— Curious Homeowner
“In the fact pattern presented, the HOA has already been told by the District Court that there is not a valid claim. There has been an adjudication of the dispute in favor of the homeowner. The fact that the HOA has appealed the decision does not change the determination by the District Court, and the filing of a lien at this time would not be advisable without leave of court to do so, pending the results of the appeal. Although not the case here, a lien would normally be filed when the unpaid obligation arose and filed long before the commencement of any litigation, let alone after the adjudication of the case.
“The filer of a lien against a homeowner in the case of a homeowners association, or a unit owner in the case of a condominium, for association related obligations (primarily unpaid maintenance, but may include fines, late charges or legal fees) must first look to the underlying documents for guidance and authorization. There must be a recorded document, either a master declaration or master deed, that forms the basis of any claim. This ties the actions of the association to the real property, and creates the right to lien as a general matter. Before proceeding with the filing of any lien one should consult legal counsel who will not only review the enabling documents of the community, but will also take action recognizing the statutory framework and case law applicable to the type of community.”