We have previously discussed liens in the construction context and also outlined the steps to collect from non-paying unit owners, but these areas blend together and the Louisiana laws have codified in the Louisiana Condominium Act that the non-payment of fines, dues, and late fees can lead to the association having a privilege on the unit.
Homeowner Association Liens
In Louisiana, HOA lien requirements are very technical and must meet several criteria to be deemed effective. While there is no requirement for HOA liens to provide preliminary notice (such as for a supplier of materials), there is a requirement that a sworn detailed statement (i.e. ledger) be sent to the affected unit owner at the same time the lien is filed.
The first requirement imposed by the Louisiana law is that the past due fines or fees must total at least $250.00. Importantly, the law provides that the privilege will secure reasonable attorney fees incurred by the association incident to the collection of the assessment or enforcement of the lien.
In order to be deemed effective, a lien shall be evidenced by a “claim of privilege” signed and verified by affidavit of an officer or agent of the association. This lien shall be filed in the mortgage records of the parish in which the condominium is located. It shall include the following:
- A description of the condominium parcel
- The name of its record owner
- The amount of delinquent or accelerated assessment
- The date on which the assessment became delinquent
- Any fines or late fees assessed in excess of two hundred fifty dollars
HOA liens are superior to all other liens and encumbrances on a unit except the following:
- Privileges or mortgages recorded prior to the recordation of the Condominium Declarations
- Privileges or mortgages recorded prior to the recordation of the HOA lien
- Property Taxes
- Government Assessments
Notice and Preservation of Lien
Further, the HOA must serve via certified mail, registered mail, or personal service a sworn detailed statement of its claim for the amount due which includes the date upon which the assessment became due, seven days prior to the filing of the lien.
While some liens only last one year, Louisiana law now holds that a lien filed by a HOA to collect dues shall preserve a privilege for a period of five (5) years from the date of recordation.
In the event that the unit owner does not sell the unit or otherwise satisfy the lien in those five years, it will become necessary to file a petition to recognize the lien.