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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 12396
Experience:  JD, MBA
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If my earlier attempt to present my question made it's

Customer Question

If my earlier attempt to present my question made it's way to you, I apologize for duplication. This note will be more concise! 1) In 2006, I purchased a condominium in Concord, NH, for $91,500 cash, my divorce settlement money. My only source of income
was my SS of $990 a month. I had no mortgage pmnt, but my HOA dues were $450 per quarter, plus property taxes and utilities. 2) I managed until 2008. That year I had a major spine surgery and major medical bills. I fell behind in my HOA dues by $1600. Over
a six month period the HOA had added about $7000-$8000 worth of their attorney's fees to my bill and they got a judgement against me in court for all of it. 3) I did not want to loose my home, so I got a reverse mortgage in the amount of $60,000. As life goes,
my youngest son (who - unbeknowst to me - had no medical insurance) became seriously ill and spent weeks in the hospital. I tried to "live in the light" and thank God that I had the money to make him well. But now I was broke AND had a big mortgage debt to
worry about. 4) My HOA ruined my life from here on, with threats, and deadlines, and letters from their lawyers. Finally, in 2009, I received a letter saying that the HOA had turned the matter over to the Sheriff. Within days, I signed a contract with a real
estate agent to sell my home. I sent copies of the agreement to sell to my HOA. They responded with a knock at my door - the Deputy Sheriff with a notice that I had three days to pay, or leave. 5) Four days later, another knock at my door. I found an "Eviction
Notice" giving me one week to vacate! I would never have believed that a person could be evicted from a home that they OWNED! 6) My property was seized and sold at a "so called" auction. I monitored the situation. There was no actual auction; the HOA purchased
my home for $7000!! They proceeded to rent it at over $1000 per month, for 4-5 YEARS!! Now here are my questions: I believed that when my property was SEIZED, the debt of $60,000 went with it. Imagine my surprise to get a call from The Bank of America in 2013,asking
me what was going on with MY property?! I told my story and they were horrified. They told me that the HOA could not just seize my property and use it as a revenue source, without properly disposing of the debt. The bank told me that they wanted to get me
BACK INTO MY PROPERTY! They were really on my side of the issue! Now, two years later, I receive a letter from the Bank of America saying that the debt on MY property had been forgiven!! BUT - GUESS WHAT?? For the first time ever, I decided to check my credit
report ... this has been ruining my credit rating for years!!! Can I sue the HOA, or their management company?? I was, after all, EVICTED from my home, lost everything, including my credit rating, while the HOA has been renting my unit and getting rent payments
for years!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do my very best to answer your legal questions.

If the HOA wrongfully took possession of your house, then you would certainly have cause to file a lawsuit against the HOA. You would likely be entitled to damages for wrongful eviction, negligence, trespassing, abuse of process, unjust enrichment, etc.

However, you do mention something that leads me to believe that the eviction may have been lawful: "Over a six month period the HOA had added about $7000-$8000 worth of their attorney's fees to my bill and they got a judgement against me in court for all of it."

That language indicates to me that the HOA enforced the lien against you. In other words, the HOA automatically has a lien on the property when dues are not paid. The HOA is not required to take action in order to have the lien. Instead, the HOA takes action in order to enforce the lien. This occurs when the HOA files a lawsuit and wins a judgment. Accordingly, by filing the lawsuit and winning a judgment, it sounds like the HOA enforced the lien against you. The result was that you were forced out and the property was sold at auction. Perhaps review the court's order to confirm this.

In any event, I strongly suggest that you retain a local attorney who can review everything for you in person, and then advise as to whether the HOA complied with the law or not. If not, then you would certainly have recourse, and the attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf. There are generally plenty of attorneys willing to provide a free initial consultation. You can find such an attorney by contacting your county's bar association and asking for a referral.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied.

Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello again. I didn't hear back from you, so I'm just checking in to make sure that you don't need more help on this issue. If not, then please remember to provide a positive rating to close out this question (and please remember that your positive rating is the only way that I'll get credit for helping you, so I greatly appreciate it). Thank you!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sorry for the delay in my response, TJ. I have a few more questions, if I may?
First, before they evicted me they definitely ramped it up by having the letters sent to me by their attorneys (believe it or, not, I have kept all the paperwork from this calamity). The attorneys threatened to have the Sheriff "seize" my property and sell it at a "Sheriff's Auction". The ten days before I was evicted I had two letters delivered to me by the Sheriff's office. These letters contained a deadline for me to pay the $7,500, or they would "seize" my property - not just evict me! Could you please help me to understand the difference between "evict" and "seize"? To me, "seize" implies stripping one of his/her ownership, while evict says a lease/contract has been broken and you cannot live there anymore. Would this explain why I never once saw the word "eviction" in any HOA letters, either from them, or their attorneys? Who did they think owned my property from the day I left, up until the Sheriff's Auction three months later????This question no one I know can answer. I obeyed the Eviction Notice in July 2010. The Sheriff's Auction was to take place three months later. I had moved to Colorado by then to live with family, but my best friend in the world owned the unit next door to mine and I kept calling her to get updates on any activity. My friend reported to me that the first sign of any activity in my old unit was about three months after I moved out. She saw all the workman in my old unit putting in new kitchen cabinets and appliances, new floors, new carpet, etc. A month, or so, after the work was finished a renter moved in. That is when I called the Town Clerk for some info. I found out that the HOA was the only bid at a Sheriff's Auction, and the HOA bought it for $7,500 (curiously the same amount of my debt to them). NOW COMES THE BIG ISSUE: I assumed that ownership also meant addressing and taking on the debt ... the reverse mortgage debt to Bank of America of approx. $60,000.IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when two years later, while visiting my daughter in New Hampshire (where my home was seized) the Bank of America located me and I received a call. They told me that since I no longer lived in my condo, the whole $60,000 reverse mortgage was due!!!!! I went through the WHOLE SAD STORY. They were horrified!! I spoke to a manager - several of them over the next few months - and each of them agreed that the HOA had unlawfully seized my home; that the HOA was negligent at not addressing the debt at purchase; and that they (the bank) were going to work to reinstate me in my home!! More importantly, they told me not to worry - that they would take over and solve the mess!Two years later, my friend who still lives next door to my old unit, tells me that the renter in my old unit came home one day to find out that Bank of America had "seized" my old home, barred the renter from the property, and had frozen out any new renters. I understand that the renter was furious and threatened to take the HOA to court. AND one month ago, I received a letter here in Colorado from the Bank of America, telling me that my reverse mortgage debt on my old home in NH had been discharged/forgiven! The terribly sad news was that I promptly looked up my credit rating and found that this outstanding debt in my column all these years has kept me from having the kind of credit rating I needed to recover.I am 69 years old now,TJ, and I have nine titanium rods in my back. Loosing my home was hard on me. Family in Colorado took me in, but I pay them rent and Social Security each month of $1000 is all I have to live on. If I were to talk to an attorney, I'm sure it should be a New Hampshire attorney? Thanks so much for your help and guidance. Barbara.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
TJ, I do hope you had an opportunity to review my additional questions regarding my real estate issue which I submitted to you Dec. 01 (above). I urgently need your opinions and response to this additional input. As soon as I see your response to this information, I will be glad to immediately conclude our discussion and rate your answer so that you can be credited with my payment. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you! Barbara
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello again.

I apologize for taking so long to reply, but I have been on vacation since December 1st. If you still need help with this please let me know.