If you live in a house, townhome, or condominium that is part of a common interest community in Alaska, you are most likely responsible for paying dues and assessments to the homeowners’ association (HOA) If you don’t pay, in most cases the HOA can get a lien on your property that could lead to a foreclosure.
Read on to learn about the particular requirements for HOA foreclosures in Alaska.
Alaska HOA Lien Laws
The Alaska Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (UCIOA) (Alaska Stast. §§ 34.08.010 through 34.08.995) governs common interest communities in Alaska, including homes in planned communities, condominiums, and real estate cooperatives (though this article does not cover co-ops), created after January 1, 1986, as well as communities created prior to this date with respect to events and circumstances occurring after that date.
How HOA Liens Work
Almost all HOAs have the power to place a lien on the property if the homeowner becomes delinquent in paying the monthly dues and/or any special assessments (collectively referred to as “assessments”). Once a homeowner becomes delinquent on the assessments, usually a lien will automatically attach to that homeowner's property.
In Alaska, the association is entitled to a lien for unpaid assessments or fines imposed against an owner from the time the assessment or fine becomes due (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.470(a)). If an assessment is payable in installments, the HOA has a lien for the full amount from the time the first installment becomes due (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.470(a)).
The recording of the HOA Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (often called CC&Rs or the declaration) constitutes record notice and perfection of the lien. No further recording of the claim of lien for assessments is required (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.470(d)). (In some states, the HOA must record the lien.)
Charges the HOA May Include in the Lien
Alaska law sets out the types of charges that the HOA may include in the assessments lien (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.470(a)).
- Assessments. The HOA can include amounts for unpaid assessments in the lien.
- Late charges. Late charges may be included in the assessments lien.
- Fines. The association may include fines for violations of the declaration, bylaws, and/or rules and regulations of the association.
- Interest. The HOA may also include interest on the past-due common expense assessments at the rate set by the association, but not exceeding 18% per year (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.460(b)).
- Other charges. The association may also impose certain other charges, such as charges for the preparation and recordation of amendments to the declaration or statements of unpaid assessments.
In addition, the HOA is also entitled to collect reasonable attorney’s fees as part of a foreclosure action if it forecloses the lien (Alaska Stat. § 34.35.005).
HOA Lien Priority in Alaska
An HOA’s lien is prior to all other liens, except for:
- liens recorded before the declaration
- liens for real estate taxes (and other governmental charges), and
- a first mortgage or deed of trust that was recorded before the date on which the assessment sought to be enforced became delinquent (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.470(b)). (Learn more about lien priority and what happens to a first mortgage in an association foreclosure in Nolo’s article What happens to my mortgages if the HOA forecloses on its lien?)
HOA Super Liens
HOA liens for delinquent assessments sometimes have priority over a lender’s first mortgage or deed of trust. This is called a super lien. In Alaska, six months worth of delinquent common expense assessments have super lien status over a first mortgage or deed of trust (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.470(b)). (Learn more in Nolo’s article Homeowners’ Association Super Liens.)
Requesting a Statement of Assessments Due
If you make a written request to the HOA, the association must provide you with a statement of the amount of unpaid assessments within ten business days after receiving the request (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.470(h)).
HOA Foreclosures in Alaska
If you default on the assessments, the HOA can foreclose. A common misconception is that the association cannot foreclose if you are current with your mortgage payments. However, the association’s right to foreclose has nothing to do with whether you are current on your mortgage payments. (Learn more about HOA liens and foreclosure.)
In Alaska, the HOA may foreclose on its lien by filing a lawsuit in the district court in the relevant judicial district (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.470(j)(1)).
Statute of Limitations
In order for the lien to remain valid, the HOA must initiate an action to enforce the lien within three years after the full amount of the assessment becomes due (Alaska Stat. § 34.08.470(e)). (This is called the statute of limitations.)
What to Do if You Are Facing Foreclosure by an HOA
If you are facing an HOA foreclosure, you should consult with an attorney licensed in Alaska to discuss all legal options available in your particular circumstances. (See our HOA Foreclosure topic page for articles on HOAs, possible options to catch up if you are delinquent in payments, how bankruptcy can help discharge dues, HOA super liens, and more.)