Can I file a small claims suit against my homeowners' association for arbitrary or contestible fines ($300 + $100 finance charges) and additional charges to file a lien against my home? I've been denied appeal to the Board and have Covenant rules in my favor that the HOA is falsley interpreting. Damages: $800. owed, Defamation of Character-neighbors heard, Mental harrassment, etc.???
Numerous letters contesting the fines and a few phone calls to the HOA office. Answers are always vague and the Covenant rules that I cite are always interpreted to their favor. HOA rules are clear, legal documents and some staff member is somehow adding her interpretations.
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I'll look forward to hearing from you,
Jane Doe Deer
Rather than taking them to court, you may want to wait until the HOA takes YOU to court to collect on the fees.
What puzzles me is how they think they can impose various fees unless they have authority for these fees in the bylaws.
As far as Defamation goes, attorneys are extremely reluctant to take defamation cases, and these are not usually heard in Small Claims Court.
I suggest that you write a letter to the HOA and ask them to cite the specific CCR or bylaw that gives them the authority to impose each and every fine they have imposed or are threatening to impose. Give them a deadline, such as 5:00 pm on October X, 2008 (give them a couple weeks to respond). Send the letter by certified, return receipt mail and keep copies of everything, of course.
Once you get the letter, ask for a hearing under the appropriate bylaw. Send the request for a hearing by certified/return receipt mail as well.
This may sound like a lot of busywork, but if they do take you to court to collect the fees, you'll be able to demonstrate that you tried to resolve these matters reasonably, but the HOA was neither acting reasonably nor following their own bylaws.
Please let me know if I've missed anything.
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Next time, ask for "Jane Doe Deer."
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