Shadow Wood Homeowners Ass'n, Inc. v. N.Y. Cmty. Bancorp, Inc., 63180.

Citation366 P.3d 1105
Decision Date28 January 2016
Docket NumberNo. 63180.,63180.
CourtSupreme Court of Nevada

366 P.3d 1105


No. 63180.

Supreme Court of Nevada.

Jan. 28, 2016.

366 P.3d 1106

Holland & Hart LLP and Patrick John Reilly, Las Vegas; Alessi & Koenig, LLC, and Bradley D. Bace, Las Vegas; Tharpe & Howell and Ryan M. Kerbow, Las Vegas, for Appellant Shadow Wood Homeowners Association, Inc.

Law Offices of Michael F. Bohn, Ltd., and Michael F. Bohn, Las Vegas, for Appellant Gogo Way Trust.

Brooks Hubley LLP and Gregg A. Hubley, Las Vegas; Pite Duncan, LLP, and Kenitra A. Cavin, Las Vegas, for Respondent.

Before the Court En Banc.

366 P.3d 1107


By the Court, PICKERING, J.:

This is an appeal from a district court order setting aside a trustee's deed following a homeowners' association (HOA) assessment lien foreclosure sale. The district court held that NRS 116.3116(2) (2013) limited the HOA lien to nine months of common expense assessments and that the HOA acted unfairly and oppressively in insisting on more than that sum to cancel the sale; that the bid price was grossly inadequate; and that the foreclosure sale buyer did not qualify as a bona fide purchaser for value. The appellants are the HOA and the lien foreclosure sale buyer whose trustee's deed the district court set aside. They argue that NRS 116.31166 (2013), which says that certain recitals in an HOA trustee's sale deed are "conclusive proof of the matters recited," renders such deeds unassailable. We disagree and reaffirm that, in an appropriate case, a court can grant equitable relief from a defective HOA lien foreclosure sale. E.g., Long v. Towne, 98 Nev. 11, 639 P.2d 528 (1982). We conclude, though, that the district court erred in limiting the HOA lien amount to nine months of common expense assessments and in resolving on summary judgment the significant issues of fact surrounding the parties' conduct, the HOA lien amount, the foreclosure sale buyer's status, and the competing equities in this case. We therefore vacate and remand.


The parties to this case are the bank that held the note and first deed of trust on the property (respondent New York Community Bank, or NYCB), the HOA (appellant Shadow Wood Homeowners Association, or Shadow Wood), and the buyer at the HOA lien foreclosure sale (appellant Gogo Way Trust). The original homeowner is not a party. She lost the property, a condominium, on May 9, 2011, when NYCB foreclosed on its first deed of trust. At the time NYCB foreclosed, the note securing its first deed of trust had an outstanding balance of $142,000. NYCB acquired the property at foreclosure with a $45,900 credit bid.

The original homeowner also defaulted on the periodic assessments due Shadow Wood ($168.71 per month) for her share of the condominium community's budgeted common expenses. Her defaults led Shadow Wood, in 2008 and 2009, to file a notice of delinquent assessment lien, two notices of default and election to sell, and a notice of sale against her and the property. When NYCB foreclosed, it did not pay off any part of the original homeowner's delinquent assessment lien. As to first deeds of trust like NYCB's, the HOA lien statute, NRS 116.3116 (2013), splits the HOA lien into two pieces: a superpriority piece, which survives foreclosure of the first deed of trust; and a subpriority piece, which does not. See SFR Invs. Pool 1 v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 130 Nev. ––––, ––––, 334 P.3d 408, 410 (2014). When NYCB acquired the property via credit bid, it thus took title subject to Shadow Wood's superpriority lien but the subpriority piece of the lien was extinguished.

NYCB not only failed to pay off the superpriority lien, it also did not pay the ongoing HOA monthly assessments as they came due. This led Shadow Wood, on July 7, 2011, to record a new notice of delinquent assessment lien. The new notice listed NYCB as the owner, stated that the lien delinquency was $8,238.87 as of June 29, 2011, and advised that, "[a]dditional monies shall accrue under this claim at the rate of the claimant's regular monthly or special assessments, plus permissible late charges, costs of collection and interest, accruing subsequent to the date of this notice." Shadow Wood's counsel, Alessi & Koenig, sent a certified letter to NYCB with a copy of the notice of delinquent assessment. The letter advised that "the total amount due may differ from the amount shown on the enclosed lien" and that:

Unless you, within thirty days after receipt of this notice, dispute the validity of this debt, or any portion thereof, our office will assume the debt is valid. If you notify our office in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, we will obtain verification of the debt and a copy of such verification will be mailed to you.
366 P.3d 1108

NYCB did not respond, and on October 13, 2011, Shadow Wood engaged the next step of the HOA lien foreclosure process, recording a notice of default and election to sell (the NOD). Although NYCB had not made any payments to Shadow Wood,1 the NOD reduced the stated lien delinquency to $6,608.34 as of August 29, 2011. (Mathematics and the record suggest, but do not definitively establish, that Shadow Wood subtracted the original owner's delinquent monthly assessments to the extent they went back further than nine months before the NYCB foreclosure sale.) The NOD advised, "You have the right to bring your account in good standing by paying all of your past due payments plus permitted costs and expenses," which "will increase until your account becomes current," and warned that, if not paid, foreclosure sale will follow after 90 days.

After receiving the NOD, NYCB sent Alessi & Koenig (the law firm who acted as Shadow Wood's collection counsel and whom the NOD designated as Shadow Wood's trustee's agent) an email on November 2, 2011, saying, "In order to pay the dues on this property we will need a detailed statement." By December 12, 2011, Alessi & Koenig had not responded to NYCB's November 2, 2011, email or its December 2, 2011, reforwarded follow-up, so NYCB emailed Shadow Wood's management company asking for "a current statement and their W9 so that we can pay the dues." NYCB's title company also sent the management company "a demand which reflects all funds owed by OUR SELLER ONLY and not those funds which might have been owed by the prior owner of the subject property." In response, Alessi & Koenig and Shadow Wood's management firm sent NYCB various, seemingly conflicting documents, which included account history ledgers for the original homeowner and NYCB that listed the monthly assessments and late charges, and summaries that broke down the fees and costs associated with the current and prior lien foreclosure processes, charges not included on the account history ledgers.

By notice of sale (NOS) dated January 18 and recorded January 27, 2012, Shadow Wood scheduled its lien foreclosure sale for February 22, 2012. By then, the stated delinquency had increased from $6,608.34 as of the NOD date to $8,539.77 as of the NOS date. As NRS 116.31162(1)(b) (2013) requires, the NOS stated:


(Emphasis added.)

On January 31, 2012, NYCB sent Shadow Wood a $6,783.16 check, an amount less than the NOS said was required but which the bank later explained it derived from the account history ledgers. Shadow Wood rejected the check and sent NYCB breakdowns showing $9,017.39 as the current lien amount, consisting of $3,252.39 in unpaid monthly assessments from August 9, 2010, through February 29, 2012, plus fees and charges for publishing and posting of the notice of trustee's sale, recording fees, late fees, title research fees, and the like. Although the breakdowns itemize the charges and provide dates, some going back to 2009 and 2010, before NYCB foreclosed its first deed of trust, they also include parentheticals suggesting the same charges were incurred multiple times, and thus that the charges, or portions of them, were current.

Shadow Wood's lien foreclosure sale proceeded, as scheduled, on February 22, 2012. NYCB did not attend or try to halt the sale, and a third-party buyer, appellant Gogo Way, purchased the property for $11,018.39 in cash. The trustee's deed to Gogo Way recites:

Default occurred as set forth in a Notice of Default and Election to Sell which was recorded in the office of the recorder of said county. All requirements of law regarding the mailing of copies of notices and the posting and publication of the copies
366 P.3d 1109
of the Notice of Sale have been complied with.

After the sale, NYCB sued Shadow Wood and Gogo Way, seeking declaratory relief and to quiet title under NRS 40.010. NYCB's first amended complaint alleges that NYCB remained the owner because Shadow Wood did not conduct the sale in good faith and the sale price was commercially unreasonable. Represented jointly by Alessi & Koenig, Shadow Wood and Gogo Way counterclaimed with their own declaratory...

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