If you live in a house, condo, or townhome that is part of a common interest community in Wyoming, you are most 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 Wyoming.
Wyoming HOA and COA Lien Laws
Wyoming law does not specifically govern the actions of HOAs and is not very extensive when it comes to COAs.
HOAs in Wyoming
Wyoming HOAs are usually set up as non-profit corporations, which are governed by Title 17, Chapter 22 of the Wyoming statutes. However, the rules regarding the operation of the HOA, including those pertaining to assessments liens, can be found in the association’s governing documents such as the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws.
For this reason, you really should read the HOA governing documents before purchasing a home in a covenanted community. (To find out more about taking a closer look at what's in your HOA's governing and other relevant documents, see Before Buying: How to Read the CC&Rs or Homeowners' Association (HOA) Documents.)
COAs in Wyoming
The Wyoming Condominium Ownership Act (Title 34, Chapter 20 of the Wyoming statutes at §§ 34-20-101 through 34-20-104) governs COA activities in the state, though this law is quite limited in scope. For this reason, you should review the COA’s declaration of condominium and bylaws if you are purchasing (or have already purchased) a condominium in Wyoming.
How HOA and COA Liens Work
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.
Often, the recording of the declaration constitutes record notice and perfection of the lien. For example, one court in Wyoming found that a COA’s lien for assessments related back to the time the declaration was filed based on specific language about lien priority contained in the declaration (American Holidays, Inc. v. Foxtail Owners Ass'n, 821 P.2d 577, 579 (Wyo. 1991)).
Charges the HOA or COA May Include in the Lien
Typically, an HOA or COA’s declaration or bylaws will describe any charges that may be included in the lien. For example, the HOA or COA is usually permitted to include the following in its lien:
- late charges
- interest, and
- reasonable attorney fees and costs.
HOA and COA Foreclosures in Wyoming
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 Wyoming, an HOA or COA may foreclose if you don’t pay the assessments. To find out about the specific notice and foreclosure procedures that the association must follow if you fall behind in payments, read the declaration. (Learn more about general foreclosure laws and procedures in Wyoming.)
What to Do if You Are Facing Foreclosure by an HOA or COA in Wyoming
If you are facing an HOA or COA foreclosure, you should consult with an attorney licensed in Wyoming 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.)