How the ‘Drummer Boy’ Decision May Affect Us Locally


The D.C. Court of Appeals recently ruled that the super-priority status given to six months’ worth of condominium liens under D.C. Code sec. 42-1903.13 can wipe out all other liens on the condo   unit, including a first-position mortgage, but that Court has not yet determined whether the six months applies to all condo liens, or to each condo lien. In other words, could a condo association get priority for more than six months of assessments by suing under multiple liens? Construing a nearly identical statute, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts answered in the negative. In Drummer Boy Homes Assn., Inc. v. Britton, Judge Brown for a unanimous three-judge panel held that the plain language of the statute allowed super-priority only for a single six-month span of assessments “immediately preceding institution of an action to enforce the lien”; multiple liens would not create multiple six-month priority liens. The court noted that the super-priority language “was intended as an ‘equitable balance between the need to enforce collection of unpaid assessments and the obvious necessity for protecting the priority of the security interests of mortgage lenders,’” and allowing multiple six-month priority liens would disrupt that balance. A link to this important decision, which may influence any future analysis by the D.C. Court of Appeals, is here.