If you live in a house, condo, or townhome that is part of a common interest community in Oklahoma, you are likely responsible for paying dues and assessments to a homeowners’ association (HOA) or condominium association (COA). If you don’t pay, in most cases the HOA or COA can get a lien on your property that could lead to a foreclosure.
Read on to learn more about HOA and COA foreclosures in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma HOA and COA Lien Laws
The Real Estate Development Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 60, §§ 852 through 857) governs owners associations and Oklahoma’s condominium law is contained in the Unit Ownership Estate Act (Okla. Stat. tit. 60, §§ 501 through 530).
The rules regarding the HOA or COA, including those regarding assessments liens, can be found in the association’s governing documents, such as the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). (Find out more about what's in the CC&Rs and other relevant documents in Nolo’s article Before Buying: How to Read the CC&Rs or Homeowners' Association (HOA) Documents.)
How HOA and COA Liens Work
Generally, a HOA or COA has the power to place a lien on your property if you become delinquent in paying the monthly dues and/or any special assessments (collectively referred to as “assessments”). Once a homeowner becomes delinquent on the assessments, a lien will usually automatically attach to that homeowner's property.
Notice Required for HOA Liens
An HOA must inform the homeowner in writing at the time he or she joins the association about the HOA's rules, restrictions, and the amounts the homeowner must pay (or potentially pay) to the HOA. Otherwise, the HOA is not entitled to a lien for unpaid assessments (Okla. Stat. tit. 60, § 852(C)).
Lien priority determines what happens to other liens, mortgages, and lines of credit if your HOA or COA lien is foreclosed. (To learn more about lien priority and its importance in HOA foreclosures, see What happens to my mortgages if the HOA forecloses on its lien?)
Based on Oklahoma law, a COA’s lien is prior to all other liens, except for:
- unpaid tax assessments and tax liens
- judgments entered before the date of the common expense assessment
- certain mechanic's and materialmen's liens, and
- mortgages recorded before the date of the assessment (Okla. Stat. tit. 60, § 524(a)).
To find out the priority of an HOA lien, check the association’s governing documents.
Charges the HOA or COA May Include in the Lien
In Oklahoma, a COA is entitled to include all unpaid common assessments in its lien (Okla. Stat. tit. 60, § 524(a)).
For HOAs, typically the declaration or bylaws will describe any charges that may be included in the lien. For example, an HOA is often permitted to include the following in its lien:
- late charges
- interest, and
- reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
HOA and COA Foreclosures in Oklahoma
A common misconception is that an HOA or COA 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.)
If you default on the assessments, an Oklahoma HOA or COA can foreclose its lien (Okla. Stat. tit. 60, § 524(b), § 852(C)). (Learn about foreclosure laws and foreclosure procedures in Oklahoma.)
What to Do if You Are Facing Foreclosure by a HOA or COA in Oklahoma
If you are facing a HOA or COA foreclosure, you should consult with an attorney licensed in Oklahoma 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.)