Real estate law question. I am trying to sell a unit in a PUD that shares one wall with another unit. There are structural problems (foundation) that has caused the center of the house to fall about 2 inches. I've gotten reports and quotes that indicate it would probably take about $35K to fix. I thought my HOA would be liable for the repair since it's structural, but I've been told that they had a lawsuit against the builder years ago, the foundations were all "patched" in the neighborhood, and a fund was set up to pay for future problems. And the fund has long since been depleted. Does that mean I have to pay for the repairs? Is the HOA no longer liable for any structural issues since they settled with the builder years ago (even though no money from the fund was ever used for repairs to my unit beyond the initial patch job that everyone got)?Also, is it true that I might have to sell it cash-only and as-is, if I don't repair the issue myself? I'm already losing money on it - I was trying to short sell it. I might just let them foreclose, because I can't afford to fix it myself. What to do.......?
Country relating to Question: United States
State (if USA): California
Good afternoon. The HOA may have settled with the builder, but that doesn't absolve the HOA from further liability for repairs to the homeowners. This is a structural portion of the property that is common area and belongs to the HOA. If the HOA does not have current funds in this particular fund, then it must assess all the owners of the HOA to replenish to fix any remaining and/or ongoing problems. If they won't do so voluntarily, a homeowner in your situation would want to file a suit against the HOA and force the issue.
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Thank you so much for this response, and so quickly!
A couple quick general questions based on your answer, since I've never hired a lawyer to file a suit. Would a lawyer take this case and file a suit like this on contingency, or would I be out of pocket to get it done? Would I have to do the legwork to get other homeowners to join me who are having similar issues, or would the attorney do it (and again would this cost me)? And do you think an HOA would fight hard against such a thing, and would they have a leg to stand on? Someone told me that no one can sell a unit within an HOA as long as there's a lawsuit pending against the HOA, which makes an HOA likely to settle lawsuits pretty quickly....not sure if that's true...
THANKS AGAIN - this first experience on JustAnswer.com has been very encouraging and I imagine I'll be coming back if another muddle ever befalls me!
Thanks for the kind words! I have addressed each of your questions below in bold, underlined, italicized text...
Would a lawyer take this case and file a suit like this on contingency, or would I be out of pocket to get it done? This is not a typical contingent fee case, and a lawyer would be unlikely to take this on such basis not because of the likelihood of winning, but because there are not enough dollars involved. But, if money is a problem, I would suggest you go to your nearest law school. Most of them have legal clinics that are run by law students and supervised by law professors that will take cases such as yours on a pro-bono basis to help the students, who are idealistic, energetic, and very bright, get experience while under the watchful tutelage of their law professors. Would I have to do the legwork to get other homeowners to join me who are having similar issues, or would the attorney do it (and again would this cost me)? You can file this suit without the joinder of other homeowners. This is not an overly complicated suit, so you might ask the same law school for a referral of a recent graduate. And do you think an HOA would fight hard against such a thing, and would they have a leg to stand on? This should be pretty clear cut in your favor and if they get good counsel, they will resolve this without the suit because your case is a good one.
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