Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 18. Property Owners' Association Act

§ 55.1-1833. Lien for assessments; foreclosure.

A. The association shall have a lien, once perfected, on every lot for unpaid assessments levied against that lot in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and all lawful provisions of the declaration. The lien, once perfected, shall be prior to all other subsequent liens and encumbrances except (i) real estate tax liens on that lot, (ii) liens and encumbrances recorded prior to the recordation of the declaration, and (iii) sums unpaid on and owing under any mortgage or deed of trust recorded prior to the perfection of such lien. The provisions of this subsection shall not affect the priority of mechanics' and materialmen's liens. Notice of a memorandum of lien to a holder of a credit line deed of trust under § 55.1-318 shall be given in the same fashion as if the association's lien were a judgment.

B. The association, in order to perfect the lien given by this section, shall file, before the expiration of 12 months from the time the first such assessment became due and payable in the clerk's office of the circuit court in the county or city in which such development is situated, a memorandum, verified by the oath of the principal officer of the association or such other officer or officers as the declaration may specify, which contains the following:

1. The name of the development;

2. A description of the lot;

3. The name or names of the persons constituting the owners of that lot;

4. The amount of unpaid assessments currently due or past due relative to such lot together with the date when each fell due;

5. The date of issuance of the memorandum;

6. The name of the association and the name and current address of the person to contact to arrange for payment or release of the lien; and

7. A statement that the association is obtaining a lien in accordance with the provisions of the Property Owners' Association Act as set forth in Chapter 18 (§ 55.1-1800 et seq.) of Title 55.1.

It shall be the duty of the clerk in whose office such memorandum is filed as provided in this section to record and index the same as provided in subsection D, in the names of the persons identified in such memorandum as well as in the name of the association. The cost of recording and releasing the memorandum shall be taxed against the person found liable in any judgment or order enforcing such lien.

C. Prior to filing a memorandum of lien, a written notice shall be sent to the property owner by certified mail, at the property owner's last known address, informing the property owner that a memorandum of lien will be filed in the circuit court clerk's office of the applicable county or city. The notice shall be sent at least 10 days before the actual filing date of the memorandum of lien.

D. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section or any other provision of law requiring documents to be recorded in the miscellaneous lien books or the deed books in the clerk's office of any court, on or after July 1, 1989, all memoranda of liens arising under this section shall be recorded in the deed books in the clerk's office. Any memorandum shall be indexed in the general index to deeds, and the general index shall identify the lien as a lien for lot assessments.

E. Any lien perfected pursuant to subsection B may be enforced by filing a civil action to conduct a judicial foreclosure in the circuit court in the county or city where the lot is located or by nonjudicial foreclosure pursuant to subsections I and J. No foreclosure of any lien perfected under this section shall be initiated after 120 months from the time when the memorandum of lien was recorded. The filing of a civil action to enforce any such lien by foreclosure through judicial means or issuance of notice of nonjudicial foreclosure under subdivision J 1 shall be regarded as the institution of an action under this section. Nothing in this subsection shall extend the time within which any such lien may be perfected.

F. The judgment or order in an action brought pursuant to this section shall include reimbursement for costs and reasonable attorney fees of the prevailing party. If the association prevails, it may also recover interest at the legal rate for the sums secured by the lien from the time each such sum became due and payable.

G. When payment or satisfaction is made of a debt secured by any lien perfected pursuant to subsection B, such lien shall be released in accordance with the provisions of § 55.1-339. Any lien that is not so released shall subject the lien creditor to the penalty set forth in subdivision B 1 of § 55.1-339. For the purposes of § 55.1-339, the principal officer of the association, or any other officer or officers as the declaration may specify, shall be deemed the duly authorized agent of the lien creditor.

H. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit actions at law to recover sums for which subsection A creates a lien, maintainable pursuant to § 55.1-1828.

I. The association may conduct a judicial or nonjudicial foreclosure sale upon a lot against which the association has perfected one or more liens pursuant to this section if the total sums secured are in excess of $5,000, exclusive of attorney fees and costs. For purposes of this section, the association shall have the power both to sell and convey the lot and shall be deemed the lot owner's statutory agent for the purpose of transferring title to the lot.

J. A nonjudicial foreclosure sale shall be conducted in compliance with the following:

1. The association shall give notice to the lot owner prior to advertisement required by subdivision 4. The notice shall specify (i) the debt secured by the perfected lien; (ii) the action required to satisfy the debt secured by the perfected lien; (iii) the date, not less than 60 days from the date the notice is given to the lot owner, by which the debt secured by the lien must be satisfied; and (iv) that failure to satisfy the debt secured by the lien on or before the date specified in the notice may result in the sale of the lot. The notice shall further inform the lot owner of the right to bring a court action in the circuit court of the county or city where the lot is located to assert the nonexistence of a debt or any other defense of the lot owner to the sale.

2. After expiration of the 60-day notice period specified in subdivision 1, the association may appoint a trustee to conduct the sale. The appointment of the trustee shall be filed in the clerk's office of the circuit court in the county or city in which such development is situated. It shall be the duty of the clerk in whose office such appointment is filed to record and index the same as provided in subsection D, in the names of the persons identified in such appointment as well as in the name of the association. The association, at its option, may from time to time remove the trustee and appoint a successor trustee.

3. If the lot owner meets the conditions specified in this subdivision prior to the date of the foreclosure sale, the lot owner shall have the right to have enforcement of the perfected lien discontinued prior to the sale of the lot. Those conditions are that the lot owner (i) satisfy the debt secured by lien that is the subject of the nonjudicial foreclosure sale and (ii) pay all expenses and costs incurred in perfecting and enforcing the lien, including advertising costs and reasonable attorney fees.

4. In addition to the advertisement required by subdivision 5, the association shall give written notice of the time, date, and place of any proposed sale in execution of the lien, including the name, address, and telephone number of the trustee, by hand delivery or by mail to (i) the present owner of the property to be sold at his last known address as such owner and address appear in the records of the association, (ii) any lienholder who holds a note against the property secured by a deed of trust recorded at least 30 days prior to the proposed sale and whose address is recorded with the deed of trust, and (iii) any assignee of such a note secured by a deed of trust, provided that the assignment and address of the assignee are likewise recorded at least 30 days prior to the proposed sale. Mailing a copy of the advertisement or the notice containing the same information to the owner by certified or registered mail no less than 14 days prior to such sale and to lienholders and their assigns, at the addresses noted in the memorandum of lien, by United States mail, postage prepaid, no less than 14 days prior to such sale, shall be a sufficient compliance with the requirement of notice.

5. The advertisement of sale by the association shall be in a newspaper having a general circulation in the county or city in which the property to be sold, or any portion of such property, is located pursuant to the following provisions:

a. The association shall advertise once a week for four successive weeks; however, if the property or some portion of such property is located in a city or in a county immediately contiguous to a city, publication of the advertisement on five different days, which may be consecutive days, shall be deemed adequate. The sale shall be held on any day following the day of the last advertisement that is no earlier than eight days following the first advertisement nor more than 30 days following the last advertisement.

b. Such advertisement shall be placed in that section of the newspaper where legal notices appear or where the type of property being sold is generally advertised for sale. The advertisement of sale, in addition to such other matters as the association finds appropriate, shall set forth a description of the property to be sold, which description need not be as extensive as that contained in the deed of trust but shall identify the property by street address, if any, or, if none, shall give the general location of the property with reference to streets, routes, or known landmarks. Where available, tax map identification may be used but is not required. The advertisement shall also include the date, time, place, and terms of sale and the name of the association. It shall set forth the name, address, and telephone number of the representative, agent, or attorney who may be able to respond to inquiries concerning the sale.

c. In addition to the advertisement required by subdivisions a and b, the association may further advertise as the association finds appropriate.

6. In the event of postponement of sale, which postponement shall be at the discretion of the association, advertisement of such postponed sale shall be in the same manner as the original advertisement of sale.

7. Failure to comply with the requirements for advertisement contained in this section shall, upon petition, render a sale of the property voidable by the court.

8. The association shall have the following powers and duties upon a sale:

a. Written one-price bids may be made and shall be received by the trustee from the association or any person for entry by announcement at the sale. Any person other than the trustee may bid at the foreclosure sale, including a person who has submitted a written one-price bid. Upon request to the trustee, any other bidder in attendance at a foreclosure sale shall be permitted to inspect written bids. Unless otherwise provided in the declaration, the association may bid to purchase the lot at a foreclosure sale. The association may own, lease, encumber, exchange, sell, or convey the lot. Whenever the written bid of the association is the highest bid submitted at the sale, such written bid shall be filed by the trustee with his account of sale required under subdivision j 10 and § 64.2-1309. The written bid submitted pursuant to this subsection may be prepared by the association, its agent, or its attorney.

b. The association may require any bidder at any sale to post a cash deposit of as much as 10 percent of the sale price before his bid is received, which shall be refunded to him if the property is not sold to him. The deposit of the successful bidder shall be applied to his credit at settlement, or, if such bidder fails to complete his purchase promptly, the deposit shall be applied to pay the costs and expenses of the sale, and the balance, if any, shall be retained by the association in connection with that sale.

c. The association shall receive and receipt for the proceeds of sale, no purchaser being required to see to the application of the proceeds, and apply the same in the following order: first, to the reasonable expenses of sale, including attorney fees; second, to the satisfaction of all taxes, levies, and assessments, with costs and interest; third, to the satisfaction of the lien for the owners' assessments; fourth, to the satisfaction in the order of priority of any remaining inferior claims of record; and fifth, to pay the residue of the proceeds to the owner or his assigns, provided, however, that, as to the payment of such residue, the association shall not be bound by any inheritance, devise, conveyance, assignment, or lien of or upon the owner's equity, without actual notice thereof prior to distribution.

9. The trustee shall deliver to the purchaser a trustee's deed conveying the lot with special warranty of title. The trustee shall not be required to take possession of the property prior to the sale of such property or to deliver possession of the lot to the purchaser at the sale.

10. The trustee shall file an accounting of the sale with the commissioner of accounts pursuant to § 64.2-1309, and every account of a sale shall be recorded pursuant to § 64.2-1310. In addition, the accounting shall be made available for inspection and copying pursuant to § 55.1-1815 upon the written request of the prior lot owner, the current lot owner, or any holder of a recorded lien against the lot at the time of the sale. The association shall maintain a copy of the accounting for at least 12 months following the foreclosure sale.

11. If the sale of a lot is made pursuant to subsection I and the accounting is made by the trustee, the title of the purchaser at such sale shall not be disturbed unless within 12 months from the confirmation of the accounting by the commissioner of accounts the sale is set aside by the court or an appeal is filed in the Court of Appeals or granted by the Supreme Court and an order is entered requiring such sale to be set aside.

1989, c. 679, § 55-516; 1991, c. 667; 1997, cc. 760, 766; 2000, c. 905; 2004, cc. 778, 779, 786; 2019, c. 712; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 489; 2024, cc. 55, 349.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.