Do they really mean “golf carts” or are they talking about “low speed vehicles” a/k/a “neighborhood electric vehicles”.  Golf carts in the strict sense are “off road vehicles”, that being said, LSVs and NEVs are not.  LSVs and NEVs are typically limited to 25 or 30 miles per hour and are subject to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations as well as to certain Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.  We represent many active adult communities and although we have not had to prepare such a resolution yet (some just allow golf carts), we encourage our age restricted communities to seriously consider golf cart/LSV/NEV resolutions.  Not only are these vehicles, if properly regulated, convenient, as residents “age in place” there is a strong probability that such vehicles will permit residents enhanced mobility and/or be required as “reasonable accommodations” for certain handicapped people – we have already seen such cases come out of Florida courts

In these tough economic times, it seems no association is immune to the burden of vacant units. While failure to pay assessments is the most obvious problem, vacant units can introduce a host of other problems from squatters to burst pipes. While there is no quick fix or magic formula to correct the scourge of vacant units, there are steps that every association can take to ease and even eliminate the financial and maintenance burden vacant units can create.

If the association is willing to rent units, often the best option is to contact the owner of a vacant unit to see if they would consider signing a quitclaim deed or a rental agreement. A quitclaim deed transfers ownership of the unit to the association, subject to any mortgage or other liens on the property. A quitclaim deed offers two enormous benefits. First, the association can rent the unit and begin recouping the arrears that have been accumulating. Second, the association can monitor and control the unit and ensure that it does not become a health and safety hazard in the community. A rental agreement provides the association with the authority to rent the unit on behalf of the landlord and collect the rents. It offers many of the same benefits as a quitclaim deed, but without the permanency of actually transferring ownership. In either case, the association should ensure that the unit is in rentable condition – or can be made rentable for a reasonable cost – prior to entering into any agreements.

In New Jersey, a mortgagee who takes possession of a unit is responsible for pay ongoing assessments throughout its possession. If a mortgagee has taken possession of a unit, the association can pursue the mortgagee directly for unpaid assessments. It is a fact sensitive inquiry as to when a mortgagee has taken possession. Whenever it appears that a mortgagee has become involved with a unit, it is best to contact the association’s attorney to determine what options the association may have.

Beyond collections, vacant units also can create nuisances and even health and safety hazards. N.J.S.A. 46:10B-51 requires foreclosing mortgagees to maintain vacant and abandoned properties. While the mortgagee does not have to keep a property in pristine condition, it is responsible to ensure that the property does not become a nuisance or violate any state or local code. If a vacant unit is in disrepair, the association can demand that the mortgagee make the necessary repairs and, if it fails to do so, notify code enforcement who should then force the mortgagee to make necessary repairs and perform necessary maintenance.

Lastly, with the temperature continuing to drop, associations may be forced to take some maintenance and repairs into their own hands. If a vacant property has not been winterized by the mortgagee, every association with attached units should hire a plumber to winterize any vacant units. Pursuant to the Condominium Act, N.J.S.A. 46:8B-15(b), an association has the right to enter a unit during reasonable houses “to perform emergency repairs necessary to prevent damage to common elements or to any other unit or units.” Therefore, the association may step in to winterize properties in order to prevent the extensive damage that can be caused by a burst pipe. The association can also bill back the costs of the repairs to the unit owner. While this may seem like an added cost to the association, the cost of winterization is minimal compared to the costs of repairing the area surrounding a burst pipe, not to mention the inconvenience to the surrounding units. This same logic can be applied to other unit owner responsibilities, like a broken window or door. Keeping vacant units secure is the best way to protect the entire association and to prevent much greater costs down the road.

While vacant units are never welcome, they can be controlled and even become income generating assets if the association is proactive.

It’s that time of year again… when extreme cold can cause pipes to burst in vacant units.  In light of this, it is important that managers gain access into known vacant units to winterize them.  This avoids unnecessary insurance claims and premium increases caused by ruptured water lines.

The Condominium Act provides authority for condominium associations to gain access into a unit for the purposes of protecting the common elements and adjoining units.  The statute, N.J.S.A. § 46:8B-15(b), also permits the condominium association to charge any costs incurred in gaining access and winterizing the unit back to the unit owner.  However, prior to gaining access into the unit, the Association should provide reasonable notice to the unit owner and advise that the unit owner that they will be liable for any costs incurred in gaining access and winterizing the unit.

Further, N.J.S.A. § 45:22A-44(b) authorizes homeowner and townhome association boards to exercise its powers in a way that protects the health, safety and general welfare of the residents of the community.  In addition, each association’s governing documents typically provide additional authority permitting the Association to gain access into units in the event of an emergency.  Between the authority granted  in the association’s governing documents and N.J.S.A. § 45:22A-44(b),  homeowner and townhome associations generally have sufficient authority to gain access into vacant units upon reasonable notice to the owner to winterize them for the purpose of protecting adjoining units and common elements.

So, if there is any indication that a particular unit is vacant and not winterized, then we advise that management or our office send a notice to the owner advising that the Association will gain access to the unit to determine whether it is vacant and whether it has been winterized.  If vacant and not winterized, then the association will winterize the unit and charge the unit owner back any costs incurred.

 

You hated them as a kid. You wish they were no longer necessary as an adult. But in community living, having some rules is a necessity. Many of these rules are established in the process of creating a condominium, homeowners or cooperative association. To change these initial rules, which are most often found in the declaration, master deed, bylaws or proprietary lease, associations must typically obtain a vote of the membership to amend the governing documents.

However, Boards of Trustees are also empowered with certain rule-making authority. Such rules are best adopted via a board resolution, which must be voted on by the board at an open meeting of the membership – whether any members show up to the meeting, or not. Each association may have unique needs that have to be addressed with unique rules, but almost every association can benefit from implementing certain standard rules and regulations.

Rules that May Reduce Increases in Insurance Premiums

Although there is no direct correlation between these rules and an association’s insurance premiums, when associations implement policies that reduce the likelihood of lawsuits and insurance claims – two important factors in determining insurance premiums – there is a strong chance that their future premium increases will be lower. Some of these rules are:

  1. Adopt a board resolution requiring owners to conduct dryer vent and chimney cleanings and inspections at least every two years. This reduces the risk of lint and soot-related fires – fires that could result in increased insurance premiums.
  2. Adopt a board resolution requiring owners to replace water heaters after a specific number of years. Water heaters are generally expected to have useful life of eight to twelve years. Unfortunately, without a rule requiring timely replacement, many people will wait until their water heater malfunctions before replacing it, and water heater malfunctions frequently result in insurance claims for water damage and increased premiums.
  3. Adopt a board resolution requiring owners to install burst resistant washing machine hoses. Along with failed water heaters, leaking or burst washing machine hoses are probably the top causes of insurance claims for water damage in associations. Stop this problem before it happens.
  4. Pass a Tort Immunity Amendment to the Bylaws. This limits an association’s liability for injuries that occur on the association’s property, but it does require at least a two-thirds vote of the membership. The two-thirds requirement is a minimum set by statute, but if the bylaws that are being amended have a higher amendment threshold, then the higher voting percentage will apply.

Rules that May Increase Revenue

Assessments are the financial lifeblood of associations. Unfortunately, over the past five to six years, delinquencies have increased substantially. Some people just do not have the money to pay, but others may simply have put their assessments further down their list of priorities. In order to increase collections and revenue from other sources, associations should consider the following rules:

  1. Adopt a Parking and Towing Resolution. Not only should this resolution contain parking rules, but it can – and should – contain provisions that permit the towing of delinquent unit owners’ vehicles. It is amazing how often a payment plan is proposed after a trip to the vehicle impound. (Of course, it is critical to ensure that all towing is conducted in compliance with the Predatory Towing Prevention Act.)
  2. If an association has the authority to fine unit owners, it should set up a system and schedule of fines for violations of the rules. Ideally, the bylaws permit the board to set the amount of fines, and in such cases, it is possible to establish an escalating system of fines, such as $50 for the first violation, $75 for the second and $100 for the third and subsequent violations. However, it is important to remember that, before these fines can be collected, the member charged with the violation(s) must be given an opportunity to participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
  3. Associations that do not have the authority to assess fines, charge late fees or accelerate assessments should attempt to adopt an amendment to their governing documents to establish these powers. Since these powers must generally be in the bylaws, master deed, proprietary lease or declaration, an amendment is necessary to add them. Without the “teeth” of a fining authority, it is very difficult to enforce rules. Without the ability to charge late fees, it is very difficult to enforce timely payment of assessments, and without the ability to accelerate assessments, associations’ liens and judgments will almost always be less than the amount truly owed within a month.
  4. Adopt a leasing amendment to empower the association to immediately collect the rents of delinquent owners who lease their units. Not only can a leasing amendment allow associations to collect tenants’ rents, but it can also increase associations’ ability to enforce rules against the tenants. If a landlord does not evict his problem tenants, the association can step into his shoes and conduct the eviction – charging the costs back to the landlord.

These lists are just a sampling of the strategies that associations can implement when making rules that can lead to reduced expenses, improved enforcement and increased revenue. We have an expansive fixed fee “menu” of various resolutions we could discuss with the board.

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to providing the education and resources necessary to foster vibrant, responsive, competent, community associations and helping them promote harmony and responsible leadership.

Community Association Volunteer Leaders (CAVLs), Community Managers, Community Management Companies as well as Business Partner members made up of professionals and service providers, rely on CAI as the definitive source for:

  • The most up-to-date information on association management and operations to keep communities on the leading edge
  • Best practices in the community association industry
  • Innovative educational courses centered on creative learning
  • Networking forums for professionals, service providers, managers and community association volunteer leaders

The following is the text of a speech given by Francis J. McGovern, Jr., Esquire at the New Jersey Chapter’s December 10, 2014 Chapter Retreat held at Clearbrook Community Association in Monroe Township, NJ.  The audience was composed of New Jersey Chapter volunteer leaders and staff.

Good Morning.  I usually speak extemporaneously but today there are a few specific points I’d like to make so I’m reading from a prepared speech.

Preliminarily, I’d like to thank the Board members and, in particular, Marie Mirra and Nina Stanton.  Marie and Nina are two women who have inspired me.

I also have to credit a young man named Roger Nicholson for many of the thoughts that are in my speech today.  Since the first day that Roger joined the Board, he has regularly reminded us of our mission.

I.  Our Mission.

CAI-New Jersey is dedicated to enhancing the quality of community association living, through education, legislative advocacy and professional development.

II. Our Money Comes From Us.

Although relatively small rebates come from CAI National, the lion’s share of CAI-NJ’s funds come from your and my pockets.

This has to be kept in mind when thinking about “what I get for my sponsorship money”.  What we, as sponsors, should “get” above all else is education, advocacy and professional development which is naturally more focused on managers and community association volunteer leaders.

Networking, business development, beach parties and golf outings are secondary benefits of doing well by doing good.  We do well by doing good.
III.  Managers and Management Companies are the Glue That Binds Us Together

Managers and management companies are the glue that binds us together.  We must educate managers.  When I say “we”, I mean CAI-NJ.

By the end of March, 2015, I would like the Board and its committees, with the help of former chapter leaders, to formulate and begin implementing a plan for getting as many CAI-NJ managers to the CMCA level as soon as possible.

I would like such planning to include CAI-NJ reimbursing successful CMCA candidates for all or part of their course and test fees.

For 2015, CAI-NJ’s Legislative Action Committee is requesting $48,000 in funds and the Political Action Committee is requesting $7,300 in funds. I support these requests.  However, CAI-NJ should also be spending at least that much on Manager Education and Certification.

I would like the management companies to support CAI-NJ in this effort by, among other things, allowing managers time off to take the required courses and sit for the required exams without using PTO time.

We must educate managers.  Without educated managers, we are failing association volunteers, members, vendors, professionals, developers and government.

At a time when CAI-NJ faces unprecedented competition for participants and sponsors from the likes of the Co-Operator, IREM, Large Scale Management Companies and In-house education, CAI-NJ must step up to its mission or become irrelevant.

Anyone can give a course, hold a trade show or publish a magazine.  It’s everyone in this room’s job to fulfil CAI-NJ’s promise of education and advocacy.  The business partners fund it, the management companies provide the personnel and the CAVL’s must demand it.

IV. You Are The Future of CAI-NJ

There has been much said recently about using the talents of our past chapter leaders.

The Board has responded by appointing Ron Perl to the ADR task force, voting to invite past leaders to assist various committees and modifying the speakers’ bureau rules to allow greater participation.  My understanding is that in the near future the board will also be revisiting committee membership limitations.

Not only will these initiatives tap our membership talent, it will increase the quality of CAI-NJ’s offerings whether they are seminars, events or publications.

That being said, you are the future.  You must support your committee, get the job done and get to this [the Board] table so that you can carry CAI-NJ’s mission of education and advocacy into the future.

Thank you.

Information on CAI-NJ membership may be found at www.cainj.org

Passing a leasing amendment is desirable because it helps to maintain the quality and character of the community.  A leasing amendment benefits a community in two main ways:

  1. By providing an association with a means of evicting nuisance tenants
  2. By enabling the association to collect rent directly from tenants when unit owners become delinquent.

A leasing amendment will also pay for itself in the time and money saved in these two scenarios.

Scenario 1: The Problem Tenant

Every association encounters problem tenants.  However, without a leasing amendment, many associations are limited in their ability to evict such tenants.  A leasing amendment provides an association with the authority to evict a nuisance tenant if the owner fails to do so in a timely manner.  Thus, a leasing amendment enables an association to quickly and effectively remove problem tenants from the community.  This not only saves time, it also maintains a pleasant community atmosphere which helps to attract and retain good unit owners and tenants.

Scenario 2: The Delinquent Unit Owner

Unit owners who fail to pay assessments have a huge effect on an association’s bottom line.  A leasing amendment permits an association to collect rent directly from a unit owner’s tenant when the unit owner becomes delinquent.  This is particularly beneficial to an association because the association can do so without taking on the duties of a landlord.  Instead, the owner remains responsible for all duties as landlord.  Once the association has collected enough rent from a tenant to satisfy the owner’s obligations, the owner simply resumes collecting the rent.

Without a leasing amendment, an association will usually be forced to file a complaint against the landlord, obtain a judgment and attempt to execute a rent levy. Compared to the automatic assignment of rents that can be implemented through a lease amendment, this is a long and expensive process.   A leasing amendment solves the collections problem when a tenant is paying rent in a delinquent unit.  Not only can the association avoid going to court, the association has automatic access to a source for collections.  The collections obtained based upon adopting a leasing amendment can easily pay for the amendment itself—usually with the first rent check collected.

Why Not Just Pass a Resolution instead of an Amendment?

An amendment to an association’s governing documents takes more time and effort than the board passing a resolution.  Why not pass a resolution to deal with the issues outlined above?  The simple answer is that while a resolution may be easier to pass in the short term, it can create enforcement challenges down the road.  In order to be able to enforce the same type of provisions outlined above with a resolution, every tenant would have to sign a lease rider permitting the association to collect rent directly.  This creates excess administrative work and takes up valuable time—if it can even be accomplished.

 

In 2010, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) turned the financing of FHA mortgages upside down by announcing the end of spot approvals for condominiums and a new requirement of biannual community-wide certification for FHA mortgages. Many condominium associations went through the process of obtaining initial FHA approval, but the two-year recertification period has now come and gone – or is approaching expiration – for many of those communities.

WHEN TO SEEK RECERTIFICATION:  Condominium associations can seek recertification up to six months before and six months after the expiration date of their FHA certification, which is good for a two-year period. This process is essentially identical to the process of obtaining the initial FHA certification – with minor tweaks in HUD’s documentation requirements.

Associations should calendar the expiration dates of their certification to ensure that recertification can be obtained without a gap. When associations wait to seek recertification until a potential buyer discovers that s/he cannot obtain an FHA mortgage, unit sales often fall through due to the typical six to eight week approval process. Since many industry commentators suggest that 30% to 40% of condominium mortgages are FHA-backed, FHA certification should increase the potential market for buyers of condominiums in an association.

BARRIERS TO CERTIFICATION:  Whether an association is seeking initial certification or recertification, the following issues are the most common barriers that prevent associations from obtaining FHA approval:

  • Delinquencies are in excess of 15% of the membership.
  • There is ongoing litigation that is not covered by insurance – especially litigation involving construction defects.
  • Rentals exceed 50% of the total number of units.
  • There is inadequate reserve funding – less than 10% of the annual budget.

Embarking on projects that are so costly that the association is required to finance the project through a bank loan.  The first mechanism limits the association’s “power to spend.”  In these instances a provision is included within the governing documents limiting the association’s ability to spend, more than a predetermined sum, on any given project without first securing approval from a specific percentage of the community’s membership.  These provisions provide the membership an opportunity to pass upon what the governing documents classify as “large” projects before the board obtains the authority to spend those funds.  These provisions also protect the membership against being compelled to pay for a large project unless a sufficient percentage of the community agrees that that the project is necessary.

The second mechanism that may be included within an association’s governing documents limits the association’s “power to borrow” in order to fund a specific project. In these instances a provision is included within the governing documents limiting the association’s ability to borrow more than a predetermined sum without first securing approval from a specific percentage of the community’s membership.  These provisions provide the membership the opportunity to pass upon whether the association should be permitted to borrow funds to complete what the governing documents classify as “large” projects before the board obtains the authority to borrow those funds.  These provisions also protect the membership against being compelled to repay loans for large projects unless a sufficient percentage of the community agrees that that the project is necessary.

Although your governing documents may not include both provisions, if either provision is present, the association’s board of trustees should be cautious about attempting to secure a bank loan to finance a large project without first securing the membership’s approval.  In an Unpublished Opinion issued on January 22, 2013 in Claridge House One Condominium Association, Inc. v. Claridge House Owners for Justice, et al., 2013 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 135 (App. Div. 2013) the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s decision limiting the association’s power to borrow money unless it first obtained the membership’s approval to spend the money on the project for which the funds were borrowed. This “Unpublished Opinion” is not officially binding on any courts throughout the state.  However, it should provide board members insight in what it likely to happen should their association fail to heed its warning.

Open Board meetings are generally the most stressful part of any board member’s tenure.  We all know that people who come to open meetings are usually not there to let the board know what a wonderful job they are doing.  Instead, at best, they are there to listen, note problems and offer suggestions and, at worst, they are there to complain, berate and embarrass.  In spite of this, open board meetings should be embraced.

Open meetings are required by law. Both the Condominium Act, N.J.S.A. 46:8B-13, and the Planned Real Estate Full Disclosure Act, N.J.S.A. 45:22A-46, require that, with limited exception, if the Board is going to make a binding decision, that decision must be made at a public meeting open to attendance by all unit owners1.  This means that the membership must be allowed to watch.  This does not mean that the membership participates in the decision.  Further, all unit owners must have been given adequate prior notice of the meeting.  The notice requirements are ordinarily specified in each association’s by-laws although N.J.A.C. 5:20-1.2 actually defines “adequate notice” in the condominium context and this section might be applied by analogy to home owners associations.

Topics specifically excluded from having to be decided upon at an open public meeting and reserved for executive session are:

(1)  Any matter the disclosure of which would constitute and unwarranted invasion of individual privacy.  Often this involves debtor account collection decisions.

(2) Any pending or anticipated litigation or contract negotiations.  Often this involves transition decisions and vendor negotiations.

(3) Any matters falling within the attorney-client privilege, to the extent that confidentiality is required in order for the attorney to exercise his ethical duties as a lawyer.  This generally includes attorney-client communications.  Although there are exceptions, when in doubt, attorney communications and decisions requiring substantive attorney involvement should not be made at open meetings.  Note that involving the attorney in a decision cannot be used as a sham to permit decisions that would otherwise be required to be made at an open public meeting to be made in a closed session.

(4) any matter involving the employment, promotion, discipline or dismissal of a specific officer or employee of the association.

Besides open meetings being required by law, they are the keystone of Association  communications.  Association members can hear, first hand, what the Board is doing.  Further, open meetings provide a forum where Board members can stay in touch with membership concerns via the public comment session.  Although associations are not compelled to have public comment sessions, not having public comment sessions is unwise.  Although it must be explained that the membership does not participate in the decision making and they do not vote, excluding public comment is a recipe for mistrust, unrest and resentment.

Particular open meeting formats vary and are beyond the scope of this article however, each association should work with its manager, attorney, accountant, engineer etc. as the case may require to formulate the format that works best.  If it is anticipated that uncomfortable issues will be raised, they should be discussed with management and professionals prior to the meeting.  Often board members and other residents hear of “hot topics” long before others do.  Anticipation and preparation are essential to smoothly addressing “hot topics”.  In fact, more often than not, “hot topics” are better first raised by the board at open meetings rather than the members.  Membership generally appreciates this preemption.  The Board appears more informed and involved and it often steals the thunder of those who may be lying in wait to spring a hot topic on the Board.  In the end, open board meetings are required, are good and should be viewed as an opportunity to inform the members, listen to the members and showcase the board’s work.

1  Note that the board may meet in workshop sessions but may not make decisions at these workshop sessions.

Bankruptcy is a court case where a person attempts to have their debts wiped out (a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy) or attempts to have the court force their creditors to be paid under a payment plan (a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy).

The Petition date is the date that the person files the bankruptcy papers (the Petition) with the bankruptcy court.

The petition date is also the date that the Automatic Stay takes effect.  The automatic stay is like an automatic court order that orders creditors to stop pursuit of the person who owes the debt as long as the automatic stay is in effect.  Judges will impose sanctions against those who continue to pursue people in bankruptcy when the automatic stay is in effect.

What should a manager do when a bankruptcy notice is received?

First, immediately notify the association’s collection attorney and provide the attorney with copies of any bankruptcy documents received so that the association will temporarily stop collection efforts and will not be sanctioned for violating the automatic stay.

Modify the bookkeeping for the unit.  Set up one account to keep track of Pre-petition accruals (fees etc. that accrued prior to the petition date).  Only payments received from the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Trustee should be applied to the pre-petition accruals.  Set up a second account to keep track of Post-petition accruals (fees etc. that accrue after the Petition date).  Only payments received from the unit owner after the petition date should be applied to post-petition accruals.

A bankruptcy notice will typically be provided which will indicate the type of bankruptcy case filed and whether it appears that assets will be available for payment of pre-petition accruals.  If the notice indicates that assets are available, a Bar Date should be indicated on the notice.  The Bar Date is the deadline for the association to submit its Proof of Claim to the court so that the association may receive some of the assets available from the bankruptcy.  In bankruptcy, the bar date deadline is very serious and failure to file a proof of claim on time will typically result in loss of the claim.

The proof of claim is typically prepared by the association’s attorney.  The proof of claim specifies the amount of the pre-petition accruals and the property that secures the amount owed.  Typically the association’s attorney also prepares and files a notice of appearance which advises the court that the association intends to participate in the case.

In a Chapter 13 case the association attorney may also file an objection to confirmation objecting to the plan that the unit owner has proposed for paying off the pre-petition accruals (usually over a five year period).  If an objection is filed the attorney will have to appear at the Confirmation Hearing (A hearing before the Judge and/or Chapter 13 Trustee where the plan and the objections to the plan are reviewed).  If the court and the Trustee find the plan satisfactory, the plan will be confirmed and will bind those included in it.

How can an Association proceed against a non-paying unit owner if a bankruptcy is filed?

Obtain Stay Relief by filing a stay relief motion with the bankruptcy court.  The usual basis for this motion is that the unit owner has continued to fail to pay post-petition accruals or the bankruptcy was filed in bad faith.  If this motion is granted, the association will be able to continue pursuit of the unit owner.  However, if the unit owner dismisses his bankruptcy case and then files another one, a new automatic stay takes effect and the association’s collection efforts are stopped again.  After serial filings, the association may apply for Prospective Stay Relief.  If the association obtains a prospective stay relief order, the association may continue to pursue the unit owner even if a new bankruptcy is filed.  Note that, even if stay relief is granted, if a plan is confirmed, the plan will bind the association.

Often, prospective stay relief is the ultimate goal because serial filings for the purpose of delay are common.  Though hard cases generate attorney fees in obtaining prospective stay relief, associations should discuss this option with collection counsel because, if the association does nothing, non-paying unit owners will be happy to live for free and mortgage companies cannot be counted upon to aggressively obtain stay relief and finalize foreclosure.  If the association obtains prospective stay relief, the association may foreclose and have the unit owner removed from the unit.  This may not generate money for the association but it will help expedite turnover of the property to a new paying owner.  Many associations rent units during the period from the association’s foreclosure sale to the bank’s foreclosure sale.  Lastly, in a chapter 7, the case is typically closed quickly.  Once closed, the stay is gone and, though personal liability is discharged, the lien on the unit survives and may be foreclosed.  This is why pre-petition accruals should not be automatically written off, even in a chapter 7.