Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Assessments Current But The Association Insists Assessments Are Past Due - Who Is Right?

What do you do when the association claims you are past due with your assessments and your records indicate you are current?   

Answer:  Address this immediately because the association can lien and foreclose on your property!  

Don't ignore that first Intent to Lien Notice!!  It will not resolve itself or go away.

You need to attempt to resolve this now before a foreclosure gets recorded because even if you win, it still shows up in the public records and court records and cannot be removed. 

Here's the things you need to check for:

The association is required to send you two copies of the Intent to Lien Notice and then, after filing the lien, two copies of the Intent to Foreclose Notice before foreclosing.  Each notice is sent by regular mail and certified mail.  Avoiding signing for the certified mail will do more harm than good because most judges will consider the mail received if you leave it unclaimed.
The notices are sent 45 days in advance for homeowner associations and 30 days in advance for condominium associations.

While you have a good defense if this procedure is not followed, you are risking losing your home.  Better to be proactive and get it resolved rather than waiting for a summons to be served by the sheriff.

Check to see if you were late.  If you were late with any payments, the HOA is entitled to the interest, late fees and attorneys' fees. So while you may think you are paid up to date, if you were ever late and only paid the assessment, you are past due because all the other charges are paid first and the HOA last.  Do not submit the assessment payment to the association thinking you can pay the interest, late fees and attorneys' fees later.  Once your account is with the attorney, you are liable for all of the charges.  State law protects the associations on this issue and provides for payments to be applied to assessments last.


If, after all these issues are considered, you still are certain you do not owe the additional fees, I suggest you pay what they are asking and then sue the HOA. If there is a property manager (CAM) and/or attorney involved, I suggest filing a complaint against their licenses if you are certain you were never liable for additional charges. It's not unusual for HOAs to stand firm even when they are wrong because they figure you can't afford to sue them (it is expensive). 


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