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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in an HOA run community. Wow! I could hear the moaning and groaning all the way from here:p. Yup the good old HOA. The mini government that can (and does as often as possible) legally usurp the US Constitution, Federal and State laws. If I only knew then what I know now right?
Anyway I got a letter from the HOA attorney. In general terms this letter is a "fishing expedition" structured in a way that it makes the letter appear as if I factually owe $13K to the HOA for work that the HOA did in an area adjacent to my lot (and part of it as well) that is called an easement.
I am looking for advice as to how to best answer this letter. The letter is filled with misinformation and flat out erroneous information.
I'd be happy to pay an attorney for a consultation if this is the way to go but I'm also thinking I can fire my first salvo myself. My concern is a 15 day "pay up" date that the letter specifies prior to the HOA filing a lien etc.
Anyone have some basic legal suggestions as in "been there done that"?
Thanks
 

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Red X Angler
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Speak with a lawyer, who knows property law, he will file a "stay" on the proceedings ( I don't know the proper terms) until you figure it all out.
 

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I'm not providing legal advice, but experience has taught me....

Work by the HOA or authorized by an HOA can't be legally done without your notification. If you were not notified officially in writing, tell them to go pound sand....if you were notified, they are required to provide you with an itemized invoice, with dates, materials, and if you want to be a real horse's backside, certificates of insurance and bonding by those that did the work, with proof of coverage while the work was being done. The contractor is required to bill separately for all work done on individual properties, work can't be billed combined with other properties and the accounting done by the HOA, the contractor is required to do this. Last but not least, if the work was supposedly done on your behalf, you should be required to approve the work before anything is finalized. Then ask about the bid process....that being said, if you aren't paying HOA dues, they have no authority or jurisdiction over your property, especially if it complies with government code and regs.

At least that's the way it was where I live in 2008, your mileage may vary.

A lien means next to nothing, it can't be forcefully collected until sale of the property, and only then if it can be proved the lien is legitimate and still outstanding, and has been filed correctly.

Good luck,

Fishscalz
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all. These posts are outstanding and very much appreciated. I will clarify and detail the reason for the letter when I get to my laptop so as to save time and condense specific questions raised here.
I was never notified officially that this work was being done and I was never involved in any of the bidding, scope of work, etc processes. All the invoices for the work were submitted to, and paid by, the hoa. This is seeking reimbursement. It is an official letter and contains two invoices for the work.
I'd love to be able to post this two page letter for anyone interested to read. Is this allowed if you are were to somehow figure out how to post it. Needless to say I would blur all personal and business information and details. I could actually type the contents here. It isn't very long but I don't want to annoy anyone or do anything out of line in the eyes of the forum Admins.
Thanks

Sent from my SCH-R970 using Tapatalk
 

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Red X Angler
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so they are billing you for work you never agreed upon, and had no say in? I'd tell them what to do with their bill.. Sounds like a scare tactic. I'm not paying a penny.
 

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HOA

I can tell you that HOA's have very specific and powerful rights having served on the one that covers my neighborhood. There is a carefully worded, legally defined process that must take place before a special assessment can be levied. Typically, it involves formal notification of intent and a vote by the property owners. The very first thing I would do is obtain a copy of the Homeowners Association Charter and read every word carefully. Next, I would meet face-to-face with the president or a member of the board of directors of the association and speak calmly and professionally with them. Two other things you need to know: 1) If you refuse to pay a legally created special assessment, you have a good chance of a lien being placed on your property and 2) Legal action on the part of the property owner - or owners - could very well cost you far more than the assessment. I'll send you a PM with some other considerations.
 

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Red X Angler
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If it's an 'easement' then it's likely Town property. Call the planning department of the municipality and find out if it is. If that's the case the HOA should not be able to go after you for work done on that property.

After you get through this, move. Why anyone would want to pay an HOA in return for them telling you what to do is beyond me.
 

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Interesting read. I've bought and sold many houses. Any home in a subdivision, my first question is "Are there HOA fees?". If yes, I walk away. I no longer will ever look at a home in a subdivision. Neighbors are bad enough but I couldn't imagine dealing with a HOA? Best of luck to you. Really.
 

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I'm on the other side of the HOA rules.... I generally think they are a good idea. There are bad HOA's out there, but most are pretty reasonable... I'm a former HOA president. I know that' being in favor of HOA's is a very unpopular position, but they have their places.

That said... One piece on the topic at hand that an earlier poster had wrong....

HOA's can place a lein on your house, then FORCE SALE (auction) your house to collect the lein. It's a long slow process, but it CAN be done, and HAS been done in NC. Read up on this. I had to look up on this to deal with a scofflaw who refused to pay HOA dues and fines (the guy was a jerk, refused to admit that the HOA had power over him, and did things like clear cut the trees on his land in violation of town laws (unenforced) and hoa rules)....

You need a lawyer, and you need one quickly.

Keep in mind, most HOA boards are made of homeowners who don't really know what their powers are and don't know their limits. The professional companies that manage HOA billings (most communities have one) are very uneven in what they know and do. Some offer the board advice (sometimes good, sometimes bad), others are just rubber stamps for the HOA board.

Again, get a lawyer to look at the documents. If your company has a benefits program, one of the benefits is frequently an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) which offers you a free consultation and reduced rates for lawyers.

Documents to take to lawyer:
- Coveneants and provisions of HOA
- HOA contact information: Board members, management company, etc
- All documents related to current work
- Written dates of when you were notified of work, when you were notified that you would have to pay,
- Comments related to bidding process, etc

Good luck. I'd say you have about a 50/50 chance of avoiding this bill. I don't know enough about your particular situation to offer more advice. From your side of the story, it sounds like the HOA went off on a limb without discussing this with you. The HOA might have a different side.

Good luck.
 

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With all due respect, how is anything about these HOA's good? This is from the far outside looking in. But you have to pay to have someone tell you what you can and cannot do to property you own... Excuse me but I already am governed by the state and federal government I don't need another one.

What services do HOA provide? If a tree fell on my house that I couldn't cut down would the HOA come together and help me fix the roof? Or Nah?


So to be crystal clear.... I do not want to start an argument. Just looking for a simple answer.
 

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Red X Angler
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I can answer that. Many folks don't want to live in a community where neighbors are allowed to let their grass grow a foot high, have a bunch of old cars in their yards and they want a nice landscaped common area, swimming pool, etc. HOA fees pay for this stuff.

Personally I like the freedom of doing what I want, when I want on my own property. And my ******* neighbors can do what they want...dove hunt, target shoot, set off cannons on the 4th, abandon old cars on their property, whatever. America the way it should be. That's why I live here....

Sky Building Plant Snow Window
 

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I can see where some people would want to live in an HOA community. It isn't me though. One thing it would do is to protect your property value. At one time a land owner who owed property across from me was trying to start a hog operation, and a mobile home park before that. The only thing that kept him from it was the land would not pass for either. It would also depend on your income.
 
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