THE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, INC., A/K/A PINE WOODS ASSOCIATION v. JILL M. LIMBERGER et al., SC 19509

Judicial District of Tolland at Rockville

 

      Foreclosure; Condominiums; Whether Condominium Association’s Executive Board was Required to Provide Notice to Unit Owners of Proposed Foreclosure Policy.  The plaintiff condominium association brought this foreclosure action pursuant to the Common Interest Ownership Act (act), General Statutes § 47-200 et seq., alleging that defendant Jill M. Limberger, who owns a unit in the plaintiff’s condominium complex, had failed to pay certain common expense assessments.  The defendant moved to dismiss the action, claiming that the plaintiff had failed to comply with General Statutes § 47-258 (m), which provides that an association may not commence an action to foreclose a lien on a unit unless (1) the unit owner owes at least two months of common expense assessments; (2) the association has made a demand for payment in a record and has provided a copy of the record to the unit owner; and (3) the executive board has either voted to commence a foreclosure action against the unit or has adopted a standard policy that provides for foreclosure against the unit.  The defendant argued that the plaintiff had failed to either vote to commence a foreclosure action against the defendant’s unit or to adopt a standard policy that permitted it to bring a foreclosure action against the unit.  The trial court denied the motion, finding that the plaintiff’s board of directors had adopted a standard policy for the enforcement of the plaintiff’s liens, which encompassed the foreclosure of the lien against the defendant’s unit.  The court rejected the defendant’s claim that the board’s enforcement policy constituted a rule change that required the board to provide notice to the unit owners of both the proposed and adopted policies pursuant to General Statutes § 47-261b.  It noted that General Statutes § 47-202 (31) defines a “rule” as a policy that governs the conduct of persons or the use or appearance of property.  It then opined that the board’s adoption of the fee collection system did not regulate the conduct of residents or the use and appearance of property at the condominium complex.  The court explained that the policy instead constituted an internal business operating procedure that was to be used for the day-to-day operations of the complex.  Accordingly, the court held that the board acted properly in voting to adopt the new enforcement standards without giving notice to the unit owners.  Thereafter, the court found that the plaintiff was entitled to a judgment of foreclosure, determining that the other statutory prerequisites of § 47-258 (m) had been satisfied, including the requirement that the defendant be more than two months behind in association fee payments.  The court also rejected the defendant’s special defense of payment, finding that she had failed to present any evidence in support of that defense.  The defendant appeals, arguing, among other things, that the trial court improperly found that the plaintiff had complied with the requirements of § 47-258 (m) and that she had failed to prove her special defense of payment.