The Georgia Property Owners’ Association Act (Act) was passed in 1994 to codify certain provisions for governing the association including collecting assessments, voting, notice of meetings, and the powers of the association. Every homeowner’s association (HOA) is required to pass an amendment to be governed under the terms of the Act. Many of these provisions help to reinforce the general powers of the HOA. There are a number of benefits to electing governance under the Act, some of which are discussed below.
Automatic statutory liens. An HOA that is governed by the Act is not required to file liens at the county courthouse for overdue assessments or other amounts owed to the association. Instead, the Act establishes an automatic statutory lien against an owner who is delinquent in his obligations. Under the Act, individual liens are moot since the covenants of the HOA are deemed to provide notice that a lien has attached to the property. The HOA will provide a calculation of unpaid assessments to those who are involved in a subsequent sale of the property. If the HOA does not get paid from the proceeds of the sale, then the lien remains attached to the property and the HOA will have priority status in most cases.
Joint and several liability. The Act states that the buyer of a property is jointly and severally liable with the seller of the property for all unpaid dues unless the covenant provides otherwise. Therefore, if the lien is not satisfied at closing, the HOA can bring an action against the new owner who is personally liable for those amounts. (The new owner can then seek reimbursement from the prior owner in a separate action).
Late fees and interest. A HOA that is governed by the Act can choose to charge owners a late fee of the greater of $10.00 or ten percent of the amount due. Additionally, the HOA can charge interest at rate of ten percent per year of past due charges. This provision must be explicitly stated in the covenants of the HOA.
Attorney’s fees. The HOA may recoup the costs associated with its collection of unpaid dues and assessments, including reasonable attorney’s fees, according to the Act. This too must be included in the covenants to be enforceable.
The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Offices of Mark Weinstein, P.C. can help you litigate your real estate claims. Contact Mark Weinstein and his colleagues at (770) 888-7707 or visit them at http://www.markweinsteinlaw.com to find out how they can advise you.