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I’m in Pennsylvania. I filed for divorce and was granted…

Hello. I’m in Pennsylvania...

Hello. I’m in Pennsylvania. I filed for divorce and was granted said divorce in October 2014. Per the divorce decree I kept the house but was required to either refinance the house into my name or sell the property through a realtor or to a private party within 18 months. In February 2016 my HOA decided to sue me for HOA dues. Because of the divorce decree and not being able to refinance the house on my own I sold the property in September 2016 to my current husband. I sold it for roughly 80% of it’s fair market value which was what was owed to pay off the existing loan and did so because I did not want to be found in contempt of the divorce decree. The lawsuit for the HOA dues was found in favor of my HOA. I’m assuming their attorney attempted to put a lien on the house and couldn’t because my name is ***** ***** of the house. The attorney sent me a letter accusing me of fraud and is now saying he is going to sue both myself and my husband for fraud claiming I transferred the house with the sole intent to evade the debt which isn’t what I was trying to do at all. Does he have a legal claim against me or my husband?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?

No. The attorney is claiming he is going to sue me but hasn’t filed anything as far as I know.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a PA lawyer about this?

No.

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Answered in 41 minutes by:
3/21/2018
Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 8,916
Experience: 30 years of experience in General Practice, Real Estate Law and Estate Law.
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Welcome and thank you for your question. I will be the professional that will be assisting you.

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Was the closing of the house handled by a title insurance/escrow company?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
There was a title search done on the property and there were no liens listed. The attorney admits there were no liens on the property. He keeps insisting it was a “virtual lien” or something like that. All I know is the title search came back with no liens on the property.

I apologize. I did not word the question properly. Was there a title insurance policy provided to your husband?

A closing through a title/escrow company requires the HOA to sign off stating that no HOA dues are owed. This would have come up at a closing as the HOA would have stated that you were behind.

What the Attorney is referring to is a fraudulent transfer. This occurs when you know you owe money but transfer title without paying off debts that could attach (after the closing) as a lien on the house. It was a pending lien and money was owed.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I told the title company the house was in a development that had an HOA. They never asked me if I owed dues and I don’t believe they ever contacted the HOA to sign off on anything. The issue with the HOA suing me for the dues was that the HOA that sued me is not the HOA on the deed. Another property owner in the development created his own HOA and demanded I pay him the dues instead of the HOA listed on the deed.

Are you telling me that your deed to the property has no deed restrictions and therefore you are not a member of the HOA? Do you have a copy of your title when you purchased the home? Did your husband receive a title insurance policy when he closed the purchase from you as the seller?

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If there are no deed restrictions there can be no lien. The dues and any lien would be fraud.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The deed says the HOA of record is “The Wilderness Club.” The person who sued me created his own HOA and named it “The Bald Eagle Forest Wilderness Club, Inc.” and sued me saying I owed dues to that HOA but as stated, that’s not the HOA listed on the deed.
You are subject to an HOA. The HOA can change names after the developer turns over the HOA to the owners. Do you owe dues?
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
That’s just it. The developer has refused to turn over the HOA to the homeowners so one of the homeowners just created his own.
I have to question the validity of the one created on its own. You are subject to an HOA so if your husband received title insurance he would be covered. Did you ever pay dues?
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The first few years I paid dues to the person who sued me. The issue arouse when a new home owner figured out the person collecting the dues under his HOA was not the HOA on his deed. He contacted the person who runs the HOA listed on the deed (developer) and was told his HOA was the legal HOA and he wasn’t turning it over to the person claiming to have his own HOA. A bunch of homeowners then requested that the person with the fictitious HOA take legal action to legally take over the HOA on the deed. Many of us expressed concerns that until that was done the true HOA on the deed could sue us for dues and we would have no recourse or defense because the fictitious HOA might be considered voluntary. I said I refused to pay him any more money until the developer turned over the legal HOA to him or one of the other homeowners. He refused to do that and instead just sued all the homeowners that refused to pay him any more.
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
my husband paid for title insurance.
As homeowners you need to sue the developer to get the deed restrictions lifted. As the purchaser your husband would file a claim with the title insurance company if he were sued.
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The issue is that you have deed restrictions that must be lifted.
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Do you have a copy of the title policy that was issued to your husband?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I’m looking through the loan documents right now. All I’ve found so far is a notation that states “Title Policy free from encumbrances except items NONE of Title Report dated 06-12-2016 (“Title Report”).” And I also see where it says he was charged for Title-Lender Title Insurance to Access Abstract in the amount of $1,424 but I don’t see a copy of the actual insurance policy.
We can figure this out. I just need to see what we are dealing with as far as the deed restrictions. Can you call the title company and ask for a copy of the titir policy?
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I found the title insurance company. My husband is going to call to request a copy.
Perfect
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
How will getting a copy of the policy help? And how do I and my husband defend ourselves against his complaint that we committed fraud? I sold the property because I was ordered by the court to do so. My ex had even filed a contempt complaint against me a few months prior to the sale because it took longer than the 18 months to go to closing. I was court ordered by the judge to sell the house or else.

"How will getting a copy of the policy help? And how do I and my husband defend ourselves against his complaint that we committed fraud? I sold the property because I was ordered by the court to do so. My ex had even filed a contempt complaint against me a few months prior to the sale because it took longer than the 18 months to go to closing. I was court ordered by the judge to sell the house or else."

Your court order has nothing to do with HOA nor is the HOA bound by any court order between you and you ex-spouse.

The court order ordered you to refinance or sell the property, however, the court cannot forgive any legitimate debts that you may acquire. The court has NO jurisdiction over the HOA nor is the HOA a named party in your divorce,

Title insurance is like other insurance policies. Title insurance covers the purchaser's from any title matters that that come up with regard to the policy, such as an HOA, that may not be legitimate. If an action is filed against your husband the title company handles the court action based on the insurance coverage they provided to him.

As far as your liability the Attorney would need to provide that the HOA is legal and that you intended to defraud the HOA of money that you lawfully owed.

Seeing how the title company handled the HOA is imperative as they research the title and all legitimate claims against that may arise.

You have a separate and if a suit is filed you file a motion to dismiss based on the HOA's invalidity.

We cannot stop anyone from filing a lawsuit. The lawsuit must be in the merits or you will have it dismissed.

I can provide a link for local Attorneys in your area that provide FREE consultations that can review the HOA's standing and assist you in resolving the matter. If nothing is done this will remain an issue as there are deed restrictions recorded against the home.

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Creditors Aren’t Bound by Divorce Decrees. This would include the HOA.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
No, I’m not saying the HOA is bound by the terms of my divorce. I’m saying I was bound by the terms of my divorce and was not attempting to commit fraud.

I understand what you are saying. You still needed to pay the HOA regardless of the divorce. Your debts don't go away in a divorce. You are questioning the validity of the HOA. You will need to prove that a legal HOA does not exist. There may be help in the title policy to provide this. You would file a motion to dismiss based on an illegal HOA and deny the fraud.

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This will require some research by an Attorney. I was happy to take a look at the policy for you. You will need a local attorney to assist you if a law suit is filed. This is all contract law and the fake HOA needs to prove they have a legally binding contract with you. Where is the property located in PA?

I am not on this site to provide the answers we would like to receive. Personally I despise HOA's and believe they should all be dissolved. I have to provide the actual law to the customers as that is my ethical duty. Please don't shoot the messenger.

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Please do not hesitate to ask me any additional questions that you may have with regard to this matter. It would be my pleasure to continue to assist you. If you would be kind enough to rate my service positively so I will receive credit for my work from the site I would appreciate it. A positive rating will not impact your ability to obtain a refund. You may not be familiar with how the site works. The Attorneys to not receive credit from the site for their time or with customers unless the customer provides a positive rating. We answer your questions in good faith, hoping for a good faith response regardless of whether the law is in your favor or not. If you were unhappy with my service please let me know that you would prefer to work with another Attorney and I will opt out. Can you see the rating scale on your end, 5 stars? Thank you for your consideration.
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Do you have any additional questions for me?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Actually I do. I was looking up general stuff about lawsuits and debt collection. Was it even legal for the attorney to sue me over the HOA dues? I stopped paying back in 2008 when the issue first came up. He filed his suit against me in 2016. Is it against the law for a debt collector (in this case the attorney) to file a lawsuit for a debt that is beyond the SOL? Oh, and the actual dues were $103 dollars but they charged me an “annual” $50 late fee twice a year along with %18 interest. Would that be usury?

If the HOA is lawful there is no Statute of Limitations they are not a creditor under debt collection laws.

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It is not under debt collection laws. You are in luck. There is a limitation that has been added to HOA statutes.

"PA CODE

LIEN FOR ASSESSMENTS - 68 PA. CONS. STAT. § 3315

(d) Limitation of actions.--A lien for unpaid assessments is extinguished unless proceedings to enforce the lien are
instituted within three years after the assessments become payable." https://www.caionline.org/Advocacy/StateAdvocacy/PriorityIssues/PriorityLien/Pages/PA.aspx

This will not lift deed restrictions but may assist based on your last payment being made in 2008.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
68 PA Cons. Stat. 5315(e) and 3315(d) says there is a SOL on liens for dues of three years. Maybe this is my confusion. There were never any liens placed on the property nor did they ever attempt to place liens because the guy who made the HOA admitted at a meeting he was worried about engaging in fraud.

You are right based on the dates.

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I agree with you on this alleged HOA. If they file an action you would file a motion to dismiss. The issue is removing the deed restrictions. That is why I wanted to see if the title company found the HOA to be invalid or dissolved.

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Did the title policy insure over the HOA?

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Please ignore the pop up for premium services or any telephone call requests.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
We called to request a copy of the policy. I’m not sure how long it will take for them to mail us a copy of the policy. We did email the company as well but we haven’t gotten a response as of yet.

I would be curious. If they insured over the HOA they may have proof that the HOA/CC&R's have dissolved.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The disclosure states there’s an HOA on the deed and I assumed they contacted that HOA. Other than that there is no mention of any HOA in the closing documents. I know the one listed on the deed has a P.O. Box and lists the developer as the president. And not that it probably matters but the developer hired his own attorney and refuses to answer any questions the homeowners have.

Very interesting.

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You can check with the Secretary of State on the corporate status of the original HOA as well as the alleged HOA. Give me a moment to provide the link.

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I don't see anything for "The Bald Eagle Forest Wilderness Club, Inc."

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I don't see that the HOA threatening to sue you exists.

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Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 8,916
Experience: 30 years of experience in General Practice, Real Estate Law and Estate Law.
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I followed the link you provided and ended up with more questions than answers. I looked up the HOA as listed on the lawsuit. It says “Bald Eagle Wilderness Club, Inc.” That shows up on the link stating it began in 1991 and then nothing is reported until 2015 roughly six months prior to them filing the lawsuit. Yet I purchased my land directly from the developer in 2004 and my deed lists the HOA as The Wilderness Club. And look at the address listed when it was created. It doesn’t seem to exist.
I checked the name you provided initially. “The Bald Eagle Forest Wilderness Club Inc.”. I did not find that name on the Secretary of State site.
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I’ve looked up quite a bit this weekend. First, the reason for my question is because I was notified by the court (Webia or something) that the trial date was February 13, 2018. When I called to inquire about that date I was told there was no trial that day. I assumed someone had requested a continuance because it had been done numerous times prior. I never heard anything until I got the letter from the attorney saying he has his judgement. I got on Webia a few hours ago and it says the trial was February 13th but the judgement was entered February 12th. Would that be sufficient cause for me to file the motion?I’ve also found documents (CC and R) showing owners are only responsible for road dues although I was sued for road dues and sewer dues. I found a specific CC and R that states all sewer maintenance was taken over by the township in 1996. And I get and pay a monthly sewer bill from the township so I’m not sure how the HOA can charge “sewer dues” when the township was charging us for the same service.As to the association itself, the deed says “Bald Eagle Wilderness Club” is the HOA. Records show the HOA President created a corporation of Bald Eagle Wilderness Club, Inc. and listed Bald Eagle Wilderness Club and an AKA. On his Corporation it lists*****Camba (which doesn’t exist) and on the paperwork it lists a P.O. box in Cambra. The original address for the deed HOA doesn’t match the original address for the purported Corporation that is now claiming to be the HOA. It’s as if the current people running the HOA didn’t do it legally so they just made up a name almost identical to the name on the deed listing the true HOA as an AKA and then saying that gives them the right to sue.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Sorry... just realized that last paragraph made no sense in a way. The developer created an HOA “Bald Eagle Wilderness Club” listing a P.O. box in Cambra as the address. The homeowner who created his own HOA made a Corporation of the exact same name, added Inc. to the end and claims in legal documents they are AKA just Bald Eagle Wilderness Club which is the name on the deed. It’s confusing but I think they planned for it to be so confusing no one should question their authority to collect dues.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
the address used to create the new HOA Corporation is the address that doesn’t exist.
I am not sure I understand your question. Can you rephrase your question for me?
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
How can I find out if the original board members transferred the non-profit organization on the deed to the people who are now acting like they are the HOA?
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Nevermind my last question. I figured out exactly what they did. I used the link you provided to me earlier. The top one is the one on the deed and has the authority to sue me. The people who sued me filed the bottom one as a “fictitious name” and sued me pretending to be the top one.
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