Case Digest: Chateau de Baie vs. Spouses Moreno

G.R. No. 186271 : February 23, 2011

CHATEAU DE BAIE CONDOMINIUM CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. SPS. RAYMOND and MA. ROSARIO MORENO, Respondents.

BRION, J.:


FACTS:

Mrs. Moreno is the registered owner of a penthouse unit and two parking slots in Chateau Condominium. Mrs. Moreno obtained a loan from Oscar Salvacion, and she mortgaged the Moreno properties as security; the mortgage was annotated on the CCTs.

The petitioner caused the annotation of a Notice of Assessment on the CCTs of the Moreno properties for unpaid association dues. It also sent a demand letter to the Moreno spouses who offered to settle their obligation, but the petitioner declined the offer. Under Section 20 of the Condominium Act, when a unit owner fails to pay the association dues, the condominium corporation can enforce a lien on the condominium unit by selling the unit in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale. Thus, to enforce its lien, the president of the petitioner wrote for the extrajudicial public auction sale of the Moreno properties.

While the Salvacion case was pending before the CA, the Moreno spouses filed before the RTC, ParaƱaque City, a complaint for intra-corporate dispute against the petitioner to question how it calculated the dues assessed against them.

The petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, alleging that since the complaint was against the owner/developer of a condominium whose condominium project was registered with and licensed by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), the HLURB has the exclusive jurisdiction.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in not dismissing the complaint in view of the decision rendered by another division sustaining the validity of the extrajudicial foreclosure.

HELD:

The petition lacks merit.

CIVIL LAW: Condominium

The case before the RTC involved an intra-corporate dispute – the Moreno spouses were asking for an accounting of the association dues and were questioning the manner the petitioner calculated the dues assessed against them. These issues are alien to the first case that was initiated by Salvacion – a third party to the petitioner-Moreno relationship – to stop the extrajudicial sale on the basis of the lack of the requirements for a valid foreclosure sale. Although the extrajudicial sale of the Moreno properties to the petitioner has been fully effected and the Salvacion petition has been dismissed with finality, the completion of the sale does not bar the Moreno spouses from questioning the amount of the unpaid dues that gave rise to the foreclosure and to the subsequent sale of their properties. The propriety and legality of the sale of the condominium unit and the parking spaces questioned by Salvacion are different from the propriety and legality of the unpaid assessment dues that the Moreno spouses are questioning in the present case.

Petition is DENIED.

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