In Haddad v. Alexander, Zelmanski, Danner & Fioritto, PLLC, — F.3d —-, 2012 WL 5188812 (6th Cir. 2012), the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that condominium association fees qualify as a “debt” subject to the FDCPA.
Because the statute’s definition of a “debt” focuses on the transaction creating the obligation to pay, the obligation to pay is derived from the purchase transaction itself. The assessments at issue in this case therefore qualify as “obligations of a consumer to pay money arising out of a transaction.” 15 U.S.C. § 1629a(5). ¶ Furthermore, cases cited by the district court in support of its reasoning are distinguishable from the case at hand, because the debt in those cases was clearly business debt. See Van Eck v. BAL Global Fin., LLC, No. 08–cv–13436, 2009 WL 3210092, at *1 (E.D.Mich. Sept. 30, 2009) (recognizing that debt from the purchase of materials for manufacturing industrial equipment is not consumer debt); Schram v. Federated Fin. Corp., No. 06–12700, 2007 WL 1238863, at *1 (E.D.Mich. Apr. 27, 2007) (holding that the FDCPA did not apply because it was “un-disputed” that the business credit card debt was a business debt); Levant, 356 F.Supp.2d at 783 n .3 (holding that debt for car leased by and for a company was business debt). The same is true of cases cited by the Firm. See First Gibraltar Bank v. Smith, 62 F.3d 133 (5th Cir.1995) (holding that debt entered into by a partnership to acquire and develop property is not debt under the FDCPA); Kattula v. Jade, No. 07–12569, 2008 WL 495298, at *1 (E.D.Mich. Feb. 20, 2008) (holding that debt entered into by a partnership to acquire and develop property is not debt under the FDCPA). ¶ While debt collector conduct is certainly relevant when determining whether a violation of the FDCPA has occurred, it is not relevant when determining whether the debt in question is debt that is regulated by the FDCPA. The most probative time in determining the purposes that the individual has for purchasing a property is at the time of the transaction, not when an agency’s collection efforts begin. See Hunter, No. 2:08–cv–069, 2012 WL 715270, at *2 (citing Miller, 214 F.3d at 874–75). Even though Haddad no longer resides at the property, the record is clear that he purchased the condominium for personal usage and lived there for fifteen years. The district court erred in finding that the debt at issue does not meet the statutory definition of “debt” under the FDCPA or the MCPA because Haddad no longer derives a “personal” use from the condominium.