Real Estate Law
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Yes, unfortunately they can. You see, deed restrictions "run with the land", which mean that regardless whether or not they were agreed to you contractually, they can be enforced as a "negative covenant" between you and the other homeowners in the area. ONLY if the restrictions were part of a voluntary HOA that did not run with the land and were not actually "deed restrictions" could you have a shot at challenging them.
But the main issue is that if they're really deed restrictions, they're actually restrictions that apply to the land (and subsequently to anyone that occupies that land).
Note, however, that your lack of signing any agreement means that you cannot personally be held liable for any assessment, etc...
The property can be liened for failing to pay assessments, and they could foreclose on that, but they could not come after you personally.
So if they are claiming unpaid assessments, I am NOT responsible? And if there is no mortgage on the house, can they still place a lien?
You personally are not responsible, but they can still place a lien on the house. Again, the restrictions run with the house, and to the extent that someone agrees in writing to be subject to those restrictions, they can apply personally to that person. A lien is merely a security interest on a property, that could be foreclosed. The existence of a mortgage or not would not affect their ability to put a lien on it.
But if they were to sell it and still have a balance owed, they could not come after you personally.
The extent of what they could recover would be limited to the house.
OK, thanks. I think you have answered my questions. If they claim that I owe them $3k in back assessments, is it worth their while to put a lien on the house?
That really depends on the association. There are some associations that would do it for $300, some wouldn't be bothered for under $10,000.
I wish I could give you a better idea, but that's incredibly dependent upon the organization itself and their litigation / collection strategy.
OK, thanks again. I have a lazy HOA with no money so I may be OK. Thanks for the information.
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