As in the past, a homeowners association may impose liens on properties if the owners have balances that are at least 30 days overdue to the association. However, this law, effective October 1, 2009, adds the requirement that they first notify the homeowner.
The homeowners association must make reasonable and diligent efforts to ensure that its records include the homeowner's current mailing address, and provide advance notice. At least 15 days before filing a lien, the association must mail a statement to the homeowner at all the following addresses: the physical address of the lot, the homeowner's address of record with the association, and the homeowner's address as shown by the county tax records and real property records, if different. If the owner is a corporation, a copy must also be sent to the corporation's registered agent.
The first page of a claim of lien must include a statement which includes a bolded sentence in all capital letters indicating that it is a lien, and warning that the homeowners association may proceed with foreclosure if the lien is not paid. The notice must include the contact information of a representative of the association who can be reached to discuss a payment schedule, as was required under existing law.
As before, the homeowner may not be charged attorney fees or court costs without prior warning that the association intends to seek such costs. The homeowner must be allowed at least 15 days after notification to pay the outstanding balance; if he or she pays the balance during that time, no attorney fees may be assessed.