Condo Association Forecloses Against Landlord at Renter’s Expense


L.S. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

Can the condo association take my apartment if they have a lien on it for failure to pay assessment because they overcharged us on one part? They charged us for something that belongs to the owners to take care of as per the bylaws and they gave us something that was not what was in the description and proposals. Therefore, I did not pay the whole assessment and yet they cashed my check that said paid in full zero balance. what recourse do I have?

Mister Condo replies:

L.S., from what I gather of your question, you are renting a condominium unit and the unit owner has a lien against the unit placed by the association for failure to pay an assessment. You want to know if the association can take over the unit because there is a lien against the unit for an unpaid assessment. Is that correct? Regardless of what you have paid to the association, the association is not your landlord. That transaction is between you and your landlord, even if you paid the association directly for work that was supposed to be billed to the landlord as unit owner. Your landlord has a separate responsibility to the association to make good on the monies owed or the association has the right to foreclose on the property. As a renter, you may have rights that prevent the association from evicting you during this process and you likely have due process rights as tenants but you should consult with an attorney who is knowledgeable in your region to assist you with this potentially complicated real estate transaction. You are not renting from the association; you are renting from the landlord. If the landlord breaks the lease by virtue of losing the unit to foreclosure, you may have grounds for legal action against the landlord. Of course, if the unit was foreclosed because the landlord couldn’t afford the assessment levied you might not have any better luck getting money out of this person than the association did. I am sorry for your troubles. I hope you can work something out with the association so that you can finish out the term of your lease while you look for a new apartment to rent. Good luck!

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