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Condominium Association Liens and Foreclosures in New York

July 7, 2017 Posted in Community Association Law

In the state of New York, as in other states, homeowner associations (HOAs) and condominium associations (COAs) are entitled to demand dues and specific payments relating to different services — known as assessments — that are necessary for administration, maintenance, and the carrying out of various other association responsibilities.  Assessments are the lifeblood of an HOA/COA.  Without such financial support, the association cannot perform its functions adequately.

The same principles apply to both COAs and HOAs.

Fortunately, New York law provides COAs with powerful enforcement tools — primarily liens and foreclosures — to ensure that members are incentivized to make regular payments, and that, if delinquency occurs, the COA can fully recover the unpaid assessments.

Do bear in mind that New York law and a COA’s governing documents operate in concert.  Though New York law gives COAs the power to place liens on member properties for unpaid assessments, the governing documents may explicitly prohibit such liens.  If your condominium association is considering the placement of a lien, it’s important to consult with attorneys who are experienced in handling New York condo association law and can outline the options you have available to you given the language of the governing documents.

Applying a COA Lien

As a baseline, New York state law establishes that, on a lien placed on a condominium property, the COA is entitled to recover: unpaid assessments, attorney’s fees and costs, fines and various other charges, as well as interest.  This COA lien is often referred to as a Lien for Unpaid Common Charges.

Pursuant to New York Real Property Law section 339-AA (part of the Condominium Act), the lien will be effective from and after the filing of the lien along with the filing of a verified notice of lien stating the:

  • Name and address of the property
  • The liber and page record
  • The name of the record owner of the condominium unit
  • The unit designation
  • The amount and purpose of the unpaid common charges
  • The date such unpaid common charges were due

The lien filing must also state that the lien will continue until the designated unpaid charges are fully paid (with interest) or until six years have passed from the date of filing.

Any member of the board of managers of a COA is entitled to file a notice of lien within sixty days of nonpayment of common charges.  When the condominium unit owner has fully paid their unpaid charges, they must be provided certification as to their completed payment.

Foreclosing on a Unit

So long as the six-year deadline has not passed from the filing date of the notice of lien and the dues remain unpaid, the COA may initiate a suit to foreclose on the unit.  The lien may be foreclosed by suit authorized by and brought in the name of the board of managers, acting on behalf of other condo unit owners.  After a foreclosure judgment has been successful, but prior to the actual sale of the foreclosed unit, the unit owner is required to pay a reasonable rental for the unit.

If you are a COA board manager or other involved party interested in filing a lien against a delinquent unit owner, you should consult with an attorney who has experience handling New York condo association law.  Let the skilled attorneys at Griffin Alexander, P.C. assist you!

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