by Tom Schild
The successful bidder at a foreclosure sale of a condominium unit is not exempt from paying condo fee assessments until legal title is conveyed after a court ratifies the sale, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled on December 1, 2011.
In Campbell v. Bayside Condominium, a Maryland foreclosure sale purchaser challenged the authority of the Condominium to impose a lien for assessments during the interval between the foreclosure sale date and conveyance to the purchaser several months later. She contended that the Maryland Condominium Act definition of “unit owner” should be applied to mean only those with “legal title” are obligated to pay the condo fees.
Under long-established Maryland law, the purchaser at a foreclosure sale acquires “equitable title” as of the sale date. After court ratification of the sale and upon conveyance by deed, the purchaser acquires “legal title” retroactive to the foreclosure sale date. Applying this principle in the context of the purchase of a condominium unit at a foreclosure sale, the Court of Special Appeals concluded that the term “unit owner” in the Condominium Act embraces the holder of equitable title. Therefore, a foreclosure sale purchaser is liable for payment of assessments from the date of the foreclosure sale.