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Civil Code § 5720. Limitations on Foreclosure.
(a) Notwithstanding any law or any provisions of the governing documents to the contrary, this section shall apply to debts for assessments that arise on and after January 1, 2006.
(b) An association that seeks to collect delinquent regular or special assessments of an amount less than one thousand eight hundred dollars ($1,800), not including any accelerated assessments, late charges, fees and costs of collection, attorney’s fees, or interest, may not collect that debt through judicial or nonjudicial foreclosure, but may attempt to collect or secure that debt in any of the following ways:
(1) By a civil action in small claims court, pursuant to Chapter 5.5 (commencing with Section 116.110) of Title 1 of Part 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure. An association that chooses to proceed by an action in small claims court, and prevails, may enforce the judgment as permitted under Article 8 (commencing with Section 116.810) of Chapter 5.5 of Title 1 of Part 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The amount that may be recovered in small claims court to collect upon a debt for delinquent assessments may not exceed the jurisdictional limits of the small claims court and shall be the sum of the following:
(A) The amount owed as of the date of filing the complaint in the small claims court proceeding.
(2) By recording a lien on the owner’s separate interest upon which the association may not foreclose until the amount of the delinquent assessments secured by the lien, exclusive of any accelerated assessments, late charges, fees and costs of collection, attorney’s fees, or interest, equals or exceeds one thousand eight hundred dollars ($1,800) or the assessments secured by the lien are more than 12 months delinquent. An association that chooses to record a lien under these provisions, prior to recording the lien, shall offer the owner and, if so requested by the owner, participate in dispute resolution as set forth in Article 2 (commencing with Section 5900) of Chapter 10.
(B) In the discretion of the court, an additional amount to that described in subparagraph (A) equal to the amount owed for the period from the date the complaint is filed until satisfaction of the judgment, which total amount may include accruing unpaid assessments and any reasonable late charges, fees and costs of collection, attorney’s fees, and interest, up to the jurisdictional limits of the small claims court.
(3) Any other manner provided by law, except for judicial or nonjudicial foreclosure.
(c) The limitation on foreclosure of assessment liens for amounts under the stated minimum in this section does not apply to any of the following:
(1) Assessments secured by a lien that are more than 12 months delinquent.
(2) Assessments owed by owners of separate interests in time-share estates, as defined in subdivision (x) of Section 11212 of the Business and Professions Code.
(3) Assessments owed by the developer.
(Added by Stats. 2012, Ch. 180, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2013. Operative January 1, 2014, by Sec. 3 of Ch. 180.)