The HOA just filed a lien against my property. Here is the background: I received a pre-lien letter some time in 2008, in August of 2010, and in January of 2011. I responded to every letter with a letter asking for a meeting with the Board of Directors which I have a right to do, but I never received an answer. In June, the association finally filed a lien without the opportunity for a meeting. Supposedly, another letter was sent in April (according to the HOA statement); however, I did not receive this letter. I filed bankruptcy last year in August and was discharged in December. I am still living in the property. I was wondering if it was legal for the HOA to file the lien without meeting with me as required by the Sterling-Davis Act. Thanks.
The HOA board should have allowed you to meet if you requested it.
In California, HOAs are governed by the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act.
Associations are allowed to record a lien but may not start foreclosure until the delinquent assessment is at least $1,800 or the delinquency is at least 12 months old pursuant to California Civil Code section 1367.4(b)(2).
First of all, California Civil Code section 1367.1(c)(2) requires that the decision to record a lien for delinquent assessments must be made by the HOA board by a majority vote in an open meeting and recorded in the minutes of that meeting prior to the recording of the lien.
Next, as provided for under California Civil Code section 1367.1(a), at least 30 days prior to recording a lien, the HOA must notify the owner by certified mail of the following:
- 1. A general description of the collection and lien enforcement procedures of the association.
- 2. The method of calculation of the amount.
- 3. A statement that the owner of the separate interest has the right to inspect the association records.
- 4. The following in 14-point boldface type: IMPORTANT NOTICE: IF YOUR SEPARATE INTEREST IS PLACED IN FORECLOSURE BECAUSE YOU ARE BEHIND IN YOUR ASSESSMENTS, IT MAY BE SOLD WITHOUT COURT ACTION.
- 5. An itemized statement of the charges owed by the owner, including items on the statement which indicate the amount of any delinquent assessments, the fees and reasonable costs of collection, reasonable attorney's fees, any late charges, and interest, if any.
- 6. A statement that the owner is not be liable to pay the charges, interest, and costs of collection, if it is determined the assessment was paid on time to the association.
- 7. The right to request a meeting with the board to dispute the debt or to discuss a payment plan.
Finally, after the expiration of the 30 days, the HOA can go ahead and record a Notice of Lien.
The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.