I’ve mentioned previously that California has some of the most burdensome and complicated laws regarding Condominium and HOA liens for delinquent assessments. These requirements not only apply to notices and the filing of the lien, but also extend to the foreclosure (enforcement) of the lien once it has been properly filed.
In California, a community association is allowed to file a lien for delinquent assessments at basically any point after the assessment becomes delinquent, provided that the intricacies of the assessment lien law are complied with (including providing Notice to the Owner of the separate property at least 30 days before filing the lien).
Once a lien has been properly filed, however, one might think that the association could go ahead and foreclose on the lien in order to get paid. After all, if the association is owed money, and the lien is proper, that seems reasonable. Indeed, a California mechanic’s lien must be foreclosed on within a relatively quick period of time, or the lien may be lost forever. It is not so simple with an assessment lien, however.
While a California condominium or HOA assessment lien may be filed for a delinquent assessment of any amount, the lien may not be foreclosed upon until one of two events occur, either:
- the assessment has been delinquent for at least one-year, or
- the amount of the delinquent assessment(s) (not including interest, late charges, etc.) is at least $1800.
If neither of those conditions have been met, the association is limited to small claims court, general collection attempts, or alternative dispute resolution until the the proper time comes for foreclosure.