If you live in a condominium, single-family house, or townhome that is part of a common interest development in Mississippi, you are most likely responsible for paying dues and assessments to a condominium association (COA) or homeowners’ association (HOA). If you fall behind in payments, generally the COA or HOA can get a lien on your home that could lead to a foreclosure.
Read on to learn about the particular requirements for COA and HOA foreclosures in Mississippi.
The laws governing condominiums in Mississippi can be found in § § 89-9-1 through 89-9-37 of the Mississippi Code.
HOAs in Mississippi are often incorporated as nonprofit corporations and are subject to the state statutes that govern such corporations. (The Nonprofit Corporation Act can be found at § § 79-11-101 et seq. of the Mississippi Code.)
The rules and regulations regarding the HOA, 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) and bylaws. (Find out more about what's in your HOA CC&Rs and other relevant documents in Nolo’s article Before Buying: How to Read the CC&Rs or Homeowners' Association (HOA) Documents.)
Generally, a COA or HOA 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).
In Mississippi, a COA must record a notice of assessment in the county records to get a lien (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-9-21). If you are part of an HOA, check the CC&Rs to learn about the association’s right to get a lien on your home if you don’t pay the assessments.
State law and the COA or HOA’s governing documents will usually set out the type of charges that may be included in the lien in addition to the past-due assessments. If provided in its declaration, a COA in Mississippi may include charges such as:
To find out which charges a Mississippi HOA may include in its lien, check the association's CC&Rs.
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?)
A COA’s lien is prior to all other liens recorded after it records the notice of assessment unless the association’s governing documents state otherwise (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-9-21). To find out the priority of an HOA lien, check the association’s governing documents.
If you default on the assessments, the COA or 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 Mississippi, a COA may foreclose its lien by power of sale (nonjudicially) or in any other manner permitted by law (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-9-21). (Learn more about power of sale foreclosures and general foreclosure laws and procedures in Mississippi.)
Alternatively, the COA could sue you for the unpaid assessments without foreclosing or waiving the lien (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-9-21).
An HOA’s foreclosure rights come from the governing documents of the association. To learn more about an HOA’s right to foreclose if you fall behind in payments, read the association’s CC&Rs.
A COA lien for unpaid assessments expires one year after the date of recordation unless the COA records a written extension. If the COA records a written extension, it is entitled to a one-time extension of one year (Miss. Code Ann. § 89-9-21). (This is called the statute of limitations.) The COA must start its foreclosure before the lien expires.
If you are facing a COA or HOA foreclosure, you should consult with an attorney licensed in Mississippi 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.)