Recent changes to an Indiana law affect how condominium associations collect unpaid assessments when a unit is sold. The buyer of the condominium has to make sure the prior unit owner has paid all of the assessments or the condominium association has the ability to file a lien against the buyer’s newly-acquired condo.
Prior to July 1, 2014, when purchasing a condo, the law provided that a buyer was (1) entitled to a statement from the association, manager or board of directors setting forth the amount of unpaid assessments against the prior owner, and (2) not liable for, nor could the condo unit conveyed be subject to a lien for, any unpaid assessments against the former owner in excess of the amount set forth in the statement from the association.
The problem often encountered by buyers was that there was no statutory recourse if the association failed to timely respond to the buyer’s request for information. Such delays in response by the association could delay the closing date or force a buyer into making a decision to “roll the dice” on purchasing the unit without knowing the total amount of unpaid fees and assessments. In addition, buyers frequently had a difficult time locating contact information for the association.
Effective July 1, 2014, the legislature amended the law to require an association to respond to a buyer’s request for a statement of unpaid assessments, by first class or certified mail, not later than ten (10) business days after receipt of the written request. If the association fails to timely respond, the buyer is not liable for, and the condominium unit is conveyed not subject to, the unpaid assessments against the former condominium unit owner. In such an instance an association’s only recourse will be to pursue the former owner for the unpaid assessments. Additionally, this statutory amendment provides buyers with guidance for locating the association.
The Take Away: Condominium associations have a duty to timely respond to a buyer’s request for a statement of unpaid assessments. If the association fails to timely respond, it will lose out on an opportunity to collect unpaid dues relating to the unit sold and be forced to pursue the outstanding assessments against the former owner.
For more information about this recent update to Indiana real estate law or for assistance with any real estate matter, please contact KDDK attorney Ryan M. Schulz at (812) 423-3183 or rschulz@KDDK.com, or contact any member of the KDDK Real Estate Law Practice Team.
About the Author
Ryan M. Schulz, an attorney at Kahn, Dees, Donovan & Kahn, LLP, who is licensed to practice in Indiana and Kentucky, focuses his practice on business law, real estate law, construction law, estate planning, and litigation and trial services. Ryan has helped counsel clients through complicated business and construction transactions and can be of assistance to any company in reviewing, negotiating and drafting contracts, and handling litigation involving a variety of business transactions, including construction, manufacturing, real estate and other business contracts.