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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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HOA New Jersey - I am being fined violation that I cannot

Customer Question

HOA New Jersey - I am being fined for a violation that I cannot find in the governing documents. I am also being billed for repairs to a common area for damage I already repaired myself. Can my property be leined without taking me to court first in New Jersey?
Can they simply bill my account for common area damage? Should I pay the fines to avoid additional penalties and then proceed to small claims court?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

Thank you for using our forum. My name is ***** ***** I hope to assist you today.

Yes, the HOA can file a lien against your property for unpaid assessments or fines without having to first take you to court. (They can get the lien against your property without going to court, but to get any personal judgment against you they must file a lawsuit. They must also file a lawsuit to foreclose on the property in NJ).

If you want to pay the bill to avoid the lien, you can then sue the HOA for "declaratory relief" (the cause of action is 'breach of contract' and the relief that you are seeking is an order from the court requesting the return of your money and an order deeming their interpretation of the contract (the governing documents) is improper).

Alternatively, you can allow them to place the lien (keep your money) and sue them for breach of contract/declaratory relief/and a cause of action called "quiet title" to remove the lien (which creates a "cloud on title" to your property).

Check your governing documents carefully, you may be entitled to recover attorney's fees if you prevail in your action, which would make it reasonable to have an attorney represent you in this action.