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Subject: When is time to get a lien on house?
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Author Messages


09/19/2005 7:10 PM  
Hi, I'm new. I'm VP on HOA Board, as of April. We are a small but proud community in MD (just 32 houses). New homeowners who moved here in the winter last year have not paid any dues yet, have mowed their lawn about 3 times since they have moved here, and are "parking" 3 automobiles in their fenced in yard (a sign of repo's I think). Our President is feeling he needs to be very aggressive and wants to put a lien on their house, fearing that they will abscond in the middle of the night. We have written letters with no response, threatened to stop their trash collection, and have left phone messages. What would be the appropriate action to take with these homeowners? Is a lien too expensive, too much trouble, too severe? Any input would be appreciated! Thanks...
~Cathy S.


09/21/2005 1:10 PM  
I agree that a lien is apparopriate- if for no other reason than the unpaid assessment. This guarantees that your association will collect the money (unless they are foreclosed on, in that case good luck!)And it shows fellow homeowners that you are going forward. No one would want to have to pay extra monthly/yearly to make up the funds these people choose not to pay. I have seen that happen in a local HOA.

You need to research the laws in your state/Association Declaration to determine whether you can file a lien and if so, for what (dues?fines?etc). I am an HOA VP in Illinois, and as the rpocess is not very difficult, we file for ourselves. It costs us $28 to file, and $28 to Release when they pay.

We filed 13 liens for unpaid assessments in May (our of 300 homes). To date, only 1 remains. Works perfectly.

If you need an attorney to file your lien (or step you through the process the first time) you may be able to add the cost to the lien depending on your state laws. Keep in mind however that most states don't allow you to add onto a lien later- if you need to collect additional money later it has to be filed separately.
Good luck!


09/22/2005 2:50 PM  
If you don't file liens for various violations of your by-laws or covenants, what is the purpose of having such regulations if they have no "teeth"?
After you have sent a friendly reminder (authorized by your board) to the offender, giving them 15 days (for example) to correct the violation and the resident then fails to make the necessary correction, it's time to send a notice of intention to file a lien (authorized by your board) notifying the violator by certified mail-return receipt requested, that a lien will be filed upon the property, citing the particular section(s) of your covenants or by-laws violated and your authority to file a lien. Give 'em another 10 days and then file!
Unless you are willing to go to the full extent of the law in enforcing by-laws and covenants you might just as well tear up those documents and resign yourself to having a trashy complex over which your board will have no control. You can then sit by and watch property values tumble.


11/26/2005 10:30 PM  
That's exactly right! Unfortunatley, in the state of ARIZONA, where I bought, trashy is now king. A new law went into effect that disallows leins on violators. The only "teeth" CC&Rs have out HERE is a BOD who is an ABR...ADULT BABYSITTING RING. Count your blessings.


11/30/2005 12:13 PM  
Have you spoken with the family?

We have 32 units. That's a small community. Everybody knows everybody. Maybe it's just me, but I'd do everything possible before filing a lien. Here is a list from I'm not a member or employee -- I just like their ideas.

-Offer compromises.
-Hold a hearing.
-Try arbitration or mediation.
-Hold public meetings on controversial rules.
-Be consistent.
-Be reasonable.
-Give clear and proper notice.
-Practice due process

Then I'd add a few of my own.

If, as a last resort, you have to file a lien, then by all means do so. If it does go to court, you can always list all the things you did, attempting to get the owner to comply. I'd bet you'd have a good case -- but I'd also bet it will be resolved way before then.

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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > When is time to get a lien on house?

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