Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances [Effective October 1, 2019]
Chapter 19. Virginia Condominium Act
10/20/2019

§ 55.1-1966. (Effective October 1, 2019) Lien for assessments.

A. The unit owners' association shall have a lien on each condominium unit for unpaid assessments levied against that condominium unit in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and all lawful provisions of the condominium instruments. The lien, once perfected, shall be prior to all other liens and encumbrances except (i) real estate tax liens on that condominium unit, (ii) liens and encumbrances recorded prior to the recordation of the declaration, and (iii) sums unpaid on any first mortgages or first deeds of trust recorded prior to the perfection of such lien for assessments and securing institutional lenders. The provisions of this subsection shall not affect the priority of mechanics' and materialmen's liens.

B. 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, 1974, all memoranda of liens arising under this section shall, in the discretion of the clerk, be recorded in the miscellaneous lien books or the deed books in such clerk's office. Any such memorandum shall be indexed in the general index to deeds, and such general index shall identify the lien as a lien for condominium assessments.

C. In order to perfect the lien given by this section, the unit owners' association shall file a memorandum verified by the oath of the principal officer of the unit owners' association, or such other officer as the condominium instruments may specify, before the expiration of 90 days from the time the first such assessment became due and payable. The memorandum shall be filed in the clerk's office of the circuit court in the county or city in which such condominium is situated. The memorandum shall contain the following:

1. A description of the condominium unit in accordance with the provisions of § 55.1-1909.

2. The name or names of the persons constituting the unit owners of that condominium unit.

3. The amount of unpaid assessments currently due or past due together with the date when each fell due.

4. The date of issuance of the memorandum.

The clerk in whose office such memorandum is filed shall record and index the memorandum as provided in subsection B, in the names of the persons identified in such memorandum as well as in the name of the unit owners' association. The cost of recording such memorandum shall be taxed against the person found liable in any judgment enforcing such lien.

D. No action to enforce any lien perfected under subsection C shall be brought or action to foreclose any lien perfected under subsection I shall be initiated after 36 months from the time when the memorandum of lien was recorded; however, the filing of a petition to enforce any such lien in any action in which such petition may be properly filed 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.

E. The judgment in an action brought pursuant to this section shall include reimbursement for costs and 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.

F. When payment or satisfaction is made of a debt secured by the lien perfected by subsection C, 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 that section, the principal officer of the unit owners' association, or such other officer as the condominium instruments may specify, shall be deemed the duly authorized agent of the lien creditor.

G. 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 § 55.1-1915.

H. Any unit owner or purchaser of a condominium unit, having executed a contract for the disposition of such condominium unit, shall be entitled upon request to a recordable statement setting forth the amount of unpaid assessments currently levied against that unit. Such request shall be in writing, directed to the principal officer of the unit owners' association or to such other officer as the condominium instruments may specify. Failure to furnish or make available such a statement within 10 days of the receipt of such request shall extinguish the lien created by subsection A as to the condominium unit involved. Such statement shall be binding on the unit owners' association, the executive board, and every unit owner. Payment of a fee not exceeding $10 may be required as a prerequisite to the issuance of such a statement if the condominium instruments so provide.

I. At any time after perfecting the lien pursuant to this section, the unit owners' association may sell the unit at public sale, subject to prior liens. For purposes of this section, the unit owners' association shall have the power both to sell and convey the unit and shall be deemed the unit owner's statutory agent for the purpose of transferring title to the unit. A nonjudicial foreclosure sale shall be conducted in compliance with the following:

1. The unit owners' association shall give notice to the unit 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 unit 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 unit. The notice shall further inform the unit owner of the right to bring a court action in the circuit court of the county or city where the condominium is located to assert the nonexistence of a debt or any other defense of the unit owner to the sale.

2. After expiration of the 60-day notice period provided in subdivision 1, the unit owners' 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 the condominium is located. The clerk in whose office such appointment is filed shall record and index the appointment as provided in subsection C, in the names of the persons identified therein as well as in the name of the unit owners' association. The unit owners' association, at its option, may from time to time remove the trustee and appoint a successor trustee.

3. If the unit owner meets the conditions specified in this subdivision prior to the date of the foreclosure sale, the unit owner shall have the right to have enforcement of the perfected lien discontinued prior to the sale of the unit. Those conditions are that the unit owner (a) satisfy the debt secured by lien that is the subject of the nonjudicial foreclosure sale and (b) pays 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 unit owners' association shall give written notice of the time, date, and place of any proposed sale in execution of the lien, and shall include the name, address, and telephone number of the trustee, by personal delivery or by mail to (i) the present owner of the condominium unit to be sold at his last known address as such owner and address appear in the records of the unit owners' association, (ii) any lienholder who holds a note against the condominium unit 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 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 the lienholders and their assigns, at the addresses noted in the memorandum of lien, by ordinary mail 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 unit owners' association shall be in a newspaper having a general circulation in the locality in which the condominium unit to be sold, or any portion of such unit, is located pursuant to the following provisions:

a. The unit owners' association shall advertise once a week for four successive weeks; however, if the condominium unit or some portion of such unit is located in a city or in a county immediately contiguous to a city, publication of the advertisement 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 unit owners' association finds appropriate, shall set forth a description of the condominium unit to be sold, which description need not be as extensive as that contained in the deed of trust but shall identify the condominium unit by street address, if any, or, if none, shall give the general location of the condominium unit 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 unit owners' association. The advertisement 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 unit owners' association may give such other further and different advertisement as the association finds appropriate.

6. In the event of postponement of a sale, which postponement shall be at the discretion of the unit owners' 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 condominium unit voidable by the court.

8. In the event of a sale, the unit owners' association shall have the following powers and duties:

a. Written one-price bids may be made and shall be received by the trustee from the unit owners' 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 condominium instruments, the unit owners' association may bid to purchase the unit at a foreclosure sale. The unit owners' association may own, lease, encumber, exchange, sell, or convey the unit. Whenever the written bid of the unit owners' 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 10 of this subsection and § 64.2-1309. The written bid submitted pursuant to this subsection may be prepared by the unit owners' association or its agent or attorney.

b. The unit owners' association may require of any bidder at any sale 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 condominium unit 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 unit owners' association in connection with that sale.

c. The unit owners' 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 reasonable 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 unit 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 unit owner or his assigns, provided, however, that the association as to such residue shall not be bound by any inheritance, devise, conveyance, assignment, or lien of or upon the unit owner's equity, without actual notice of such encumbrance prior to distribution.

9. The trustee shall deliver to the purchaser a trustee's deed conveying the unit with special warranty of title. The trustee shall not be required to take possession of the condominium unit prior to the sale or to deliver possession of the unit 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 § 55.1-1945 upon the written request of the prior unit owner, current unit owner, or any holder of a recorded lien against the unit at the time of the sale. The unit owners' association shall maintain a copy of the accounting for at least 12 months following the foreclosure sale.

11. If the sale of a unit is made pursuant to this subsection 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 allowed by the Supreme Court of Virginia and an order is entered requiring such sale to be set aside.

1974, c. 416, § 55-79.84; 1975, c. 415; 1991, c. 497; 1992, c. 72; 1997, cc. 760, 766; 2000, c. 906; 2004, cc. 778, 779, 786; 2019, c. 712.

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.