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In New Hampshire, can a lien for unpaid condo dues be filed and recorded without notice of intent to lien?

Nashua, NH |

If a lien is filed for unpaid monthly condo dues, and the unit owner was never notified with an intent to lien letter, never notified by the association attorney, is no notice legal in New Hampshire? And, if the lien is incorrect, specifically because of the months that are claimed to have been unpaid, that had been paid, is this a valid lien? The condo declarations and rules specify the unit owner must be notified by mail, and it must be sent return receipt, to and including demand letters. Attorney fees were also added to the amounts now due. No letter from the association on the intent to lien, no notice from associations attorney, nothing.... The lien came as a surprise when I found it in the registry of deeds. How do I handle this? Do I need a real estate litigation attorney?

In addition, the condo collection policy states that liens are filed if dues totaling $400 or more are owed, yet no policy has ever filtered down to unit owners. The lien is incorrect, and the real balance owed at the time of the lien was less than their "policy" to file liens on unpaid dues. This was only found out when contact with the association president was made by letter. He claims the lien was filed due to an outstanding balance more than the "policy". He did not review the payment ledger for the unit prior to filing the lien. The balance owed was less than policy a month before he filed the lien.

Attorney Answers 1

Posted

The statute that governs condo liens is in 356-B:46. In rereading the statute, it seems to me that the legislature was not really concerned with notice to the unit owner, most likely because the unit owner should pretty well know if they are paying the bill or not.

The statute does give the association additional rights if it does send notices and my guess is that most attorneys will send the 70 day notice to the unit owner and the first mortgage lender in order to give the lien priority over the first mortgage.

A notice to the unit owner also entitles the condo association to cut off services to the delinquent owner, so there are multiple reasons to give notice to the unit owner. I did not, however, see anything in the statute that said that a notice must be given to record a lien.

I cannot comment on the policy as I cannot tell from the question if the policy is a binding policy or simply a guideline.

My answers are general in nature based upon very short, and often incomplete questions. Please do not rely upon my answers. If you need a legal opinion, you need to hire a lawyer who will take the time to fully understand your problem and then take the time to research the issues.

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