I DON’T AGREE WITH THE MANAGEMENT OF MY CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION. CAN I STOP PAYING MY MAINTENANCE FEES, OR PLACE IT IN AN ESCROW ACCOUNT UNTIL MY DISPUTE WITH THE ASSOCIATION IS RESOLVED?
No. All unpaid sums assessed to a unit by the association for common expenses will constitute a lien on the unit. The lien on the unit may be foreclosed by judicial action, or non-judicially by the managing agent or board, acting on behalf of the association. HRS, § 514B-146. The law allows, however, a unit owner who disputes the demand for payment to request a written statement which contains the following information: the unit owner has no right to withhold common expense assessments (only); the unit owner has a right to demand mediation or arbitration to resolve common expense assessment disputes provided the owner immediately pays the common expense assessment in full and keeps the common expense assessment current; the payment shall not prevent the owner from contesting the common expense assessment or receiving a refund of amounts not owed; and the unit owner may demand mediation for any penalty or fine, late fee, lien filing fee, or charges other than common expense assessments, if any, prior to paying those charges. HRS § 514B-146(d). In the alternative to foreclosure, an association may institute an action to recover a money judgment for unpaid common expenses.