If you live in a condominium, single-family house, or townhome that’s part of a common-interest development in New York, you’re most likely responsible for paying dues and assessments (collectively called "assessments" in this article) to a condominium owners' association (COA) or homeowners' association (HOA).
If you fall behind in payments, in most cases, the COA or HOA can get a lien on your home that could lead to a foreclosure. Read on to learn about New York’s COA and HOA lien laws and association foreclosures.
New York’s Condominium Act (N.Y. Real Prop. Law §§ 339-d through 339kk) governs COAs, while HOAs are often incorporated as nonprofit corporations and are subject to New York’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law.
Rules regarding the operation of an association, including those covering assessments liens, can also be found in the association’s governing documents, like the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) (or Declaration of Condominium).
Generally, a COA or HOA has the power to place a lien on your property if you become delinquent in paying 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.
Under New York law, a COA lien may include unpaid common charges plus interest, and is effective from and after the date that a verified notice of lien is recorded in the county records. (N.Y. Real Prop. Law § 339-z, aa).
An HOA, generally, is allowed to include charges like the following in its lien:
To find out what charges an HOA may charge, review the association’s governing documents, such as the CC&Rs.
New York’s Condominium Act states that a COA lien is prior to all other liens, except for:
To find out the priority of an HOA lien, check the association’s governing documents. (To learn more about lien priority and HOA foreclosures, see What happens to my mortgages if the HOA forecloses on its lien?)
If you default on the assessments, the COA or HOA may foreclose. A common misconception is that the association can’t foreclose if you’re current with your mortgage payments. But the association’s right to foreclose has nothing to do with whether you’re current on your mortgage payments. (Learn more about general foreclosure laws and procedures in New York.)
If you’re behind in assessments and facing a COA or HOA foreclosure in New York, consider consulting with a local attorney to discuss all legal options available in your particular circumstances.