If you live in a house, condo, or townhome that is part of a common interest community, you are most likely responsible for paying dues and assessments to the 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 about the particular requirements for HOA and COA foreclosures in Utah.
There are two separate sets of statutes in the Utah Code that govern association liens. One covers HOAs in planned communities (the Community Association Act) and the other covers COAs (the Condominium Ownership Act). The two sets of laws are very similar.
Almost all HOAs and COAs 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, a lien will usually automatically attach to that homeowner's property.
In Utah, the recording of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) or Declaration of Condominium constitutes record notice and perfection of the lien (Utah Code Ann. § 57-8a-301(1)(b), § 57-8-44(1)(b)).
An HOA or COA lien for unpaid assessments has priority over other liens on a lot or unit except:
Utah law sets out the types of charges that the HOA or COA may include in the assessments lien (Utah Code Ann. § 57-8a-301(1)(a), § 57-8-44(1)(a)). Unless otherwise provided in the declaration, the HOA's lien may include:
If you make a written request to the HOA or COA, the association must provide you with a statement of the unpaid assessments that are due. The association can charge a fee up to $25 for this statement (Utah Code Ann. § 57-8a-311, § 57-8-54).
If you default on the assessments, the HOA or COA 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 Utah, the HOA or COA may foreclose an assessments lien by nonjudicial or judicial foreclosure, like a deed of trust or mortgage (Utah Code Ann. § 57-8a-302(1), § 57-8-45(1)). (Learn more about the difference between mortgages and deeds of trust and foreclosure laws and procedures in Utah.)
Most HOA foreclosures in Utah are nonjudicial. At least 30 calendar days before initiating a nonjudicial foreclosure, the association must provide notice to the owner of the lot or unit that is the intended subject of the nonjudicial foreclosure (Utah Code Ann. § 57-8a-303(1), § 57-8-46(1)).
The HOA or COA cannot pursue the nonjudicial foreclosure if the owner mails the association a written demand for a judicial foreclosure within 15 days after the date of the postmark on the envelope of the association’s notice of nonjudicial foreclosure (Utah Code Ann. § 57-8a-303, § 57-8-46).
If you are facing an HOA or COA foreclosure, you should consult with an attorney licensed in Utah 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.)