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Zachary
Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I have a dispute with my HOA. The HOA had changed some years

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I have a dispute with my HOA. The HOA had changed some years ago from the previous HOA management company. I received a notice of fees and late fees and paid that (I had never received any invoice, bill, statement until the late notice). I have no agreement with the new management company (which I have requested several times cia phone and in writing); I have never received any copy of by-laws regulations rules of the HOA (Also requested in writing). After paying the previous late fees and assessments I had requested that they invoice, bill, provide me with statements, or ANYTHING else that would tell me what I am paying, when it is due, and what I am paying for. I had sent a written letter stating that I would not be making any future payments until I receive a copy of my bylaws and/or HOA agreement AND any type of statement with due date and due amount (in writing). This written notice went ignored and I didnt make any payment since. I recently received a statement from a law firm which included monthly assessments $90/quarter ($360) and a grand total of $1200 for late fees and attorney fees. I sent them a letter (with copies of previous letters) and a check for $360 stating that this was the first and only statement I have received and "I am willling" to pay the assessments in good faith but dispute any fees...and requested AGAIN any copies of past due bills, by-laws, or agreements. The check came back with a letter asking to resend the check with "no restrictive endorsement". NO way! I still have no idea what the by laws are and can only imagine that they would apply the check to exactly what I am refusing to pay. LATE FEES!

I imagine there has to be some protection under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. They wont even provide me with the by-laws. I have offered the payment on the assessments...should I just wait until they file and present my case...or pay the $1200 and then sue them?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
Hi,

Thank you for your question and I'm very sorry to hear about this situation.

The fact that the HOA is refusing to provide you with a copy of the by-laws and is refusing to send you an invoice for the fees due is very odd and also means that you do not legally owe the late fees they are trying to collect.

However, the fact that this is an HOA means that they will collect by placing a lien on your property and attempt to enforce the lien through foreclosure This can be a very costly situation to resolve and also places undo pressure on you to acquiesce to their demands. In order to avoid this situation you need to act immediately.

What I recommend that you do is file a Declaratory Judgment Action, in which you will have a court declare that you are not liable for any late fees, that the HOA is required to invoice you for any dues and assessments, and that the HOA must provide you with a copy of the by-laws and allow you adequate access to the HOA records (as is generally the right of any HOA member). In this Declaratory Judgment Action you would also ask for a temporary injunction to prevent the HOA and the attorney firm attempting to collect from you from exercising any collection rights such as foreclosure, until the matter is resolved in court.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating does not cause an additional charge and will not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
ZDN
Customer: replied 1 year ago.


Mr. DZNLaw,


 


I apologize but I have 1 more issue and will rate you excellent if you can give me some follow up advise. after reviewing your answer I see that the legal notice does already have a charge for a placing a lien on my property. I did not receive any intent to lien notification and dont know if they actually placed a lien because that notice was the first time I was ever notified. Would you opine that paying the $1200 and "chasing" recovery through the court by suing them would be a better course of action or would filing a Declaratory Judgment Action have better results.


 


I really "could" afford to pay but its the principle...I dont think they have treated me fairly by doing all of this.

Expert:  Zachary replied 1 year ago.
I think the results will be the same either way.

However, it would be easier to pay the amount owed and then sue. This would cut them off from any further lien action and will spare you the cost of getting a temporary injunction. The temporary injunction will cost you in attorneys fees and you will likely have to put a bound up. So paying the $1,200 will be cheaper in the long run in terms of the costs of litigation.
Zachary, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3911
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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