§ 64.34.364. Lien for assessments
(1) The association has a lien on a unit for any unpaid assessments levied against a unit from the time the assessment is due.
(2) A lien under this section shall be prior to all other liens and encumbrances on a unit except: (a) Liens and encumbrances recorded before the recording of the declaration; (b) a mortgage on the unit recorded before the date on which the assessment sought to be enforced became delinquent; and (c) liens for real property taxes and other governmental assessments or charges against the unit. A lien under this section is not subject to the provisions of chapter 6.13 RCW.
(3) Except as provided in subsections (4) and (5) of this section, the lien shall also be prior to the mortgages described in subsection (2)(b) of this section to the extent of assessments for common expenses, excluding any amounts for capital improvements, based on the periodic budget adopted by the association pursuant to RCW 64.34.360(1) which would have become due during the six months immediately preceding the date of a sheriff's sale in an action for judicial foreclosure by either the association or a mortgagee, the date of a trustee's sale in a nonjudicial foreclosure by a mortgagee, or the date of recording of the declaration of forfeiture in a proceeding by the vendor under a real estate contract.
(4) The priority of the association's lien against units encumbered by a mortgage held by an eligible mortgagee or by a mortgagee which has given the association a written request for a notice of delinquent assessments shall be reduced by up to three months if and to the extent that the lien priority under subsection (3) of this section includes delinquencies which relate to a period after such holder becomes an eligible mortgagee or has given such notice and before the association gives the holder a written notice of the delinquency. This subsection does not affect the priority of mechanics' or materialmen's liens, or the priority of liens for other assessments made by the association.
(5) If the association forecloses its lien under this section nonjudicially pursuant to chapter 61.24 RCW, as provided by subsection (9) of this section, the association shall not be entitled to the lien priority provided for under subsection (3) of this section.
(6) Unless the declaration otherwise provides, if two or more associations have liens for assessments created at any time on the same real estate, those liens have equal priority.
(7) Recording of the declaration constitutes record notice and perfection of the lien for assessments. While no further recording of any claim of lien for assessment under this section shall be required to perfect the association's lien, the association may record a notice of claim of lien for assessments under this section in the real property records of any county in which the condominium is located. Such recording shall not constitute the written notice of delinquency to a mortgagee referred to in subsection (2) of this section.
(8) A lien for unpaid assessments and the personal liability for payment of assessments is extinguished unless proceedings to enforce the lien or collect the debt are instituted within three years after the amount of the assessments sought to be recovered becomes due.
(9) The lien arising under this section may be enforced judicially by the association or its authorized representative in the manner set forth in chapter 61.12 RCW. The lien arising under this section may be enforced nonjudicially in the manner set forth in chapter 61.24 RCW for nonjudicial foreclosure of deeds of trust if the declaration (a) contains a grant of the condominium in trust to a trustee qualified under RCW 61.24.010 to secure the obligations of the unit owners to the association for the payment of assessments, (b) contains a power of sale, (c) provides in its terms that the units are not used principally for agricultural or farming purposes, and (d) provides that the power of sale is operative in the case of a default in the obligation to pay assessments. The association or its authorized representative shall have the power, unless prohibited by the declaration, to purchase the unit at the foreclosure sale and to acquire, hold, lease, mortgage, or convey the same. Upon an express waiver in the complaint of any right to a deficiency judgment in a judicial foreclosure action, the period of redemption shall be eight months. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an association from taking a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
(10) From the time of commencement of an action by the association to foreclose a lien for nonpayment of delinquent assessments against a unit that is not occupied by the owner thereof, the association shall be entitled to the appointment of a receiver to collect from the lessee thereof the rent for the unit as and when due. If the rental is not paid, the receiver may obtain possession of the unit, refurbish it for rental up to a reasonable standard for rental units in this type of condominium, rent the unit or permit its rental to others, and apply the rents first to the cost of the receivership and attorneys' fees thereof, then to the cost of refurbishing the unit, then to applicable charges, then to costs, fees, and charges of the foreclosure action, and then to the payment of the delinquent assessments. Only a receiver may take possession and collect rents under this subsection, and a receiver shall not be appointed less than ninety days after the delinquency. The exercise by the association of the foregoing rights shall not affect the priority of preexisting liens on the unit.
(11) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, the holder of a mortgage or other purchaser of a unit who obtains the right of possession of the unit through foreclosure shall not be liable for assessments or installments thereof that became due prior to such right of possession. Such unpaid assessments shall be deemed to be common expenses collectible from all the unit owners, including such mortgagee or other purchaser of the unit. Foreclosure of a mortgage does not relieve the prior owner of personal liability for assessments accruing against the unit prior to the date of such sale as provided in this subsection.
(12) In addition to constituting a lien on the unit, each assessment shall be the joint and several obligation of the owner or owners of the unit to which the same are assessed as of the time the assessment is due. In a voluntary conveyance, the grantee of a unit shall be jointly and severally liable with the grantor for all unpaid assessments against the grantor up to the time of the grantor's conveyance, without prejudice to the grantee's right to recover from the grantor the amounts paid by the grantee therefor. Suit to recover a personal judgment for any delinquent assessment shall be maintainable in any court of competent jurisdiction without foreclosing or waiving the lien securing such sums.
(13) The association may from time to time establish reasonable late charges and a rate of interest to be charged on all subsequent delinquent assessments or installments thereof. In the absence of another established nonusurious rate, delinquent assessments shall bear interest from the date of delinquency at the maximum rate permitted under RCW 19.52.020 on the date on which the assessments became delinquent.
(14) The association shall be entitled to recover any costs and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in connection with the collection of delinquent assessments, whether or not such collection activities result in suit being commenced or prosecuted to judgment. In addition, the association shall be entitled to recover costs and reasonable attorneys' fees if it prevails on appeal and in the enforcement of a judgment.
(15) The association upon written request shall furnish to a unit owner or a mortgagee a statement signed by an officer or authorized agent of the association setting forth the amount of unpaid assessments against that unit. The statement shall be furnished within fifteen days after receipt of the request and is binding on the association, the board of directors, and every unit owner, unless and to the extent known by the recipient to be false.
(16) To the extent not inconsistent with this section, the declaration may provide for such additional remedies for collection of assessments as may be permitted by law.
[1990 c 166 § 6; 1989 c 43 § 3-117.]
Effective date -- 1990 c 166: See note following RCW 64.34.020.
Last modified: April 7, 2009