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If this is a judgment lien and the lien exceeds the amount of the actual judgment, you can begin by sending the creditor a notice requesting that the correct the amount. If they fail to do so, you will have to file a motion with the court that issued the judgment asking that the creditor's lien be reduced to reflect the amount of the judgment.
If this is an HOA lien for assessments that have not been paid and associated costs, you will need to dispute the matter with the association. The only defense you have in these disputes is that you actually paid all assessments on time. If you have not, you are responsible for all late fees, interest, and collection costs actually paid or incurred by the HOA to collect those assessments (the fees must be "reasonable" but it is interpreted widely in favor of the Association).
If you believe you have outside factors that can reduce your liability, or things that you can use to negotiate your liability (such as a cross-complaint) that is another issue that can only be used as a negotiation point, an association has no obligation by law to negotiate such liability against assessments.
Ahh... so do I have to deal with the Law Firm before I pay anything? Is the recommendation that I say hell with it and just pay the associated costs? If so, is there any assurance that once I have paid, they will remove the lien?
Thanks. Is the recommendation then for me to deal with the assoc. or the attorneys? Is there any assurance that if I pay they will remove the Lien?
You can negotiate with the law firm directly (most HOAs prefer this, but you can of course talk to the HOA). Some homeowners like to hire their own counsel to help them negotiate this type of debt (for some situations it is successful, for others it is not). Once you have paid, they MUST remove the lien, they no longer have a legal right to keep it there.
To negotiate the matter, you do have some leverage if you can pay a lump sum, or a significant payment plan, the HOA can avoid the costs of collections, and will ensure payment (usually you will have to agree to a "stipulated judgment" or some other form of assurance, but it will help you reduce your payment (again, not always successful, it really depends on how "hard nosed" the HOA board is, and what sort of financial pressure they are under).
Will I get an immediate response to my payment in the form of release of Lien or is it up to them when it is removed? The amount of difference is really only about $1,000
They should send it to you "promptly" (meaning within a few days after the payment is made they should send a notice to the County Recorder's Office, and copy you on it as well. There is no reason for any delay. (You can ask them for prompt confirmation of the removal of the lien when you send your payment).
Got it thanks. How hard is it to sue a condo board for Breach of Covenant, Breach of Statutory duty and Negligence. Worth it?
It really depends - usually the HOA will tender the claim to its insurance company (meaning they will be well represented), and you will be looking at about a year's worth of litigation over your matter. You can win these cases (I don't know what the facts are specific to your case, and you may have a very good one on the merits). The big issue is what your damages would be (how much financial harm as the HOA caused you through these bad acts? Once you factor these together, along with the cost to you (both time and money) and the "inherent risk of litigation" you can usually come up with a reasonable calculation for the objective value in pursuing such a lawsuit. Sometimes simply filing the lawsuit will be sufficient to draw the other party to a mediation table with a more reasonable party (their insurance counsel) available to help motivate a better outcome going forward.
Thank you for the help. Guess I will submit the amount I feel is due and see if they accept it. If not no real alternative but to pay up...!! To be sure, I can make the payment to the association and if they accept it I am good right?
If you are not going to submit the full amount due - make sure you contact them ahead of time and try to reach a settlement agreement, that way the two of you can come to a mutual agreement. If you send in only a partial payment, that is what it will be construed as. If you have the cash on hand to make such a large proportionate payment, it may be in your best interest to make a settlement proposal.
Have a great night.. appreciate the help!
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX do the same. I hope the above is helpful, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to let me know and I will follow up quickly.
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