Condominium Associations Can File Liens and Sue Owners for Unpaid Assessments
Thomas W. Hartmann
The Hartmann Law Firm LLC
TheHartmannLawFirm.com; [email protected]; 908 769 6888
In the case of Adelphia Greens II Condominium Assoc., Inc. v. Dubrovsky, 34-2-6642, the New Jersey Court of Appeals reconfirmed that condominium associations have authority under the New Jersey Condominium Act and a condominium association's master deed and by laws to file liens against properties for failure to pay assessments and to sue owners for past due assessments.
In this case, Plaintiffs Adelphia Greens Condominium Association, Inc. (“Adelphia”) and Adelphia Greens II Condominium Association, Inc. (“Adelphia II) are the governing bodies for residential condominium developments. Defendant Leora Dubrovsky owns two condominium units in Adelphia, one in her name alone, and the other jointly with her husband, defendant Richard Dubrovsky. Leora Dubrovsky also owns a condominium unit in Adelphia II.
Defendants failed to pay condominium dues and assessments. Consequently, Adelphia recorded liens against defendants' units in the amount of the delinquent assessments in July 2011 and updated the liens for additional unpaid assessments in February 2014. Also, Adelphia and Adelphia II filed separate actions against the owners for unpaid condominium maintenance fees, late fees and attorney fees. These actions resulted in awards of $21,276.58, $23,791.60, $10,356.55, which included not only the unpaid fees, but legal fees and costs.
The Dubrovskys appealed and lost on all three actions. The New Jersey Court of Appeals confirmed that a condominium association has authority under the Condominium Act and the condominium's master deed and by laws to file a lien against the properties for unpaid assessments and to sue the individual owners to recover such unpaid assessments.
This is a valuable reminder that condominiums have important and practical rights of recovery when assessments remain unpaid. Condominium Associations should actively manage the payment and recovery process to insure rapid, focused and efficient use of the legal tools available.
The Hartmann Law Firm LLC can assist in such matters as this is a regular part of the firm's practice.