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Assessment Lien. Assessment liens are provided for in a association's governing documents. An assessment lien is a legal claim or "hold" on an owner's unit or lot making the property collateral against delinquent assessments, whether regular or special assessments, owed to the association. The lien effectively keeps the owner from transferring title to the property without first satisfying his/her debt to the association.

It is generally understood that a lien is not a debt but acts as security for payment of a debt or other obligation. The debt is the assessment, which is secured by the assessment lien. An assessment lien may be enforced in any manner permitted by law, including judicial foreclosure. When an assessment lien is enforced through judicial action, the debt secured by the lien is merged into the judgment. (Diamond Heights Village v. Financial Freedom, internal cites and quotes deleted.)

See pre-lien letters and lien resolutions.

Judgment Lien. A judgment lien is a court-ordered lien on a debtor's property. If a homeowner fails or refuses to pay assessments, fines and/or fees, an association can sue the individual in court and obtain a judgment for the amounts owed. If the owner fails to pay the judgment, the association can enforce the judgement through a judgment lien, also called an abstract of judgment.

ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.

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