Code of the District of Columbia

§ 42–1903.13. Lien for assessments against units; priority; recordation not required; enforcement by sale; notice to delinquent owner and public; distribution of proceeds; power of executive board to purchase unit at sale; limitation; costs and attorneys’ fees; statement of unpaid assessments; liability upon transfer of unit.

(a) Any assessment levied against a condominium unit in accordance with the provisions of this chapter and any lawful provision of the condominium instruments, along with any applicable interest, late fees, reasonable expenses and legal fees actually incurred, costs of collection and any other reasonable amounts payable by a unit owner under the condominium instruments, shall, from the time the assessment becomes due and payable, constitute a lien in favor of the unit owners’ association on the condominium unit to which the assessment pertains. If an assessment is payable in installments, the full amount of the assessment shall be a lien from the time the first installment becomes due and payable.

(1) The lien shall be prior to any other lien or encumbrance except:

(A) A lien or encumbrance recorded prior to the recordation of the declaration;

(B) A first mortgage for the benefit of an institutional lender or a 1st deed of trust for the benefit of an institutional lender on the unit recorded before the date on which the assessment sought to be enforced became delinquent; or

(C) A lien for real estate taxes or municipal assessments or charges against the unit.

(2) The lien shall also be prior to a mortgage or deed of trust described in paragraph (1)(B) of this subsection and recorded after March 7, 1991, to the extent of the common expense assessments based on the periodic budget adopted by the unit owners’ association which would have become due in the absence of acceleration during the 6 months immediately preceding institution of an action to enforce the lien or recordation of a memorandum of lien against the title to the unit by the unit owners' association. The provisions of this subsection shall not affect the priority of mechanics’ or materialmen’s lien.

(b) The recording of the condominium instruments pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall constitute record notice of the existence of such lien and no further recordation of any claim of lien for assessment shall be required.

(c)(1) The unit owners’ association shall have the power of sale to enforce a lien for an assessment against a condominium unit if an assessment is past due. By accepting a deed to a condominium unit, the owner shall be irrevocably deemed to have appointed the chief executive officer of the unit owners’ association as trustee for the purpose of exercising the power of sale provided for herein. Any language contained in the condominium instruments that authorizes specific procedures by which a unit owners’ association may recover sums for which subsection (a) of this section creates a lien, shall not be construed to prohibit a unit owners’ association from foreclosing on a unit by the power of sale procedures set forth in this section unless the power of sale procedures are specifically and expressly prohibited by the condominium instruments.

(2) A unit owner shall have the right to cure any default in payment of an assessment at any time prior to the foreclosure sale by tendering payment in full of past due assessments, plus any late charge or interest due and reasonable attorney’s fees and costs incurred in connection with the enforcement of the lien for the assessment.

(3) The power of sale may be exercised by the chief executive officer of the unit owners' association, as trustee, upon the direction of the executive board, on behalf of the unit owners' association, and the chief executive officer of the unit owners' association shall have the authority as trustee to deed a unit sold at a foreclosure sale by the unit owners' association to the purchaser at the sale. The recitals in the deed shall be prima facie evidence of the truth of the statement made in the deed and conclusive evidence in favor of bona fide purchasers for value.

(4)(A) A foreclosure sale shall not be held until at least 31 days after a Notice of Foreclosure Sale of Condominium Unit for Assessments Due is recorded in the land records and sent by a delivery service providing delivery tracking confirmation and by first-class mail to a unit owner at the mailing address of the unit, any last known mailing address, and at any other address designated by the unit owner to the executive board for purposes of notice.

(B) The Notice of Foreclosure Sale of Condominium Unit for Assessments Due shall:

(i) State the past due amount being foreclosed upon and that must be paid in order to stop the foreclosure;

(ii) Expressly state that the foreclosure sale is for either:

(I) The 6-month priority lien as set forth in subsection (a)(2) of this section and not subject to the first deed of trust; or

(II) More than the 6-month priority lien set forth in subsection (a)(2) of this section and subject to the first deed of trust; and

(iii) Notify the unit owner that if the past due amount being foreclosed upon is not paid within 31 days after the date the NFSCUAD is mailed, the executive board shall sell the unit at a public sale at the time, place, and date stated in the NFSCUAD.

(C) Substantial compliance with the requirements of subparagraph (B) of this paragraph shall be sufficient until new forms are made available by the Recorder of Deeds.

(D) The Notice of Foreclosure Sale of Condominium Unit for Assessments Due shall be accompanied by an enclosure providing the following information:

(i) A statement of the past due amount being foreclosed upon and that must be paid in order to stop the foreclosure sale;

(ii) A breakdown of the amount being foreclosed on, including amounts past due for assessments, accrued interest, late charges, all other categories of amounts past due, and the dates those amounts accrued;

(iii) A statement that the amount being foreclosed upon may not be the total amount owed to the unit owners' association and instructions on how the unit owner can request a full account statement;

(iv) Information on the availability of resources that a unit owner may utilize, which shall be in substantively the following form in at least 18-point font:

"FAILURE TO PAY AMOUNTS INDICATED IN THE ENCLOSED NOTICE OF FORECLOSURE SALE OF CONDOMINIUM UNIT FOR ASSESSMENTS DUE MAY RESULT IN SALE OF YOUR UNIT.

"YOU MAY BE ELIGIBLE FOR FREE OR REDUCED-COST ASSISTANCE.

"The D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development maintains a list of Community-Based Non-Profit Organizations that provide housing counseling services. Information on providers can be found on [Department of Housing and Community Development website for community-based non-profit organizations] or by calling [Department of Housing and Community Development’s designated phone number].

"The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) sponsors housing counseling agencies that can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. You can get a list of HUD-approved housing counselors at [Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website] or by calling [Department of Housing and Urban Development’s phone number]."; and

(v) Any other information the Mayor may prescribe by rule.

(E)(i) At least 31 days in advance of the sale, a copy of the Notice of Foreclosure Sale of Condominium Unit for Assessments Due shall besent by a delivery service providing delivery tracking confirmation and by first class mail to:

(I) The Mayor or the Mayor's designated agent;

(II) Any and all junior lien holders of record; and

(III) Any holder of a first deed of trust or first mortgage of record, their successors and assigns, including assignees, trustees, substitute trustees, and MERS.

(ii) The unit owners' association shall be in compliance with this requirement if it sends notice as provided herein to the lienholders as their names and addresses appear in land records.

(5) The date of sale shall not be sooner than 31 days from the date the notice is mailed. The executive board shall give public notice of the foreclosure sale by advertisement in at least 1 newspaper of general circulation in the District of Columbia and by any other means the executive board deems necessary and appropriate to give notice of sale. The newspaper advertisement shall appear on at least 3 separate days during the 15-day period prior to the date of the sale.

(6) The proceeds of a sale shall be applied:

(A) To any unpaid assessment with interest or late charges;

(B) To the cost of foreclosure, including but not limited to, reasonable attorney’s fees; and

(C) The balance to any person legally entitled to the proceeds.

(d) Unless the condominium instruments provide otherwise, the executive board shall have the power to purchase on behalf of the unit owners’ association any unit at any foreclosure sale held on such unit. The executive board may take title to such unit in the name of the unit owners’ association and may hold, lease, encumber or convey the same on behalf of the unit owners’ association.

(e) The lien for assessments provided herein shall lapse and be of no further effect as to unpaid assessments (or installments thereof) together with interest accrued thereon and late charges, if any, if such lien is not discharged or if foreclosure or other proceedings to enforce the lien have not been instituted within 3 years from the date such assessment (or any installment thereof) become due and payable.

(f) The judgment or decree in an action brought pursuant to this section shall include, without limitation, reimbursement for reasonable costs and attorneys' fees actually incurred by the unit owners' association.

(g) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit actions at law to recover sums for which subsection (a) of this section creates a lien, maintainable pursuant to § 42-1902.09.

(h) Any unit owner or purchaser of a condominium unit shall be entitled upon request to a recordable statement setting forth the amount of unpaid assessments currently levied against that unit. Such request shall be in writing, directed to the principal officer of the unit owners’ association or to such other officer as the condominium instruments may specify. Failure to furnish or make available such a statement within 10 days from the receipt of such request shall extinguish the lien created by subsection (a) of this section as to the condominium unit involved. Such statement shall be binding on the unit owners’ association, the executive board, and every unit owner. Payment of a reasonable fee may be required as a prerequisite to the issuance of such a statement if the condominium instruments so provide.

(i) Upon any voluntary transfer of a legal or equitable interest in a condominium unit, except as security for a debt, all unpaid common expense assessments or installments thereof then due and payable from the grantor shall be paid or else the grantee shall become jointly and severally liable with the grantor subject to the provisions of subsection (h) of this section. Upon any involuntary transfer of a legal or equitable interest in a condominium unit, however, the transferee shall not be liable for such assessments or installments thereof as became due and payable prior to his acquisition of such interest. To the extent not collected from the predecessor in title of such transferee, such arrears shall be deemed common expenses, collectible from all unit owners (including such transferee) in proportion to their liabilities for common expenses pursuant to § 42-1903.12(c).

(j) In addition to any other right or power conferred by this section, the executive board shall have the power to suspend the voting rights in the unit owners’ association of any unit owner who is in arrears in his payment of a common expense assessment by more than 30 days, and the suspension may remain in effect until the assessment has been paid in full.


(Mar. 29, 1977, D.C. Law 1-89, title III, § 313, 23 DCR 9532b; Mar. 8, 1991, D.C. Law 8-233, § 2(gg), 38 DCR 261; Mar. 20, 1992, D.C. Law 9-82, § 2(k), 39 DCR 683; June 21, 2014, D.C. Law 20-109, § 2(l), 61 DCR 4304; Apr. 7, 2017, D.C. Law 21-241, § 2(d), 64 DCR 1602.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 45-1853.

1973 Ed., § 5-1253.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 42-1901.01, § 42-1902.02, and § 42-1904.11.

Effect of Amendments

The 2014 amendment by D.C. Law 20-109 added “along with any applicable interest, late fees, reasonable expenses and legal fees actually incurred, costs of collection and any other reasonable amounts payable by a unit owner under the condominium instruments” in the introductory language of (a); added “or recordation of a memorandum of lien against the title to the unit by the unit owners’ association” in (a)(2); in (c)(1), deleted “unless the condominium instruments provide otherwise” from the end of the first sentence, and added the second sentence; rewrote (c)(3); and substituted “for reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees actually incurred by the unit owners’ association” for “for costs and attorneys’ fees” in (f).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 2(k) of Condominium Act of 1976 Technical and Clarifying Temporary Amendment Act of 1991 (D.C. Law 9-38, August 17, 1991, law notification 38 DCR 5805).

Editor's Notes

Section 3 of D.C. Law 21-241 stated that within 180 days after April 7, 2017, the Mayor, pursuant subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, shall issue rules to implement the provisions of Law 21-241.