The way an HOA can force fees is two ways:
1) Sue for the outstanding balance, or
2) Force a foreclosure based on the outstanding balance.
HOAs normally do the latter, as this is more effective at scaring the owner into compliance to avoid losing the property.
In cases of foreclosure, the mortgage
lender (if any) stands to collect first, and anything left over is given to the HOA.
There is no way for the HOA to "stop" the sale unless it begins litigation either under (1) or (2) above. IF it does, it would file a lis pendens
with the county under RCW 4.28.320 - see here
. This tells any potential buyer "watch out - this property is under litigation! If you buy it, you may lose it anyhow."
Most buyers would immediately shy away from such a purchase.
Ergo, the best way is to consider litigation and the lis pendens that comes with it, which would basically disallow the owner to sell since most buyers would shy away.
NOTE that even if he does sell, the past due fees STILL REMAIN and may be litigated. The new owner may have to end up paying them.
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