Blog

Collecting Unpaid Common Charges

February 20, 2019 Posted in Community Association Law

In New York, condominium unit owners must pay certain common charges in accordance with the by-laws and declarations (and house rules, if any) of their condo association.  Failure to pay such charges could give the condo association a right to file a lien against the unit and to take legal action against the unit owner, such as foreclosure of the condominium common charge lien.

Procedures for Recovering Owed Charges

With respect to condominiums, in the event that the unit owner has not paid outstanding common charges, the association is entitled to file a lien on the property. The condo association must comply with New York State's Condominium Act (Article 9-b of the Real Property Act). Section 339-AA of Article 9-B,  (“Lien for Common Charges; Duration; Foreclosure”), says, in part: “In the event that unpaid common charges are due, any member of the board of managers may file a notice of lien… if no notice of lien has [already] been filed within sixty days after the unpaid charges are due… Such lien may be foreclosed by suit authorized by and brought in the name of the board of managers….”

Additionally, the governing documents of the condo association (i.e., the by-laws, declarations, and house rules, if any), by which the unit owner is bound, provide guidance on the procedures necessary before a lien may be filed— for example, the governing documents may require that the unit owner be served with a written notice of their delinquency, and may also require that the unit owner be given a specified amount of time to cover their unpaid charges.

The owed amount may include, but are not necessarily limited, to:

  • Past-due charges
  • Late fees and interest
  • Fines
  • Attorneys’ fees and costs.

When a lien is placed on a condo unit, it makes it difficult for the owner to sell, since the buyer will likely want the lien satisfied before closing, in order to purchase with clean title.

If the owner does not satisfy the unpaid common charges even after the lien has been filed, the condo association may bring an action on behalf of the unit owners to foreclose on the lien. 

More recently, condo associations have begun employing other means within their governing documents to persuade delinquent owners to pay outstanding common charges.  These policies may include barring the owner—or the owner’s tenant, if the unit is being rented—from using nonessential services in the building like the health club or the pool. Also, doormen may be required to stop accepting packages and deliveries, if the owner does not satisfy the unpaid charges. (There are limitations on these powers in cases of bankruptcy.)

Contact an Attorney Experienced in New York Condo Association Law for Further Guidance

Here at Griffin Alexander, P.C., our attorneys have decades of combined experience advocating on behalf of condo associations, boards, and condo association members in disputes with unit owners, including those that fail to pay their common charges in a timely manner.

We have a long and consistent record of success in handling claims relating to New York condo association law, and have provided effective end-to-end representation to a range of clients at various stages of a dispute.

Interested in learning more about how we can help?  Call (973) 366-1188 or request an appointment online to connect to an attorney at Griffin Alexander, P.C. today.

Locations

Griffin Alexander, P.C. Firm Logo

Main Office 415 Route 10
2nd Floor

Randolph, NJ 07869
Phone: 973-366-1188
Fax: 973-366-4848

Griffin Alexander, P.C. Griffin Alexander, P.C. - Firm Logo

East Brunswick Office 197 Route 18 South
Suite 3000, South Wing

East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Phone: 732-514-6601
Fax: 973-366-4848

Griffin Alexander, P.C. Griffin Alexander, P.C. - Firm Logo

Mount Laurel Office 309 Fellowship Road
East Gate Center, Suite 200

Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
Phone: 856-533-2379
Fax: 973-366-4848

Griffin Alexander, P.C. Griffin Alexander, P.C. - Firm Logo

New York Office 11 Broadway
Suite 615

New York, NY 10004
Phone: 212-374-9790
Fax: 646-998-8029