In New York, maybe it would be worth a phone call to the association to talk about her right to sublet," he says. "She could say, 'Look, if you don't (allow me to sublet), then I'm going to stop paying -- and, by the way, I have another place to go and I'm going to walk away.' She probably doesn't want to threaten that, but maybe that gets their attention to see if they could let her sublet the property."

If that's not in-your-face enough, Garfinkel has another suggestion -- one he says should not be done without the guidance of an attorney. "I might consider not paying for a month or two," he says, "just to get their attention." She could pay her mortgage, but not the condo dues. "The last thing a community like that needs is another person who is in foreclosure and who is behind on their payments."

Garfinkel adds: "There are 12 units in foreclosure. If they're going to insist on going down this road, then there's a good chance that she's going to stop making payments, and there will be a 13th foreclosure. Right now she's a model citizen. It's almost like she's being penalized for being a model citizen."

In an interview, Huss doesn't come across as someone who would feel comfortable delivering an ultimatum to the condo board. That's what lawyers are for, Drewes and Garfinkel say.

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