HOA Liens & Assessments FAQ

Click on the link above to download a pdf document with answers to the following questions:

Q 1. What are HOA assessments?

Q 2. How often are a HOA’s assessments due?

Q 3. When does an assessment become a debt of the owner?

Q 4. Is an unpaid assessment the responsibility and debt of the owner even if he or she ceases to own the property?

Q 5. When is an assessment considered delinquent?

Q 6. Once an assessment is delinquent what penalties or charges can a HOA charge the homeowner?

Q 7. What are the collection choices available to a homeowners’ association if a unit owner refuses to pay assessments in response to a notice of delinquent assessment?

Q 8. Can a HOA foreclose not based on unpaid assessment but based on unpaid fines or penalties?

Q 9. Can a HOA foreclose on a homeowner for reimbursement of costs if a homeowner or homeowner’s guest or tenant damages the common area?

Q 10. If a HOA forecloses on a homeowner, does the homeowner have a right to try to get the property back?

Q 11. If a HOA places a lien on a homeowner’s property can it foreclose on that lien even if there is a first or a first and second mortgage on the property?

Q 12. If a HOA forecloses what happens to the first or other mortgages which are senior (were recorded prior to the HOA lien)?

Q 13. Once a HOA forecloses upon the property can it rent it out?

Q 14. Why would a HOA foreclose on a property where there is insufficient equity to pay off the senior liens?

Q 15. Does a HOA lien survive a foreclosure by a senior lien, such as the first mortgage?

Q 16. If a HOA lien is “wiped out” during a foreclosure by a senior lienholder can the HOA pursue the homeowner even after the homeowner no longer owns the property?

Q 17. If a HOA has a lien on the property does it have to remove it if the other mortgage holders on the property agree to terms on a short sale?

Q 18. Could a HOA which refuses to accept what is offered to them by a lender during a short sale cause the whole short sale to fail?

Q 19. If a HOA does agree to remove its lien for an amount less than the amount due, is the HOA allowed to try to collect the deficiency from the homeowner?

Q 20. Doesn’t California law prevent lienholders from recovering a deficiency if they consent to a short sale?

Q 21. In order to obtain a release of lien could a homeowner agree to pay the sums due at a later date or enter into some other way to obtain a release of a lien to permit a short sale?

Q 22. Does an agreement between a homeowner to pay the HOA or other arrangement have to be disclosed to the first or other lienholders in a short sale transaction?

Q 23. Could a person who buys a property through a short sale be responsible for the unpaid dues of a former owner?

Q 24. What are some points that can be raised with a HOA to try to encourage them to reduce their demands for full payment of any homeowner debts and agree to a short sale?

Q 25. Is the new owner of a property after a foreclosure responsible to pay assessments that were owed by a prior homeowner?

Q 26. Can a HOA prevent the new owner after a foreclosure from enjoying the amenities of the association?

Q 27. If the HOA is the party who foreclosed as opposed to a lender is there anything a buyer should be aware of?

Readers who require specific advice should consult an attorney.

The information contained herein is believed accurate as of January 8, 2014. It is intended to provide general answers to general questions and is not intended as a substitute for individual legal advice. Advice in specific situations may differ depending upon a wide variety of factors. Therefore, readers with specific legal questions should seek the advice of an attorney. Written and revised by Sanjay Wagle, Esq. Copyright© 2014 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.).Permission is granted to C.A.R. members to reprint this material in hardcopy or PDF format only for personal use or with individual clients. This material may not be used or reproduced for commercial purposes. Other reproduction or use is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the C.A.R Legal Department. All rights reserved.