|30 Days Prior to Filing A Lien||N/A|
|30 Days Prior to Filing A Lien||N/A|
Below are some frequently asked questions about filing condominium or homeowner association liens in California.
Who May File a condominium or HOA lien?
In California, a “Community Association” may file a condominium or HOA lien for assessments. A Community Association is defined as a nonprofit corporation or an unincorporated association created for the purpose of managing a common interest development. A common interest development can be a condominium, a community apartment, a planned development, or a stock cooperative. Basically, any association that filed a declaration may file a lien for assessments.
Must the Lien be Filed?
Yes. In California there are strict requirements regarding assessment liens. The association must have the lien recorded in the county recording office of the county in which the separate property interest is located. Further an itemized statement of charges owed must be filed along with the Notice of Delinquent Assessment (Lien).
What can association file for (dues, assessments, etc.)?
California Community Associations may file a lien for any regular or special assessment validly assessed by the association. Regular assessments are equivalent to “dues” to the association, and special assessments are one-time assessments levied to enable the community association to perform its obligations under the governing documents of the association, including an extraordinary assessment for an emergency situation. Further, an association also may record a lien for a monetary charge imposed by the association as a means of reimbursing the association for costs incurred by the association in the repair of damage to common areas and facilities for which the member or the member’s guests or tenants were responsible, if such a lien is provided for in the declaration.
Include Costs, Attorney Fees, Interest, etc.?
Yes. California law allows certain amounts to be included in the lien in addition to the amount of the delinquent assessment(s). These amounts include:
Late Charges (as set forth in the declaration, but not to exceed 10% of the delinquent assessment amount)
Reasonable Fees and Costs of Collection
Reasonable Attorney Fees
Interest (as set forth in the declaration but not to exceed 12% annually)
Prerequisite to File?
Yes. In California there are perquisites that must occur prior to filing the lien. The property owner must be sent a Notice of the association’s intent to file the lien, and an itemized statement of the debt owed. The Notice requires specific wording and contents and will be discussed further in the “Is Notice Required” section. Further, for liens recorded after January 1, 2006, the decision to record a lien for delinquent assessments may only be made by the board of directors of the association and may not be delegated to an agent of the association. The board must approve the decision by a majority vote of the board members in an open meeting and record the vote in the minutes of that meeting.
Prerequisite to Enforce?
Yes. In California, certain prerequisites must be met before a lien for delinquent assessments can be enforced. The association must offer the owner, and participate in if requested by the owner, dispute resolution pursuant to the association’s “meet and confer” program, or alternative dispute resolution with a neutral third-party required by California law, subject to certain requirements. Further, an assessment lien may not be foreclosed until the amount of the delinquent assessments alone equals or exceeds $1800 or the assessments are more than one-year delinquent. Further, the decision to initiate foreclosure of a lien for delinquent assessments that has been validly recorded shall be made only by the board of directors of the association and may not be delegated to an agent of the association. The board shall approve the decision by a majority vote of the board members in an executive session, and must record the vote in the minutes of the next meeting of the board open to all members. The confidentiality of the owner or owners of the separate interest must be protected by identifying the matter in the minutes by the parcel number of the property, rather than the name of the owner or owners. A board vote to approve foreclosure of a lien is required to take place at least 30 days prior to any public sale.
Deadline to Enforce?
A lien for delinquent assessment payments in California has priority over all other liens recorded subsequent to the notice of assessment, except that the declaration may provide for the subordination thereof to any other liens and encumbrances.
Yes. California requires that notice be given to the owner of the separate interest prior to filing a lien on the property. The notice must be sent to the owner of the separate property by certified mail at least 30 days prior to the recording of the lien. The notice must also contain specific wording and information, set forth in California Civ. Code Sec. 1367.1, as well as a warning to the property owner printed in 14-point boldface type.
Who Must Receive Notice?
The owner must receive the pre-lien notice. However, every party listed as an owner in the association’s record’s must receive the notice, even if the parties are at the same listed address.
Does Notice Need to Be Provided that the Lien Was Recorded?
Yes. California requires that a copy of the recorded lien must be mailed, by certified mail, to every person listed as an owner of the separate interest in the association’s records. This notice must be mailed no later than 10 calendar days after recordation of the lien.