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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102584
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I just received a "complaint

Customer Question

Hi, I just received a "complaint for foreclosure" from my HOA in the mail. This is the first I've heard anything about any legal action about this. In addition "I received a verified motion for service by publication". Now I do owe about $900 in past HOA dues after recovering from a bankruptcy. I would like to make good on the past amount owed as well as any late penalties. However they are demanding an addition $4000 in attorney's fees and both the attorney's and management refuse to answer phone calls or emails. It sounds to me as if they are just trying to steal the 100k equity I have in my home. So my question is two fold. First is there any kind of cap or reasonable limit to recover a $900 past due HOA dues account? I am unemployed at the moment and want to clear this up reasonably, but can't begin to come up with the 5k they are demanding. I desperately need to take action, but have no idea where to even begin. Please help and advise, Thank you, ***** ***** XXX XXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:
(A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. This is repeated in numerous disclaimers throughout the site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my reply while I am typing out my answer.
I am sorry to hear about this situation. First, can you please tell me if you have filed an answer yet, or not?
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, I have no idea on how to due that. I called the district judicial center and they said to file a response costs $158 each! However I have 4-5 separate "motions" (if that is the right term) filed. Like I said this is the first I've heard of anything like this and only in the mail a few days ago. All I want to due is pay the $900 plus late penalties, yet the costs seem to being going up exponentially.

Please advise as to the least expensive yet safe way to proceed to prevent foreclosure on such a relatively small amount. The attorney fee's alone seem to border on extortion. I have very limited reserves and need to continue the mortgage payment as a priority. Is the only way to get them to respond is to pay for all these responses? And to what effect would they have?

Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
1) First of all, someone in your situation wants to file a timely answer. This would avoid the matter going into default, meaning that the matter would be over before it begins.
2) Sample answer below:
[caption] - TITLE AND PARTIES (just copy of their filing)
NOW COMES Defendant, YOUR NAME, named Defendant in the above-entitled and numbered cause, and files this Answer, and shows the Court:
Defendant denies allegations in paragraph 1 of Plaintiff’s pleading.
Defendant denies allegations in paragraph 2 of Plaintiff’s pleading.
Defendant denies allegations in paragraph 3 of Plaintiff’s pleading.
Defendant denies allegations in paragraph 4 of Plaintiff’s pleading.
Defendant denies each and every allegation of Plaintiff's Complaint, and demands strict proof thereof as required by rules of evidence and procedure for the State of Colorado.
Defendant prays the Court, after notice and hearing or trial, enters judgment in favor of Defendant, awards Defendant the costs of court, attorney's fees, and such other and further relief as Defendant may be entitled to in law or in equity.
Respectfully submitted,
Your Signature
Your name

I certify that on (date filed) a true and correct copy of Defendant's Answer was served to the opposing party.
Your Signature
Your name

A copy is sent to the court, certified mail, and a copy to the attorney as well, certified mail. Both return receipt requested.
This sets the matter for trial down the line, allowing the parties to negotiate.
3) The HOA can charge interest/fees if it is in the HOA documents, bylaws, etc. If not, then the Court may award interest at discretion.
4) The hardest part here is the attorney fees. The Court can award reasonable attorney fees to the victor. They may or may not get all that they ask for, if then win. In negotiating with them, one may offer to pay some legal fees, but not that much - perhaps a fifth, and start from there. Or even none at all. The firm may be happy to simply agree to a payment plan for the overdue amount in general and drop the suit.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.