What is a Condominium Lien in Rhode Island?

When you reside in a condominium, you own your own space, but the common areas must be kept up by someone. Someone must be responsible for snow removal, electricity, and the like. That’s one of the main reasons for a condominium association. A condominium association collects fees from the unit owners in order to fund its annual budget. But what happens when a unit owner fails to pay his or her fees in a timely manner?

A “Super Priority Lien”

In Rhode Island, the condominium association will have a lien on a unit for fines imposed against its owner once it has been due. Condominiums also have what is often referred to as a “super priority lien.” Under the Rhode Island Condominium Act, all unit owners share a contractual and statutory obligation to pay these common fees in a timely manner. Should a unit owner fail to do so, he or she can be divested of their title to the unit and the association will have an automatic lien against the unit. 

This condominium lien is like a mortgage in how it is enforced: by non-judicial foreclosure. Once 60 or 90 days have passed since the fees were owed, the association will send the unit owner a notice of delinquency. Unless the association and the unit owner can come to an agreement for payment or he or she pays the overdue fees, the title of the unit is ordered and reviewed with a notice sent to the owner of the initial mortgage of the unit. 

The Initial Mortgagee is Involved

It’s important to note that condominium liens in Rhode Island are given priority status – even before the initial mortgage concerning six months of assessments, $2,500 in attorney’s fees, and $5,000 in collection fees. In such a situation, the initial mortgage holder will often pay the condo board the overdue fees. 

If the fees are still not paid, the association can then move to close on the lien and will send another notice to the owner of the unit and the first mortgagee. The association then has the right to sell the unit at a public auction. After the auction is held, the board is required to send a notice to the first mortgagee within seven days. It must include the bid amount and the identity of the bidder. Then the mortgagee has up to 30 days to pay the association in order to redeem the unit. 

PALUMBO LAW Helps Those in Rhode Island with their Condominium Concerns

At PALUMBO LAW, our experienced Rhode Island Condominium Law attorneys work strategically to help our clients to get what they deserve. We have deep experience working on issues concerning condos and understand how to deal with them. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us today!