Monday, August 29, 2016

Real Estate: The Virginia Property Owners' Association Act - Memorandums of Lien

      In a previous blog, I began discussing the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act.
     The Act specifically provides for remedies outside of the more common remedy of filing suit for the amount owed and receiving a judgment. A memorandum of lien to a holder of a credit line deed of trust under the Act is given in the same fashion as if the association’s lien were a judgment. Under the Act, the association can file for and perfect a lien against the homeowner that is prior to all other subsequent liens and encumbrances except real estate tax liens, liens and encumbrances recorded prior to the recordation of the declaration, and sums unpaid on and owing under any mortgage or deed of trust recorded prior to perfection of this lien.
     To perfect the memorandum of lien, the association must file with the clerk of the circuit court in the county or city in which the development is situated a memorandum verified by the oath of the principal officer of the association or another officer provided for in the declaration. The memorandum must be filed within 12 months from the first assessment became due and payable. Additionally, prior to filing a memorandum of lien, a written notice must be sent to the property owner by certified mail, at the owner’s last known address, informing the owner that the lien will be filed in the circuit court clerk’s office at least 10 days before the actual filing date of the lien. The memorandum must name the development, describe the lot, name the person(s) constituting the owners of the lot, list the amount of unpaid assessments currently due or past due relative to such lot together with the date when each fell due, list the date of issuance of the memorandum, name the association with a name and address of the contact for the person to contact to arrange for payment or release of the lien, and state that the association is obtaining a lien in accordance with the provisions of the Virginia Property Owners’ Association act as set forth in Chapter 26 (section 55-508 et seq.) of Title 55.
     The Act provides that a judgment or decree in this action must include, without limitation, reimbursement for costs and reasonable attorney’s fees for the prevailing party. Also, if the association prevails, it may also recover interest at the legal rate for the sums secured by the lien from the time each sum became due and payable. If the owner then satisfies the debt, the lien must be released, and failure to release the lien results in a penalty.
     Once a lien has been perfected, the association must enforce the lien within 36 months from the time when the memorandum of lien was recorded. This time period cannot be extended.
     In a future blog, I will discuss foreclosure on a lien.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bankruptcy: Bankruptcy Exemption - Sale of Tenants by the Entirety Property

     In the case of In Re Zella, the United States Bankruptcy Court at Alexandria, Virginia ruled that a deed that conveyed the Virginia marital home to the debtor and his wife "as joint tenants with the full common law right of survivorship" created a tenancy by the entirety and proceeds from the sale of the property is exempt from claims on non-joint creditors in Bankruptcy Court.
     In Zella a creditor challenged a claim of exemption. The Bankruptcy Court determined that the key issue of the case was whether, in Virginia, a deed to parties described in the deed as husband and wife, and who are in fact husband and wife, as "joint tenants with the full common law right of survivorship," creates a tenancy by the entirety in accordance with Virginia Code §55-20, and thus makes the property exempt from the claims of non-joint creditors under Bankruptcy Code §522(b)(2)(B). The Bankruptcy Court concluded that the deed in question did create a tenancy by the entireties, notwithstanding the lack of language using those specific words, as the deed specifically contained the language "with the full common law right of survivorship". The Bankruptcy Court cited two Virginia Supreme Court cases which support such a finding: Allen v. Parkey and Burroughs v. Gorman. The Bankruptcy Court ruled that the language in the deed explicitly evidenced the intent to preserve the common-law right of survivorship.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Collection: No Debt Cure from Extra Payments

     In the case of W. Harold Tulley I LLC v. North Richmond Investments Inc., the City of Richmond Circuit Court addressed a case involving an alleged cure of a default by payments made after default.
     The Court ruled in Tulley that Plaintiff lender is entitled to a deficiency judgment after foreclosure on real estate that secured a commercial loan. The Court rejected Defendant guarantors’ contention that their additional payments after default cured the default, as such was not provided for under the parties’ contract.
     Defendants asserted that the Third-Party Defendant trustees and Plaintiff breached their obligations and duties because they knew or should have known Defendants were not in default. Defendants claimed that the trustees violated their duties under the loan documents, failed to act impartially, failed to acquire the best price upon the sale, sold the property at an inadequate sale price, and as they were never in default, should not have conducted the sale. Defendants contended that the trustees conducted the sale on a sham bid, knowing that Defendants were not in default.
     The Court noted that neither the deed of trust and guaranty agreement nor the applicable statute, Virginia Code Section 55-59, lists any of the duties Defendants would have imposed on the trustees in foreclosure sales.
     The Court found that both the deed of trust and the guaranty agreement describe default as failure to pay the agreed upon amounts at the agreed upon time on a timely basis. The guarantor stated that upon his tender of the two advance interest payments, there was no agreement regarding how the payments were to be applied, and that he understood they were not required under the financing and deed of trust documents. The Court ruled that Defendants were held properly in default, the amounts due accelerated triggering foreclosure.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Foreclosure: Foreclosure Sale Accounting

     The Code of Virginia requires that the trustee’s accounting be filed with the appropriate commissioner of accounts “within six months after the date of a sale.” The Manual for Commissioners of Accounts states that “although the Commissioner does not have specific statutory authority to extend the six month filing date, some courts allow the Commissioner to extend the deadline for good cause shown in advance of the filing date.”

Monday, August 1, 2016

Real Estate: The Virginia Property Owners' Association Act - General Provisions

     In a previous blog I began a review of the Virginia Property Owners’ Act. Under the Act, sellers are required to disclose in their sales contract that the property is located within a development subject to the Act. The Act also requires the seller to retrieve the Disclosure Packet in the Act and provide it to the purchaser. The Disclosure Packet includes the following information: association documents, the name of the association, state of incorporation, register agent’s name and address, any other entity/facility to which the owner may owe fees or charges, budget or summary, income/expenses statement or balance sheet for last fiscal year, statement of balance due of outstanding loans, nature/status of pending lawsuits, unpaid judgments (with material impact on association or members or relating to lot being purchased), insurance coverage provided for lot owners including fidelity bond maintained by association, and much more.
     The purchaser may cancel the contract within three days if delivered by hand or email, or six days if sent by mail, after receiving the Disclosure Packet or being notified that it is “not available” (meaning: a current annual report has not been filed by the Association with either the SCC or the CICB; or the seller has requested in writing that the packet be provided and it is not received within 14 days; or the association has provided written notice that the Disclosure Packet is not available). Additionally, if the Disclosure Packet is not delivered or the association does not indicate that it is not available, the purchaser may cancel the sale any time prior to closing. If the purchaser received the Disclosure Packet, the owner also has the right to request an update. However, the rights to receive and cancel the contract are waived conclusively if not exercised before settlement.
     Failure to provide a Disclosure Packet after a written request for it has been made results in a waiver of any claim to delinquent assessments or violations of association documents up to that point, and the association will be liable to the seller for actual damages sustained up to $1,000 if the association is managed by a CIC Manager or up to $500 if it is self-managed.
     In upcoming blogs, I will discuss the provisions of the Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act that provide a memorandum of lien and foreclosure in the event of an owner’s default.