Regular or special assessments, as well as any late charges, interest, reasonable fees and costs of collection, including attorney’s fees, become the debt of the owner of the property at the time the assessment or other sums are levied by the association. (Civ. Code § 5650(a); See also “Duty to Pay Assessments.”) When any payment is made by the owner toward this debt, Civil Code Section 5655 sets forth the following structure governing how the payment must be applied and allocated toward the debt:
- Assessments Owed – The payment must first be applied to the assessments owed.
- Collection Fees & Costs, Attorney’s Fees, Late Charges or Interest – Only after the assessments owed are paid in full may the payments then be applied to the fees and costs of collection, attorney’s fees, late charges or interest. (Civ. Code § 5655(a).)
By establishing the above allocation requirements, Section 5655 “recognizes that a payment [made by a delinquent owner] might not cover the full amount of the delinquency and other charges.” (Huntington Continental Townhouse Assn. v. Miner (2015) 230 Cal.App.4th 590, 602.) Section 5655 “permits” partial payments, and further requires an association to accept any such partial payments. (Huntington, at 601-602; See also “Partial Payments.”)
Related Case Law
- Huntington Continental Townhouse Association, Inc. v. Miner
(2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 590
[Assessments & Collection; Partial Payments] An association is required to accept partial payments made by a delinquent homeowner and allocate them in accordance with Civil Code Section 5655, even after the association has recorded an assessment lien.