I live in Georgia. How much time must lapse before an HOA can put a lien on a home for not paying HOA dues?
4 Answers from Attorneys
The statute does not specify. Don't mess around with this. If you do not pay, then they will eventually give you 30-day's notice of intent to foreclose on the lien once the sum owed, plus collection costs (including attorney fees) and late fees exceeds $2000.. No lien actially has to be filed. The recording of the declaration is enough - a lien already exists to the extent any HOA dues are owed.
See below statute:
OCGA § 44-3-232. Assessments against lot owners as constituting lien in favor of association; additional charges against lot owners; procedure for foreclosing lien; obligation to provide statement of amounts due
(a) All sums lawfully assessed by the association against any lot owner or property owners' association lot, whether for the share of the common expenses pertaining to that lot, fines, or otherwise, and all reasonable charges made to any lot owner or lot for materials furnished or services rendered by the association at the owner's request to or on behalf of the lot owner or lot, shall, from the time the sums became due and payable, be the personal obligation of the lot owner and constitute a lien in favor of the association on the lot prior and superior to all other liens whatsoever except:
(1) Liens for ad valorem taxes on the lot;
(2) The lien of any first priority mortgage covering the lot and the lien of any mortgage recorded prior to the recording of the declaration; or
(3) The lien of any secondary purchase money mortgage covering the lot, provided that neither the grantee nor any successor grantee on the mortgage is the seller of the lot.
The recording of the declaration pursuant to this article shall constitute record notice of the existence of the lien, and no further recordation of any claim of lien for assessments shall be required.
(b) To the extent that the instrument provides, the personal obligation of the lot owner and the lien for assessments shall also include:
(1) A late or delinquency charge not in excess of the greater of $10.00 or 10 percent of the amount of each assessment or installment thereof not paid when due;
(2) At a rate not in excess of 10 percent per annum, interest on each assessment or installment thereof and any delinquency or late charge pertaining thereto from the date the same was first due and payable;
(3) The costs of collection, including court costs, the expenses required for the protection and preservation of the lot, and reasonable attorney's fees actually incurred; and
(4) The fair rental value of the lot from the time of the institution of an action until the sale of the lot at foreclosure or until judgment rendered in the action is otherwise satisfied.
(c) Not less than 30 days after notice is sent by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, to the lot owner both at the address of the lot and at any other address or addresses which the lot owner may have designated to the association in writing, the lien may be foreclosed by the association by an action, judgment, and court order for foreclosure in the same manner as other liens for the improvement of real property, subject to superior liens or encumbrances, but any such court order for judicial foreclosure shall not affect the rights of holders of superior liens or encumbrances to exercise any rights or powers afforded to them under their security instruments. The notice provided for in this subsection shall specify the amount of the assessments then due and payable together with authorized late charges and the rate of interest accruing thereon. No foreclosure action against a lien arising out of this subsection shall be permitted unless the amount of the lien is at least $2,000.00. Unless prohibited by the instrument, the association shall have the power to bid on the lot at any foreclosure sale and to acquire, hold, lease, encumber, and convey the same. The lien for assessments shall lapse and be of no further effect, as to assessments or installments thereof, together with late charges and interest applicable thereto, four years after the assessment or installment first became due and payable.
(d) Any lot owner, mortgagee of a lot, person having executed a contract for the purchase of a lot, or lender considering the loan of funds to be secured by a lot shall be entitled upon request to a statement from the association or its management agent setting forth the amount of assessments past due and unpaid together with late charges and interest applicable thereto against that lot. Such request shall be in writing, shall be delivered to the registered office of the association, and shall state an address to which the statement is to be directed. Failure on the part of the association, within five business days from the receipt of such request, to mail or otherwise furnish such statement regarding amounts due and payable at the expiration of such five-day period with respect to the lot involved to such address as may be specified in the written request therefor shall cause the lien for assessments created by this Code section to be extinguished and of no further force or effect as to the title or interest acquired by the purchaser or lender, if any, as the case may be, and their respective successors and assigns, in the transaction contemplated in connection with such request. The information specified in such statement shall be binding upon the association and upon every lot owner. Payment of a fee not exceeding $10.00 may be required as a prerequisite to the issuance of such a statement if the instrument so provides.
(e) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed to prohibit actions maintainable pursuant to Code Section 44-3-223 to recover sums for which subsection (a) of this Code section creates a lien.
Soon after you fail to pay as due. You will then likely be liable for interest, late fees and attorneys fees in addition to the HOA dues. The lien will stay (and grow) until you try to sell or the HOA can sue you and get a judgment.
They can pursue you right away. Do NOT play games with this. You can lose your home.
The law itself doesn't require any wait, so unless your HOA agreement does, 1 second late is enough. When you do not pay, you will get hit with LOTS of extra fees. Eventually they will give you 30 day notice of foreclosure. You will owe not just the HOA fees, but also owe attorneys fees, collection costs, ad fees, and late fees.
In other words, pay on time. If you can't see a lawyer as you may need a Chapter 13 to protect your home.
It depends completely on your governing documents. If your HOA is subject to the property owners association act, then the lien is an automatic statutory lien. (They do not have to file anything).
If you belong to a common law HOA, then you need to review the governing documents.
If you feel like your HOA has treated you unfairly, contact my office for assistance.
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