California has some of the most strict and most burdensome requirements for Assessment Liens and Notices. Compounding the problem of the intricate and convoluted law, is the fact that the law is different depending on when the assessment became due as California has modified and amended the law governing assessment liens several times since 2000. Since, by this point, nearly all delinquent assessments that one would try to recover became due after 2006, we will focus on the law pertaining to that time period and the issues involved.
One of the requirements of California assessment mechanics lien law is that the association must provide an itemized statement of the money owed. This statement must include the amount of the delinquent assessment, as well as costs of collection, late charges, and interest if any. The itemized statement of debt must be BOTH provided to the owner of the separate property to be liened at least 30 days prior to the lien being filed (in or attached to the Notice of Intent to Lien), AND filed along with the lien itself. The failure to comply with either of these requirements could invalidate your lien, either in full or in part, so it is important to “cross your T’s and dot your I’s”.
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Note that Notice must be provided to the owner at least 30 days prior to the lien being filed. This appears, then, to force the association to know the costs of collection at least 30 days prior to the filing of their lien. Using a service such as Levelset, with a flat fee structure, could help immeasurably in this respect.
Finally, also note that California law requires that,
The itemized statement of the charges owed by the owner described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) shall be recorded together with the notice of delinquent assessment. Cal. Civ. Code Sec. 1367.1
The itemized statement of debt must be filed into the records of the county in which the property is located attached to the lien itself. Further, the language above appears to indicate that the itemized statement filed must be the same as that provided to the owner in the Notice of Intent.
California law is complicated, and any slight mistake may compromise your lien rights. Levelset can help take the worry out of assessment lien filing by making sure your Notices and Liens are drafted and filed correctly.