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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  JA Mentor
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Is there a statue of limitations for requesting HOA dues?

Resolved Question:

Is there a statue of limitations for requesting HOA dues?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Hi,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

What state is the property located in? Also, are you referring to an amount of time to impose fees under the declaration and bylaws, or the amount of time to collect fees that are required under those documents?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I'm sorry for the lack if information.
I live in NC and the "new" developer did not maintain the common areas (halls, stairs, dusting, etc,m) in the building for four years and we as the owners pitched in to do this. Now after4+ years they are asking for back "HOA" dues, and we don't even have a HOA board.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
The statute of limitations in North Carolina for breach of contract is four years. With something like monthly dues, the statute resets each time that a payment is missed, but the board could never go back more than four years prior to the date that they filed a lawsuit.

Now, that assumes that (1) the common assessments are authorized by the declaration and bylaws (which they usually would be) and (2) that someone, at some point, communicated the amounts due. If the bylaws simply say that the HOA has the ability to assess common fees, and no fees were ever assessed, there isn't a legal basis for going back in time to impose fees.

If unit owners were spending their own money to maintain common areas because the board was not doing so, they may have a counterclaim for the monies spent, because the HOA has a legal obligation to do maintenance and repairs. They cannot refuse to do the work, force the owners to do it themselves, then collect money for work they never did.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19658
Experience: JA Mentor
Lucy, Esq. and 7 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for your answer, however; I would like to give more details of the situation.
The previous developer had a management company maintaining the property, after they went into foreclosure , the current developer fired the management company and for four years we cleaned the building, and the first year the dumpster area and parking lot.
The owners were informed by the maintenance crew not to come into our building to clean.
Our building was the only building at the time of the foreclosure, than Housing Authority bought the property and built three additional buildings which THEY DO SERVICE AND MAINTAIN.
Now as of April 2013 they are requesting HOA. From January 2009
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
That really doesn't change the answer. If they provided invoices and informed unit owners of the requirement to pay fees, then they can collect dating back to August 2009. They have four years to file a suit. If they didn't ever notify unit owners of the fees, then there's no legal basis for them to collect now.

And if the unit owners were paying themselves to maintain the common areas because the HOA wasn't, then they would have a counterclaim which would offset any amounts the HOA is trying to collect.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19658
Experience: JA Mentor
Lucy, Esq. and 7 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
You mention a lawsuit, they have only sent letters and bills out to the owners, they have not taken any legal actions, however; I want to know if their threatening letters were harassment or do they really have a leg to stand on.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
A letter attempting to collect a debt is not harassment if the person has a sincere belief that the debt is owed. This is true even if they eventually file a suit and lose - harassment requires that a person's behavior serve no legitimate purpose, and if I think you owe me money, then I have a legitimate purpose in contacting you.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19658
Experience: JA Mentor
Lucy, Esq. and 7 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

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