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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 53697
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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We bought a condo in Dec 2011 and we are trying to sell it

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We bought a condo in Dec 2011 and we are trying to sell it now. When the title company requested a payoff quote they are adding HOA dues from a previous owner to the payoff quote. However, when the same title requested a payoff quote in 2011 this amount did not show up.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good afternoon. This is going to be either the responsibility of the title company or the HOA. It will be the responsibility of the title company unless the title policy that you obtained when you purchased the property specifically referenced and listed and the unpaid fees as an exception to title. On the other hand, if the title company had no ability to discern these unpaid HOA fees either because they were not evidenced by a lien by the HOA or disclosed to the HOA upon the title company's inquiry when determining the HOA fee proration for the year, then the HOA is going to be responsible. If the HOA is responsible, if it wants to collect, the HOA is going to have to pursue your prior owner for the unpaid fees because it's your prior owner who has personal liability.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou and based on your response, the HOA is responsible. So, a related follow-up, since we are in escrow and HOA is demanding this amount, what is my recourse - who/where can I go to get in Northern CA ?

You're welcome. What you want to do at this point is one of two things..i) So that you don't have to pay this under fire, ask that the title company put the amount in question in escrow so as to issue title to your buyer free and clear of this lien. That will allow you to close on the property and resolve the issue later. Or, ii) You can pay allow the title company to pay the amount from the purchase price specifically footnoting on the HUD that by allowing the payment you specifically are not agreeing to the fact that you owe this debt and are not agreeing to waive your rights to contest it later. Then, following closing, file a claim against the HOA in small claims court. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the HOA, as the losing party, doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the HOA for a debtor examination. That forces the HOA to meet you in court and answer questions under oath about the HOA assets. After that information is obtained, you have the power to attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other HOA property to satisfy the judgment.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thhanks for the response. Last related question. Is there no agency of state or federal that I take help from to investigate this HOA ?

You're's my pleasure to help. Yes...there are ways to file official complaints. I am providing you the following website of the Center for California Homeowner Association Law, which gives you guidance on how to file such complaints:
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