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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33738
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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We have been assessed a $1400.00 HOA fee from our developer

Customer Question

We have been assessed a $1400.00 HOA fee from our developer of a small single family home community (23 houses). Construction has been stopped and there are currently 8 lots open. The developer provided landscape around the development last summer and the majority of the grass, trees, and plants are dead (they never installed a sprinkler system or watered the area). There isn't even a separate water source outside of the homeowners to water the area. They have also pulled some of the live plants and planted them in the empty lots. They have not provided us with the expenditures from last year and stated they would "as soon as it became available" We were also told that they have another development that they manage in poor shape also. What are our rights as homeowners? The majority of us have meet already and feel we are be taken by a crook!
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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Do your Bylaws state that the developer is responsible for maintaining the landscaping on any common areas?.

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Do the Bylaws require the developer to provide the prior year's expenses before you are obligated to pay any assessments?

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Has the developer taken any legal action to file suit regarding the assessments?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
It states that the association is responsible for maintaining the landscaping. I am not sure about the having to provide the prior year's expenses (I will need to read through further). The developer has not taken any legal action because the dues are not due until 1/31/16.
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

Ok, if the developer is not acting in compliance with any obligations imposed by the Bylaws, then he is in breach of contract. The Bylaws are a binding contractual obligation between developer, owners, and any HOA once they take over.

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So when one party is in breach, that relieves the other side from any further performance under the contract. With that said you are legally justified in withholding the dues until the developer performs under the contract. You also have the right to sue them under a breach of contract claim for their failure to honor their obligations.

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In most Bylaws it states that the "prevailing party" is entitled to their legal fees and costs so if your Bylaws state this, you and the other owners could sue the developer, win, and then force him to pay your legal fees as well as any costs of maintaining the development if the owners hired someone to do so...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Okay thanks for your help. We will look into further.
Expert:  Barrister replied 10 months ago.

You are very welcome. Happy to help any time. And if the developer tries to sue one or more of you, you can all band together, get an attorney, and then countersue him..

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks much

Barrister

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