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FLRealEstateAnswer, Attorney
Category: FL Real Estate
Satisfied Customers: 28364
Experience:  Experience handling landlord/tenant issues, mortgage foreclosures, eviction, purchase and sale agreements
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I own a home in FL but live in another FL city. My

Customer Question

I own a home in FL but live in another FL city. My longer-term tenant stopped caring for the property and when I found out I immediately had him evicted and by the beginning of August I cleaned it up (yard maintenance, trees trimmed, driveway pressure
washed,etc). At the end of August, weeks after the house was cleaned up I was served legal papers from the HOA/property management company from back in June stating that the property was in disrepair. The HOA didn't give the attorney my current address (which
they have, and I've lived at for 5 years). I emailed the law firm and explained the situation and sent pictures and was told the claim was being dismissed. But lo and behold they filed to collect $1670 in attorney fees. Even though by the time I was aware
of the claim the issue was long past fixed. I offered a settlement and was denied. I asked for a payment plan and was denied. I tried to pay by credit card and was told they only take cashiers checks. I don't have that kind of money lying around. My question
for you - is it worth paying my own lawyer to get involved, or is most likely that I will end up owing these exuberant fees no matter what? I can't afford to pay my own attorney if I end up paying his fees, on top of the thousands the other firm is after.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: FL Real Estate
Expert:  FLRealEstateAnswer replied 1 year ago.

Good evening. Once the violations started to occur, where was the notice to cure sent? Also, how did you find out they stopped caring for the rental?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The notice to cure was sent via process server to my attention at the rental property. They have my home address, where I have lived for 5 years and where they send board meeting notices and yearly dues, etc.I actually found out about the property's condition from the Property Management Company in late June stating that there were violations and if they weren't taken care of I would face legal action. At that time the legal proceedings had already begun, so I'm not sure why they didn't tell me the truth. When I was notified I immediately verified the condition of the property and started taking steps to clean up and have the tenant removed. I offered pictures and receipts from the hired workers (pressure washing, tree trimmers, etc), but received no response from the HOA.I told the legal firm that I don't have the cash to send a money order/cashiers check, and that's why I needed to use a credit card. I was told that if it's not paid the HOA will file a foreclosure against me. I'm assuming that's their reason for being inflexible and unopen to a settlement or payment plan. Why settle, when they can either get the full amount or take my house.I'm just trying to determine if it's worth fighting or I just need to start begging/borrowing to get it paid asap and avoid foreclosure.Thanks for your help!
Expert:  FLRealEstateAnswer replied 1 year ago.

.Thank you for the additional information. They are under no legal obligation to settle and accept less then what is owed. If you can pay but only via credit card, you may want to consider going to the bank and just taking a cash advance on the credit card, so you can give them the actual cash to end this issue. Now, if you were to fight it and argue, your strongest position would likely be that you never received the notice to cure, that it was sent to the rental where the tenant was and you never received it and they KNEW that you did not reside there and should have sent the notice to the address on file, where they send the other notices you receive. Now, I live in Florida also and rent and if there is an issue, the HOA sends the notice of violation to the property owner, who then contacts me, so they are capable of doing this. If that is going to be your argument and position, you want to review the rules and regulations and see if and what the notice requirements are by the HOA and if they violated them. If so, you could use that as a way to settle or avoid paying the attorney fees, since if the proper notice was sent, you would have cured it and they would not have needed to turn this over to an attorney.