Q&A: Owner Delinquent on HOA Dues

 Our condo association, which is private, has a situation that seems to be going  nowhere. One of the units in the association has been for sale for over 2 years  and the owner has not paid their HOA dues in 3 plus years. We as the board  filed a lien on the unit, prior to the unit going on the market and another  after the unit went up for sale. The owner has had all HOA privileges taken  away (access to the pool, clubhouse, etc.) but we still have one lingering  issue and that is parking on the street by the family members. We can tell them  not to park on the street but we are not sure how to enforce this. Can this be enforced? We have a  lawyer dealing with the liens, but we were wondering as an association board,  is there anything else we can do besides wait?  

 —Lien-ing On  

A “I understand your frustration over this seemingly unending situation,  particularly after three years of common charge arrears,” says attorney Michael W. Merrill of the Boston-based law firm Merrill & McGeary. “However, assuming your attorney is experienced and is familiar with the law and  the local legal practice, it appears as if the association is doing all that it  can.”  

 “For example, you indicate two lien actions have been filed and the owner's  association privileges have been taken away. The unit is currently on the  market for sale, I assume by the lender who has taken legal possession. The  question is what else can the association do to expedite a sale of the unit?  While the facts are not exactly clear why a sale has not occurred, perhaps the  focus of the association's efforts should be with the lender as opposed to the  owner. Often owners in arrears are merely waiting for the foreclosure sale and  are not contesting the process. In that case frequent contact in writing and on  the telephone should be made with the lender and the lender's attorney  requesting the sale be expedited.  

 “If the unit owner is the main impediment to the resale of the unit, then  additional pressure on the owner might be effective. In that case revocation of  parking privileges should be considered. If the association's roads are private  there may be an ability to prohibit the owner, his family or guests from  parking on association roads. The association documents would provide the  answer to that question. If the documents are not specific as to this remedy, I  recommend the association amend its documents or adopt a new rule and  regulation authorizing the board this remedy in the event of a prolonged  delinquency. Assuming that is done, notice of the violation would have to be  provided to the owner. After notice and continued default the remedies for  enforcement would be the implementation of fines and then towing of the vehicle  in violation of the rule. An extreme remedy would be to file a lawsuit and seek  a preliminary injunction against the owner.”       


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