After that I would call on title to inquire as well.
Harold Sharpe - Broker
So Cal Homes
California Department of Real Estate Broker License # 01312992
If the property is a short sale, the seller most likely doesn't have the money to pay the past due fees (that's why they're past due). However, if you're really interested in a short sale property with past due fees, have your Realtor write up the offer stating the seller/lender will pay any past due fees. Worse they can do is say 'no' and then you move on to another property. Best case scenario, they agree to pay them (rare, but not unheard of).
You will experience more.
The HOA is smart enought, (most know this), that if they file a LIEN against the Condo, that it will be wiped out at the Foreclosure: They want to collect from anyone they can. There is no FAIR!
Visualize taking 150 hundred dollar bills and holding a match to them!
Basically, a Homeowners Association is simply what it says it is - an association of homeowners. It is not "right" for the other homeowners to pick up the slack from the delinquent seller's failure to pay the dues, and the dues are a lien against the unit (the same way taxes are).
On the other hand, if you must pay market value for the unit and add the delinquent HOA fees on top of that amount then I believe you would be overpaying.
If you are buying a short sale property, you may indeed run into a scenario where the buyer has o pay the unpaid fees...it is what it is...fair doesn't really enter into it. If you don't want to pay those fees (which I certainly understand) then move on to something else.
It's a strange market!! Good luck.