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How do I lien an hoa condominium? It is the hoa that owes money not individual condo home owners

CaliforniaMechanics Lien

An hoa owes us money for work done on common areas and individual condos which are privately owned Do I need to lien the homeowners as well as the hoa Even though the home owners do not have money

1 reply

Jan 4, 2019
That's a great question, and condo associations can create headaches if and when it comes to a mechanics lien filing - so much so that zlien put out this article: Mechanics Liens and Common-Interest Developments — In California, It’s Tricky. As we discuss in that article, when work is done on common areas of a condominium and the contractor was hired by the condominium association, the contractor who has gone unpaid will be entitled to file a lien against those common areas where work was done. Things get a little trickier when work is also performed on individually owned units. If the work was contracted by the condominium association as well, a lien can likely be filed on both the common areas and the individual unit(s). This is because, in California, one lien can be filed on multiple properties where those properties are either owned by the same party or contracted for by the same party. However, if a contractor has executed a separate contract with the unit holder to improve their unit, then separate liens would likely be required. Of course, in a situation where one lien is filed on multiple properties, it's very important to designate the amount due for work performed at each property - i.e. X amount due for the common area, Y amount due for this unit, and Z amount due for this unit, etc. Even where the work was performed under one overarching contract, a contractor must estimate the amounts applicable for the separate properties. Further, you'd mentioned that it's the HOA who owes funds, not the individual unit holders. It's worth noting that mechanics lien filings attach directly to the property improved - not to any single person or entity. So, regardless of who owes the funds, if a mechanics lien is sought out, that lien will affect both the party who owns the property where work is performed, and put pressure on the party who failed to make payment. Lastly, it's worth noting that when construction work has been performed but unpaid, a mechanics lien is probably the most powerful tool for recovery. This means that the mere threat of a lien filing can be really strong, too. Many claimants find that sending a Notice of Intent to Lien to the owner(s) and nonpaying party will go a long way to compelling payment. By sending a Notice of Intent to an owner who is not directly tied to the work performed, that can really put pressure on the nonpaying party - they'll (often) be getting an earful from an owner who's might be facing a lien claim. Plus, if a Notice of Intent to Lien is ineffective, the claimant can always proceed with their lien claim. For more information on California liens, notices, and deadlines, this resource should be helpful: California Lien & Notice FAQs.
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