Condominium associations are given an enormous amount of power under the laws of the Commonwealth. According to Massachusetts General Laws 183A sec. 6, associations who are due condominium fees are able to impose liens against the offender. The strength of the association comes from the fact that their liens are able to take precedence over any other liens or debts the owner of the condominium may have. This means that the association’s liens are able to be collected even before the mortgage.
If your association is in need of legal representation to enforce the collection of condominium fees, please call my office. With years of practice representing associations seeking to collect on fees owed, I provide affordable and efficient collection services.
There are specific steps that must be followed in order to effectuate a lien. Once the fees become 60 days past due, the association can send notice by first class mail to the unit owner. The notice should inform the owner of the amount he or she is indebted and provide them with an opportunity to pay the fees. 30 days later the association can then file and an action to impose a lien against the owner. At this time, notice must also be given to the unit owner again to inform them of a lien.
When a lien has been imposed the condo association is given options under the law depending on the situation of the unit. If the unit is currently being rented, the association may place a lien against the rent until the full amount of the delinquent fees have been paid.
Often, since the association’s lien supersedes the mortgage, the mortgage company will actually pay the past due fees and add the amount of the payment to the amount owed to the mortgage company.
There are few defenses that excuse this behavior:
Unit owners will often state a reason for their unpaid fees, such as unhappiness with the current association board or another type of grievance. These excuses are not tolerated under the laws of the Commonwealth. Grievances are not permitted to effect the collection of common fees.
Absent extraordinary circumstances, unit owners must pay their lawfully imposed fees or be subject to the consequences. Additionally, should the unit owner refuse to pay his or her fees, he or she may become liable for the attorney fees, costs, and interests incurred from a litigation process.