Maintenance Liens (Wisconsin HOA’s)

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MAINTENANCE LIENS
779.70? Maintenance liens.
(1)?Any corporation organized under the laws of this state as a nonprofit, membership corporation for the purpose of maintaining, improving, policing or preserving properties in which its members shall have common rights of usage and enjoyment, including, without limitation because of specific enumeration, private (not public) parks, plazas, roads, paths, highways, piers, docks, playgrounds, tennis courts, beaches, water pumping plant and connecting pipes or sewer plant and connecting pipes, shall have the power to prepare and annually submit to its membership a budget of the expenditures which it proposes to make for the ensuing year. Such budget shall include the expenses of maintaining the necessary organization of the corporation including salaries to officers, fees paid for auditing the books of the corporation and for necessary legal services and counsel fees to the governing board thereof.
(2)
(a) Upon the adoption and approval of the annual budget by a majority of the members entitled to vote as established by the articles of incorporation and bylaws of the corporation and by rules validly adopted by resolution of the governing board of the corporation, at a regular meeting or adjournment thereof, or upon the approval of a special assessment under par. (e), the governing board of the corporation may levy an assessment not in excess of 8 mills on each dollar of assessed valuation, to be known as a maintenance assessment, against all of the lots, the ownership of which entitles the owner thereof to the use and enjoyment of the properties controlled by the corporation, but the limitation of 8 mills on each dollar of assessed valuation shall not apply in any case in which the property owners or their predecessors in title have, by written contract, or by the terms of their deeds of conveyance, assumed and agreed to pay the costs of maintaining those properties in which the owners have common rights of usage and enjoyment.
(b) The assessment levied under this section shall be equal in amount against each parcel of contiguous lots under common ownership and with one dwelling house in a parcel, with the assessment prorated among the lots in the parcel, or equal in rate against the assessed value of each lot or equal in amount against each lot, at the option of the governing board as it directs each year, except as provided in pars. (c) and (d), and shall be levied at the same time once in each year upon all lots. Assessed value shall include the value of the land comprising the lot and the improvements thereon.
(c) The governing board shall apportion the cost of operating water or sewer plants and facilities thereof and separate such costs from the other expenses of the budget and shall include the expenses of water and sewer plant maintenance only in the levy against those lots which may be improved with a dwelling house on the date when the levy is ordered, and no portion of such cost shall be assessed against the vacant lots or the owners thereof. In computing the cost of operating water or sewer line facilities thereof, reasonable reserves may be set up for depreciation of facilities.
(d) If property owners or their predecessors in title have, by written contract, or by the terms of their deeds of conveyance, agreed to pay unequal amounts, dues or assessments to maintain those properties in which the owners have common rights of usage and enjoyment and if those amounts, dues or assessments which are not based on assessed valuations do not vary more than $25 between lots, then the governing board may apportion the costs of maintaining those properties in proportion to the amounts, dues or assessments specified in the agreement.
(e) The governing board of a corporation may call a special meeting upon at least 5 days’ written notice for the purpose of making a special assessment. The nature of the proposed special assessment shall be included in the notice. A majority of members entitled to vote shall constitute a quorum for a special meeting, and a majority of members entitled to vote who are present at the special meeting shall determine a question.
(3)?The governing board of a corporation described in sub. (1) shall declare the assessments levied under sub. (2) due and payable at any time after 30 days from the date of the levy. The corporation’s secretary or other officer shall notify the owner of every lot so assessed of the action taken by the board, the amount of the assessment of each lot owned by such owner and the date on which the assessment becomes due and payable. The secretary shall mail the notice by U.S. mail, postage prepaid, to the owner at the owner’s last-known post-office address.
(4)?In the event that an assessment levied under sub. (2) against any lot remains unpaid for a period of 60 days from the date of the levy, the governing board of the levying corporation may, in its discretion, file a claim for a maintenance lien against the lot. All of the following apply to a claim for lien under this subsection:
(a) The claim may be filed at any time within 6 months from the date of the levy.
(b) The claim shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of the county in which the lands affected by the levy lie.
(c) The claim shall contain a reference to the resolution authorizing the levy and the date of the resolution, the name of the claimant or assignee, the name of the person against whom the assessment is levied, a description of the property affected by the levy and a statement of the amount claimed.
(d) The claim shall be signed by the claimant or the claimant’s attorney, need not be verified, and may be amended, in case an action is brought, by court order, as pleadings may be.
(5)?The clerk of circuit court shall enter each claim for a maintenance lien in the judgment and lien docket immediately after the claim is filed in the same manner that other liens are entered. The date of levy of assessment will appear on the judgment and lien docket instead of the last date of performance of labor or furnishing materials.
(6)?When the corporation, described in sub. (1) has so filed its claim for lien upon a lot it may foreclose the same by action in the circuit court having jurisdiction thereof, and ss. 779.09, 779.10, 779.11, 779.12 and 779.13 shall apply to proceedings undertaken for the enforcement and collection of maintenance liens as described in this subsection.
History: 1977 c. 316, 449; 1979 c. 32 ss. 57, 92 (9); 1979 c. 176; Stats. 1979 s. 779.70; 1989 a. 31; 1995 a. 224; 1997 a. 254.