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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 116727
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I am trying to negotiate a reduction for a Municipal Lien

Customer Question

I am trying to negotiate a reduction for a Municipal Lien against my property.
I am being charged a per day assessment of over $250.00, initially, there were a number of issues. We quickly addressed all but 1 of the issues to 100% compliance. The one remaining issue of the dock not being repaired by the due date has not been resolved. We had it fixed once, but it was inadequate and was further damaged by Hermine. The dock would have been fixed if we had the money. It was not due to indifference.
Presently, we are in negotiations trying to forestall foreclosure on the house in which we are living in another town. My husband’s previous employer was a medical practice in which he was a partner and which went under. He practically received no money for a year. Since then he has become an employee in another medical practice, which is also having financial problems and we are being paid only a part of the funds owed. As a result we have not had enough money to make mortgage payments, let alone to pay for a new dock, just enough for partial repairs. I check with the County and the waterway people, who have no problem with the dock as is. However, the city wants it in perfect condition.
The Lien is for over $120,000.00 and growing daily. There is no way that we can pay this.
If their goal was to get the work done, then they succeeded as soon as we were financially able to do it. If their goal is to be punitive then I think that’s abominable, and definitely prohibits us from making the necessary repairs.
I need to get legal counsel to advice us as to our rights and help with resolving this lien. I have no idea of what specialty of law, or reputation I need to get.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You will need a real estate litigation or land use attorney involved in this. Of course these lien penalties are ridiculous, but the only way to fight them most times is going to court, because the city always sees this as a windfall and the penalties are excessive and arguably amount to a taking without due process. So, typically the attorneys have to bring these cases to court and prove that the fee is not commensurate with the failure to repair, especially when the owner is making effort to repair and the failure to complete is not within their control or due to their negligence.

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