Civil Code § 1367.1 - Lien For Delinquent Assessments Recorded After January 1, 2003.

September 30, 2000 by David C. Swedelson

(a) A regular or special assessment and any late charges, reasonable fees and costs of collection, reasonable attorney's fees, if any, and interest, if any, as determined in accordance with Section 1366, shall be a debt of the owner of the separate interest
at the time the assessment or other sums are levied. At least 30 days prior to recording a lien upon the separate interest of the owner of record to collect a debt that is past due under this subdivision, the association shall notify the owner of record in writing by certified mail of the following:
(1) A general description of the collection and lien enforcement procedures of the association and the method of calculation of the amount, a statement that the owner of the separate interest has the right to inspect the association records, pursuant to Section 8333 of the Corporations Code, and the following statement in 14-point boldface type, if printed, or in capital letters, if typed: "IMPORTANT NOTICE: IF YOUR SEPARATE INTEREST IS PLACED IN FORECLOSURE BECAUSE YOU ARE BEHIND IN YOUR ASSESSMENTS, IT MAY BE SOLD WITHOUT COURT ACTION."
(2) An itemized statement of the charges owed by the owner, including items on the statement which indicate the amount of any delinquent assessments, the fees and reasonable costs of collection, reasonable attorney's fees, any late charges, and interest, if any.
(3) A statement that the owner shall not be liable to pay the charges, interest, and costs of collection, if it is determined the assessment was paid on time to the association.
(4) The right to request a meeting with the board as provided by paragraph (3) of subdivision (c).
(5) The right to dispute the assessment debt by submitting a written request for dispute resolution to the association pursuant to the association's "meet and confer" program required in Article 5 (commencing with Section 1363.810) of Chapter 4.
(6) The right to request alternative dispute resolution with a neutral third party pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 1369.510) of Chapter 7 before the association may initiate foreclosure against the owner's separate interest, except that
binding arbitration shall not be available if the association intends to initiate a judicial foreclosure.

(b) Any payments made by the owner of a separate interest toward the debt set forth, as required in subdivision (a), shall first be applied to the assessments owed, and, only after the assessments owed are paid in full shall the payments be applied to the fees and costs of collection, attorney's fees, late charges, or interest. When an owner makes a payment, the owner may request a receipt and the association shall provide it. The receipt shall indicate the date of payment and the person who received it. The association shall provide a mailing address for overnight payment of assessments.

(c) (1) (A) Prior to recording a lien for delinquent assessments, an association shall offer the owner and, if so requested by the owner, participate in dispute resolution pursuant to the association's "meet and confer" program required in Article 5 (commencing with Section 1363.810) of Chapter 4.
(B) Prior to initiating a foreclosure for delinquent assessments, an association shall offer the owner and, if so requested by the owner, shall participate in dispute resolution pursuant to the association's "meet and confer" program required in Article 5 (commencing with Section 1363.810) of Chapter 4 or alternative dispute resolution with a neutral third party pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 1369.510) of Chapter 7. The decision to pursue dispute resolution or a particular type of alternative dispute resolution shall be the choice of the owner, except that binding
arbitration shall not be available if the association intends to initiate a judicial foreclosure.
(2) For liens recorded on or after January 1, 2006, the decision to record a lien for delinquent assessments shall be made only by the board of directors of the association and may not be delegated to an agent of the association. The board shall approve the decision by a majority vote of the board members in an open meeting. The board shall record the vote in the minutes of that meeting.
(3) An owner, other than an owner of any interest that is described in Section 11212 of the Business and Professions Code that is not otherwise exempt from this section pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 11211.7, may submit a written request to meet with the board to discuss a payment plan for the debt noticed pursuant to subdivision (a). The association shall provide the owners the standards for payment plans, if any exist. The board shall meet with the owner in executive session within 45 days of the postmark of the request, if the request is mailed within 15 days of the date of the postmark of the notice, unless there is no regularly scheduled board meeting within that period, in which case the board may designate a committee of one or more members to meet with the owner. Payment plans may incorporate any assessments that accrue during the payment plan period. Payment plans shall not impede an association's ability to record a lien on the owner's separate interest to secure payment of delinquent assessments. Additional late fees shall not accrue during the payment plan period if the owner is in compliance with the terms of the payment plan. In the event of a default on any payment plan, the association may resume its efforts to collect the delinquent assessments from the time prior to entering into the
payment plan.

(d) The amount of the assessment, plus any costs of collection, late charges, and interest assessed in accordance with Section 1366, shall be a lien on the owner's separate interest in the common interest development from and after the time the association causes to be recorded with the county recorder of the county in which the separate interest is located, a notice of delinquent assessment, which shall state the amount of the assessment and other sums imposed in accordance with Section 1366, a legal description of the owner's separate interest in the common interest development against which the assessment and other sums are levied, and the name of the record owner of the separate interest in the common interest development against which the lien is imposed. The itemized statement of the charges owed by the owner described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) shall be recorded together with the notice of delinquent assessment. In order for the lien to be enforced by nonjudicial foreclosure as provided in subdivision (g), the notice of delinquent assessment shall state the name and address of the trustee authorized by the association to enforce the lien by sale. The notice of delinquent assessment shall be signed by the person designated in the declaration or by the association for that purpose, or if no one is designated, by the president of the association. A copy of the recorded notice of delinquent assessment shall be mailed by certified mail to every person whose name is shown as an owner of the separate interest in the association's records, and the notice shall be mailed no later than 10 calendar days after recordation. Within 21 days of the payment of the sums specified in the notice of delinquent assessment, the association shall record or cause to be recorded in the office of the county recorder in which the notice of delinquent assessment is recorded a lien release or notice of rescission and provide the owner of the separate interest a copy of the lien release or notice that the delinquent assessment has been satisfied. A monetary charge imposed by the association as a means of reimbursing the association for costs incurred by the association in the repair of damage to common areas and facilities for which the member or the member's guests or tenants were responsible may become a lien against the member's separate interest enforceable by the sale of the interest under Sections 2924, 2924b, and 2924c, provided the authority to impose a lien is set forth in the governing documents. It is the intent of the Legislature not to contravene Section 2792.26 of Title 10 of the California Code of Regulations, as that section appeared on January 1, 1996, for associations of subdivisions that are being sold under authority of a subdivision public report, pursuant to Part 2 (commencing with Section 11000) of Division 4 of the Business and Professions Code.

(e) Except as indicated in subdivision (d), a monetary penalty imposed by the association as a disciplinary measure for failure of a member to comply with the governing instruments, except for the late payments, may not be characterized nor treated in the governing instruments as an assessment that may become a lien against the member's subdivision separate interest enforceable by the sale of the interest under Sections 2924, 2924b, and 2924c.

(f) A lien created pursuant to subdivision (d) shall be prior to all other liens recorded subsequent to the notice of assessment, except that the declaration may provide for the subordination thereof to any other liens and encumbrances.

(g) An association may not voluntarily assign or pledge the association's right to collect payments or assessments, or to enforce or foreclose a lien to a third party, except when the assignment or pledge is made to a financial institution or lender chartered or licensed under federal or state law, when acting within the scope of that charter or license, as security for a loan obtained by the association; however, the foregoing provision may not restrict the right or ability of an association to assign any unpaid obligations of a former member to a third party for purposes of collection. Subject to the limitations of this subdivision, after the expiration of 30 days following the recording of a lien created pursuant to subdivision (d), the lien may be enforced in any manner permitted by law, including sale by the court, sale by the trustee designated in the notice of delinquent assessment, or sale by a trustee substituted pursuant to Section 2934a. Any sale by the trustee shall be conducted in accordance with Sections 2924, 2924b, and 2924c applicable to the exercise of powers of sale in mortgages and deeds of trust. The fees of a trustee may not exceed the amounts prescribed in Sections 2924c and 2924d, plus the cost of service for either of the following:
(1) The notice of default pursuant to subdivision (j) of Section 1367.1.
(2) The decision of the board to foreclose upon the separate interest of an owner as described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 1367.4.

(h) Nothing in this section or in subdivision (a) of Section 726 of the Code of Civil Procedure prohibits actions against the owner of a separate interest to recover sums for which a lien is created pursuant to this section or prohibits an association from taking a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

(i) If it is determined that a lien previously recorded against the separate interest was recorded in error, the party who recorded the lien shall, within 21 calendar days, record or cause to be recorded in the office of the county recorder in which the notice of delinquent assessment is recorded a lien release or notice of rescission and provide the owner of the separate interest with a declaration that the lien filing or recording was in error and a copy of the lien release or notice of rescission.

(j) In addition to the requirements of Section 2924, a notice of default shall be served by the association on the owner's legal representative in accordance with the manner of service of summons in Article 3 (commencing with Section 415.10) of Chapter 4 of Title 5 of Part 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The owner's legal representative shall be the person whose name is shown as the owner of a separate interest in the association's records, unless another person has been previously designated by the owner as his or her legal representative in writing and mailed to the association in a manner that indicates that the association has received it.

(k) Upon receipt of a written request by an owner identifying a secondary address for purposes of collection notices, the association shall send additional copies of any notices required by this section to the secondary address provided. The association shall notify owners of their right to submit secondary addresses to the association, at the time the association issues the pro forma operating budget pursuant to Section 1365. The owner's request shall be in writing and shall be mailed to the association in a manner that shall indicate the association has received it. The owner may identify or change a secondary address at any time, provided that, if a secondary address is identified or changed during the collection
process, the association shall only be required to send notices to the indicated secondary address from the point the association receives the request.

(l) (1) An association that fails to comply with the procedures set forth in this section shall, prior to recording a lien, recommence the required notice process.
(2) Any costs associated with recommencing the notice process shall be borne by the association and not by the owner of a separate interest.

(m) This section only applies to liens recorded on or after January 1, 2003.

(n) This section is subordinate to, and shall be interpreted in
conformity with, Section 1367.4.