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CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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I have been sent to a legal firm owed to Homeowners

Customer Question

I have been sent to a legal firm for collections for money owed to Homeowners Association. I have been in and out of the hospital for over 3 years (heart). I have called the office of the lawyer that has my case 3 times and left messages. I want to settle, but not the amount shown that has more than tripled. It started at 800 and now is 4000. What should.I do?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 9 months ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you today.

I am very sorry to learn of this situation. Debts such as this (HOA/Condo Association debts in particular) tend to increase very rapidly.

Some general tips on how to negotiate a settlement are below (most creditors (HOA Board) are interested in actually settling the matter rather than pushing it to litigation, but they need to ensure that all of the actual costs the HOA has incurred (so "hard costs" - things that the HOA has to pay to cover the non-payment of assessments (such as the actual HOA fee, the attorney's fees, etc.) are paid, and then they can negotiate the "soft costs" (interest, late fees, etc.). Sometimes they can also negotiate the hard costs simply to get around litigation.

When trying to settle a debt, creditors generally prefer lump sums over payment plans. They are often willing to accept an amount less than the full debt (the trade off is that they get a quick payment and don't have to worry about ongoing collection costs or administration). If you do not have the ability to offer a lump sum for something the creditor will accept (some will accept a small portion, while others want close to the full amount), you can try a payment plan, these are less satisfactory to the creditor (especially if they have a lien on your property already), but if you are willing to offer something with a reasonable chance to get the creditor a large amount of their debt back, you are likely to get them to accept it.

Whenever working with a creditor, make sure that you keep your communications in writing (if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a confirmation letter to summarize your conversation), as this will help to ensure that there is no confusion later on, and you will be able to enforce your settlement against any future collection efforts.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thank you, ***** *****! In a situation like this how much would the hard cost be. I know you can't foresee the cost for another company, but maybe an estimate so that I can make a fair offer.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 9 months ago.

You can ask them for a breakdown in how they arrived at the claim amount (or an "itemized statement"). This will give you these numbers broken down by assessments, late fees, interest, attorney's fees, court costs, etc.

You can then try negotiating a settlement from there.