A client of ours, and current condo owner, had required work done for their unit, performed by the condo corp. They saw a $2,600 total charge for a $600 unpaid fee relating to this work. A misunderstanding escalated, the owner adamantly refused to make payment and ignored important notices regarding the charge. The condo’s property manager and board members were left with the only option of a placing a lien on the property, as permitted by the Condominium Act, 1998. The $2,000 in lawyer fees, lien registration fees and lien discharge fees could have been avoided if the owner was more informed.
Pay attention to your condominium notices. If you are in arrears for maintenance fees, a special charge or special assessment for a extended period of time, the condo corp has the right to hire a lawyer and register a lien on your property. All associated lawyer fees and charges will become your responsibility to pay.
Often in condos, the issues are relatively small and room is left to escalate. Try to remove emotion and blame from your situation and understand your rights, as well as your responsibilities as a condo owner. Remember, the property manager enforcing the process is just doing their job for the condo corp, and probably dislikes conflict just as much as you. When in doubt, seek advice from a lawyer. Avoid letting costs escalate.
More specifics about condo liens:
- A lien is a form of security interest granted over a property to secure the payment of a debt.
- A lien normally has priority over mortgages but after outstanding property taxes.
- Liens can be applied for unpaid:
- monthly condominium fees
- special assessment charges
- failure to carry out necessary maintenance, that the condo paid for
- insurance deductibles as a result of damage
- legal fees incurred by the condo corp
- Condo boards must register liens within 3 months of a default to be able to enforce them.
- Condo boards must send a formal notice of lien at least 10 days prior to the certificate of lien being registered (by personal service or registered mail)
Got questions? We’d be happy to try to help where we can, and refer a lawyer if needed. Call us at 416.222.1212 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org