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Subject: HOA Reporting "Paid" Fees to Credit Bureau
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JayG5
(Georgia)

Posts:10


03/12/2019 7:47 AM  
New Builder in Georgia is now not only the Builder, but the Declarant and HOA. they changed the covenants that they are the declarant until Dec 2020 until the neighborhood is 100% complete 6-7 years from now. Builder has confirmed and I quote "The HOA hired a credit reporting company to help ensure people pay their dues. The company reports negatively for nonpayment and positively for those that pay on time."

My question is for those of us that pay on time, can they do that? How did they get our personal information such as social, especially since not everyone in the household they are reporting is on the house docs. They are reporting it as "revolving credit." HOA payments are not "credit" they are fees. now it looks like we "opened" a new account and have more revolving credit. Since now we are paying qrtly they report qrtly.

what "rights" to I have to fight this?

Thank you
Jay
JayG5
(Georgia)

Posts:10


03/12/2019 8:20 AM  
Actually I have found my answers. we have no rights.


https://www.sperlongadata.com/legal-memorandum-on-hoa-reporting

II. Conclusion


Based on the analysis below, HOAs and their management companies are legally permitted to furnish payment information to CRAs and there is little legal risk should they elect to do so under FCRA or the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.


https://www.sperlongadata.com/faq


Does Sperlonga need SSN's, dates of birth, or bank account information?


No, we do not need that information from you, the Data Furnisher, in order to produce credit reports files. Our API will not have access to that kind of information in a management company’s software system. The credit bureaus already have the owner information and accounts are connected via the property address and title information.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2667


03/12/2019 3:57 PM  
Well, yes, and no. The Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates credit reporting agencies like Transunion - the information they gather and distribute has to be fair and accurate and cannot be accessed by unauthorized people. The Fair Debt Collections Act regulates the behavior of third party collection agencies who've been hired to collect debts on behalf of another entity's behalf.

I seem to recall that Sperlonga was originally established to help HOAs collect delinquent assessments because they had trouble determining who had the mortgage and mortgage companies didn't always know the house they were foreclosing on was in a HOA and liens had been filed against the house. That's what our property manager was told years ago when we inquired about their services and I think I spoke to one of their representatives, as I was board treasurer at the time.

In looking at their website, it appears Sperlonga has now teamed with Equifax so HOA delinquencies will appear on one's credit record in the same way as missed credit card or car payments, thus affecting one's credit score. I remember asking about this back in the day because it seemed HOA delinquencies wouldn't hit one's credit report until after the homeowner was sued or a lien was filed, but if that process could be speeded up somehow, maybe the HOA would have a better chance of collection (why should someone be able to buy another car if they can't or refuse to pay HOA assessments).

In short, I would think if you're paying your assessments on time, there wouldn't be any impact on your credit report or at least it would make you look good. However, if the information is inaccurate, you do have the right to go to the credit reporting agency to have it corrected. You may want to order a copy of your credit reports (all of them - and you do get one free look every year) to see if this is showing up and how it's being reported - it might not be showing up as a revolving account at all (you're correct in that HOA fees aren't like credit card payments). Here's a link to additional information on the Acts and how to file a complaint - https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:772


03/12/2019 5:01 PM  
I would check with a lawyer in your area that specializes in credit repair, credit fraud. You mentioned that these entries are being reported as revolving credit, I would challenge that because HOA assessments are not revolving debt. originators of debt have an obligation to accurately report data to collection agencies and those agencies need to accurately report data to the CRBs.

Just my opinion, HOA assessments are not revolving debt, they're obligatory and should only be reported to the CRB upon default i.e. lien or foreclosure.

Sounds like your declarant is setting themselves up for a lawsuit.. My opinion is to set your home up to a trust or LLC so that way these things stay off of personal CBR.
JayG5
(Georgia)

Posts:10


03/12/2019 5:12 PM  

Great information thank you!

I am definitely going to do some additional research and see if there is anything that can be done. Essentially Sperlonga is gathering the personal information from the County Records and using everything but SS# to report the information.


SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2667


03/12/2019 5:48 PM  
Well, yeah - it's no different from what the credit card companies do. How do you think bankruptcies, liens and all that stuff wind up on one's credit report? If the information's good, I don't see an issue and if your credit application was shot down because of this, that's all the more reason you need to get clarity.

Before you scream "I'm gonna sue," read the credit report to see what it says. If your HOA fee is being reported as a revolving charge account that IS incorrect and the credit reporting agency should fix it. You should be able to file a complaint with Equifax or whomever and see what happens first. If they won't correct it, you can still submit a comment of your own regarding that account and it would have to be sent along with your credit report when it's requested.

And talk to the developer about this, if you haven't done so already - what did they say when you expressed your concerns?
JayG5
(Georgia)

Posts:10


03/12/2019 5:54 PM  
The developer has been tough to work with already so this just adds to the list.

Here is my concern

Assessments are not like loan payments or lines of credit – they aren’t used to purchase tangible assets. Furthermore, the homeowner must continue to pay for all HOA “services” No Matter What, even if the Association fails to deliver good service or completely neglects its duties. A consumer who is dissatisfied with services paid by credit card, on the other hand, can dispute the payment and avoid collections from the service provider. Property owners of Association-Governed Communities have no opportunity to withhold assessments and must pay under protest, then file suit in the civil court system in hopes of recovering their loss.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2667


03/12/2019 6:35 PM  
Such is HOA life. When you buy into a HOA community, you become an association member, and as a member, you're legally obligated to pay for maintenance of the common areas that you and all your neighbors own collectively. If you aren't getting the services you're paying for, you should be holding the developer accountable. It is a drag to pay and then duke it out in court, but my experience in consumer protection taught me the same thing can happen over airline tickets or replacement carpet, which you often pay with - a credit card.

The problem with developers is that as long as they run the show, the association documents (Bylaws and CCRs) and other policies will be written in a way that benefit THEM, which is what any business does. Once the community is turned over to the homeowners, the association board of directors (elected by homeowners like you) take over and then policies can be enacted, tweaked or tossed altogether, according to the documents. Sometimes, the documents themselves need to be reviewed by the association attorney to ensure they keep up with changes in state and federal law - that may be what will need to happen here.

You're correct that assessments are not like loan payments or lines or credit, BUT they do help to pay for maintenance and replacement of the common areas which you and your neighbors own jointly as members of the association - stuff like lawn care, clubhouse cleaning, street repaving or whatever else your assessments are supposed to cover. Indirectly, you are getting services, although the board, not you, hired the lawn care company.

As you know, when some people can't or won't pay their fair share, everyone else winds up indirectly subsidizing those who don't. The association board of directors (elected by homeowners like you) are supposed to oversee the operations of the association, so if they can't or won't do their job, it's up to homeowners to vote them out and put in people who will. Part of that supervision includes making sure EVERYONE pays assessments in full and on time.

I was board treasurer of my association for five of the 10 years I served and collecting delinquencies wasn't pretty - it was downright unpleasant, to be frank. The biggest thing that irked me was that the deadbeats (and we had quite a few) continued to get their snow shoveled, a new roof and trees pruned, but not pay anything, while the rest of us work every damn day to pay our bills like we were taught grown folks do. We are a townhouse community, so if you're delinquent, we couldn't refuse to clean your portion of the roof gutter for non-payment - that can impact the portion of the owners who do pay. Is that fair? You don't pay, but when I see you, you're driving a new car? If putting the smackdown on your credit report, or the threat thereof, will keep you from skipping out on your legal obligation, whatever works. I suspect that's why these companies came into being and have grown (capitalism and all that).

All that said, I agree with you that credit reports must be accurate and if yours isn't, you do need to file a complaint (the consumer protection division in your state would be a start).

JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:8650


03/12/2019 7:39 PM  
I say whatever we can do to collect from deadbeats is fair.
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