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I have a question regarding a dispute with my HOA regading a…

Customer Question
Hi, I have a...

Hi, I have a question regarding a dispute with my HOA regading a charge on my account

Lawyer's Assistant: Do you have copies of the governing documents? When were they last updated?

I don't have the copies

Lawyer's Assistant: Where is the property located?

It is in Maryland

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Yes, shall I type in my entire situation? in this chat

Submitted: 11 months ago.Category: Real Estate Law
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
My wife and I own a condominium in Laurel (Ann Arundel county) I wanted your advice regarding an ongoing dispute with my HOA.This dispute is regarding a $1246 charge on my account. Recently, the HOA changed the management company in January. After the change, the management company sent me my account statement with a prior balance of $1246. I was not sure as to what this charge was for as I have always paid my condo fess on time.I talked to the accounting department of the management company and they informed me that it was a charge carried over from the previous management company. However, they were not sure as to what this charge was for. They asked me to get in touch with the property manager of the HOA regarding this. I emailed the property manager, The property manager was not completely sure as to what this charge was for. She claimed that it could be for replacing sprinkler heads in the condos. However, as per the previous property management's emails, no sprinkler heads were replaced in my condo. I informed the property manager that no sprinkler heads in my condo were replaced. After my response to the property manager, I got an email informing me that the property manager has been changed and the new property manger will get back to me shortly. I emailed the new property manager. However, they did not respond to me regarding this issue any further.Recently, I got a letter from a law firm stating that they have been retained by the HOA to collect the debt I owe to the association. The letter states that it is an intent to create lien. The letter lists the $1246 charge on my account and the added attorney fees. The letter also states that I should pay this in the next 30 days or I should dispute the charge within 30 days in "writing". I called the law firm regarding this and asked as to what the charges were for. They asked me to send them a request asking for a verification/validation letter regarding the charges. Since, I was traveling I sent a letter via fax. The letter disputed the charges and asked for a verification/validation of charges. I was able to send the fax as per the law firm's consent on the phone. The letter was faxed to the law firm within the 30 days of the posted date on the law firm's letter.The law firm told me that they would get in touch with me shortly regarding this. I sent the fax on July 20th and then another fax on July 25th. In the meantime, the HOA management company blocked my account on their online system. Hence, I could not pay my condo fees for July. I was asked to settle this directly with the attorney's office. I have been waiting since July 20th. However, I have not received any response from the lawyer's office.At this point, I am not sure as to what should I do as the HOA is not accepting my condo fees and the attorney is not getting back to me. I had a couple of questions for you regarding this.1.) Does my fax, which I sent to the lawyer's office count as me disputing the charges in "writing".
2.) How long should I wait for the lawyer's office to get back to me.
3.) I am traveling right now and may not be able to attend my mail in a timely manner. Can I pay the charge directly to the lawyer's office and still keep disputing it. If the lawyer's office does not have sufficient evidence for the charge, can I apply the extra balance towards by future condo fees?
4.) Should I file a complaint with the consumer protection agency?
Answered in 9 minutes by:
8/5/2017
Real Estate Lawyer: Infolawyer, Lawyer replied 11 months ago
Infolawyer
Infolawyer, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 62,861
Experience: Experienced lawyer
Verified
Greetings! I am a legal expert on the site and am working on your question.1. Yes
2. 2 weeks
3. Yes but should reserve rights and claim it's without waiver of rights
4. I would hold off and see if can resolve first.Please let me know if that is acceptable and feel free to reply back and follow up
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Hi, thanks for the reply. I needed a couple of clarifications on your responses.For question #2, you responded 2 weeks. Does it mean 2 weeks in terms of business days?
For question #3, does your response imply that I should send a letter (after making a payment of the charges to the lawyer's office) and state that I still dispute these charges and I still reserve all my rights to dispute the charges and also claim my rights without any waiver of rights. Does that make sense?
Finally, my biggest issue is time. As I am traveling, I may not be able to monitor my mail through my friends. Hence, if by any chance I miss any mail and not respond on time, then can the lawyer's office move for creating a lien? If I run into this risk, should I just pay the charges and dispute the charges as per your response to question #3. Let me know your thoughts. thanks!
Real Estate Lawyer: Infolawyer, Lawyer replied 11 months ago
14 days.
Send a letter disputing and asserting your position.
Lawyer cannot impose a lien without basis. You can call and work it out as well.
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Real Estate Lawyer: Infolawyer, Lawyer replied 11 months ago
If concerned lawyer will not be reasonable you can pay reserving your rights and then contest it!
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Real Estate Lawyer: Infolawyer, Lawyer replied 11 months ago
Please let me know if that is acceptable and feel free to reply back and follow up
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Real Estate Lawyer: Infolawyer, Lawyer replied 11 months ago
Awaiting your reply, thanks
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Hi, thanks again. A couple of more clarifications.
1.) The lawyer states on the letter that I can pay the charges through his website via credit, debit or check. I checked the website. I can input my credit card or bank account info. The website takes me to a third party website. Once I make the payment, can the attorney's office deny that they never received a payment? What proof is acceptable to show I have made the payment?2.) Does the HOA have a right to stop collecting the condo fees? As I mentioned, they have blocked me from paying the condo fees through the online system and they are referring me to the lawyer's office.3.) My unit has been rented over the past 5 years. There was a small leak in the apartment 2 years ago. This was fixed by the condo HOA and was supposed to be charged to the neighbor upstairs. Before the work was conducted, the HOA had assured they won't charge me. I am guessing this could be a charge they possibly are trying to collect. This work was done in April 2015, i.e., 2 years ago. Do they still have a right to charge me for this now? Also, I have emails that state the they will take care of this.4.) In case this goes to the court for litigation, will you consider representing us. What are you fees for doing this? Also, can we claim your attorney fees through the litigation?let me know your thoughts.
Real Estate Lawyer: Infolawyer, Lawyer replied 11 months ago
1. There will be a record of the payment on both ends.
2. Bad faith refusal to collect is not permitted. Good faith waiver is.
3. Delay in charging is a waiver.
4. We cannot. martindale.com and findlaw.com are both excellent lookup directories. Both highly rated. Both used by lawyers. Easy to search and find local options.Please let me know if that is acceptable and feel free to reply back and follow up
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