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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have 30 years legal experience. Additionally, in CA I held a Real Estate Broker's license.
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There was water damage in my home that was being fixed by

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There was water damage in my home that was being fixed by HOA vendors. The vendors caused more damage in my home and when I emailed the property' manager to tell him I received an email from the association attorney instead telling me no further work in my home would be authorized until the next board meeting. I was very confused at being responded to by an attorney and then responded back to him CC'ing the property manager asking if someone was going to come back to my house to see the damage. I had to be relocated during the repairs and the damages the vendors caused were extensive and were to my personal property. They damaged kitchen cabinets and granite. I then received a cease and desist letter , telling me j could no longer contact my property manager anymore. This seems completely illegal?if I can't contact my property manayor association that seems to be against cc&r and I have no idea why I would be responded to in that way. Now I am scared and intimidated. I've also heard from other homeowners that this is a common practice when things go wrong S s way of intimidating homeowners? I've also heard that many times out board had no idea that these letters are being sent. None of this seems like the right way to handle this type of ituation. There is not even a lawsuit. There was an accident and all that is necessary is for the contractor to come back and fix the damage they caused.
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state the association is in?
Customer: California
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No lawsuit.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No

Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today. I have been a CA licensed attorney for more than 3 decades.

First of all, the fact that the attorney sent a cease and desist letter is not binding on you. It is more of a request.

However, as you have initiated a claim for damages (yes, even if the HOA reps haven't seen the damage yet), that is likely the reason that the HOA attorney is involved. The HOA is a possible defendant in any action you might have to file to get your property repaired, and the attorney wants full control over the damage claim.

Given the way that you are being manhandled by the HOA and their lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you first file a claim for damages with your own insurance company to see if it is something that your homeowner's policy will cover, and if it is not, that you retain your own attorney to deal with the HOA and their attorney. You are playing nice and they are playing hard ball. You need to escalate your level of aggressiveness or expect for them to continue to abuse you and your rights.

And yes, you do have the right to communicate with your property manager, but the manager is not in charge of handling your claim and that is why they want nothing to do with it and have pushed the HOA attorney on you.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

If you have additional questions, you may of course reply back to me and I will be happy to continue to assist you further until your questions have been answered to your satisfaction.

Would you please take a moment to positively rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided by clicking on the rating stars---preferably 5-Stars. It is that easy. That is the way I am compensated for having helped you.

Thank you in advance. I wish you the best in your future,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
My question is more about the use and abuse of cease and desist letters as a form of intimidation on homeowners in HOA's. At the very least this has to be unethical? Is there any code of ethics for this type of behavior that a lawyer must adhere to? Is it a violation of my rights as a homeowner to threaten me in this manner? He made up allegations that I was harassing the vendors and members of the association as the basis of sending the letter. The letter states they will take civil action against me if I contact them. I have been dealing with this now for several months and I have gone past playing nice but it is my belief that the reason this attorney jumped on this so early on is that he is using our association for frivolous and unnecessary lawsuits where even if the HOA loses his legal fees are paid. That's why I'm actually trying not to enter in to a lawsuit but to go after the bond of the contractors of course he's trying to get involved on their behalf to get those rejected so that I have no choice but to sue the HOA. This is something that should've been resolved by the board at an HOA meeting. I brought estimates from contractors and when I tried to speak in open forum he put his hand up in my face and he clearly put the board on a gag order. I asked one of the members after what that was about and he said he told them not to speak as there was probably going to be a lawsuit. He completely made that up. I never said I had any intention of suing and always said I wanted peaceful resolution. I sent an email the night before the HOA meeting stating the same. This attorney violated my rights under the Davis-stirling Act on so many levels to try to force a lawsuit and he is using our HOA to cause unnecessary lawsuits. This also cannot be legal?My homeowners policy wouldn't cover their contractor's damage. It's their responsibility but honestly I think I had bad insurance and I have since switched. I think they should've and subrogated the claim back on the the HOA master policy.

Good morning,

You asked: At the very least this has to be unethical? Yes, of course it is unethical. You are simply proving my point that no one, ever, should buy a home in an HOA or a condo association----because this is exactly the sort of megalomaniacal operation of the associations that is so prevalent throughout the country.

Is there any code of ethics for this type of behavior that a lawyer must adhere to? No, there is not. This is simply an aggressive attorney representing his client. Abusive---sure, but perfectly legal.

Is it a violation of my rights as a homeowner to threaten me in this manner? You are learning how few rights you have as an owner in an HOA. No, this behavior is not a violation of any right you have. The HOA does not confer the right of civility on the member owners.

I asked one of the members after what that was about and he said he told them not to speak as there was probably going to be a lawsuit. Recall that I suggest that was the likely reason that the attorney became involved in the first place----you have the potential to file a lawsuit against both the vendor and the HOA for the damage caused---and they are fearful that you will do so.

Again, I believe that you really need to consider retaining a local community law attorney to assist you in dealing with the HOA. I wish you the best of luck.

You may reply to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I can address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you by clicking on the rating stars on your screen so that I can be compensated for helping you. I am not an employee of the site and I am only paid when you rate my service to you. There is no cost to you related to your rating my service to you. Thank you in advance.

I wish you and yours well in 2017,

Doug

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
What state agency is an HOA governed by in CA? Is it BRE?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
When you say "yes of course it is unethical " is there a specific code that can be referenced that attorneys must follow?

Hi,

An HOA in CA is simply (in 99% of instances) a non-profit corporation, and the corporation does not report to any state agency aside from the obligation of all corporations to file annual reports. But no, the CA Bureau of Real Estate has no control over HOA's.

When I wrote that the behavior was unethical, I was speaking not in terms of some violation of the CA Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys, but more broadly speaking. It is unethical for anyone to treat another person as you have been treated---but is it not a distinct violation of any law or code of ethics required of attorneys.

You may reply to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I can address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please do be sure to rate my service to you. Rating is accomplished by clicking on the rating-stars on your page. Rating me costs you nothing as you have already paid the deposit for my help, or you are a subscription customer already, and because I am an independent site expert and not a site employee, it is the only way I am paid for answering your questions. Thank you in advance for your positive rating.

I wish you the best in 2017!

Doug

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Are Property management companies governed by any state agency?

Hi,

Property management companies, per se, are not controlled by any state agency. The only relationship between a property management company and the state is that each company must have at least one licensed CA Real Estate Broker overseeing the operations of the company. The Broker must have a licensed issued by the state.

Here is a link to the state agency site that is in charge of investigating complaints against specific brokers: http://www.dre.ca.gov/Consumers/FileComplaint.html

Please rate my service. Thanks in advance.

Doug

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