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Subject: How to deal with the legal fee for not paying HOA fee enough, but it is because didn't receive the notice
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LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/25/2019 9:14 PM  
Hello,
I need some help on this issue:
I have a condo and I rent it out.
The HOA fee increased but I didn't get any notice, email, phone call, letter etc. Because I set up the auto pay via online Bank payment center. So every month the HOA fee paid but when it was increased, the balance started to happen.
Then, I still didn't get any notice about this issue including any bills or statement.
Someday, I got the third-party company's bill with my statement and their legal fees.
I explained it to HOA management company that I never refused to pay the HOA fee. However, they only replied to me, they will not receive my payment until I paid the total fee to the third-party company in full (including legal fee).

So, when I paid HOA fee again through any ways (without legal fee), they returned them back to me.

How should I resolve this issue?
Thank you for your attention.
Leanne
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9399


12/26/2019 4:09 AM  
How? Taking responsibility and paying attention to what your HOA does. Do not depend on autopay. Simply put you should be keeping up with your HOA instead of "calling it in" and assuming... HOA doesn't necessarily need to give you anything notifying you of payments. You are already on the hook for them when you join the HOA.

Sorry it may come off mean. It's just need to pay a bit more attention and be more involved in your HOA even if you don't live there.

Former HOA President
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9399


12/26/2019 4:47 AM  
Also should mention that since you rent out your condo, the dues are tax-deductible. They are NOT if you live in your HOA. You also may want to check with an accountant. The legal fee may also be tax-deductible. So can't feel too bad as it's something that may be able to be written off your taxes...

Former HOA President
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16798


12/26/2019 5:32 AM  
Leanne,

Sorry to hear about your issues.

Regarding the legal fees: Since this is a real cost to an Association, associations are likely unwilling to waive those fees. I know that this is not what you want to hear.

Regarding lack of notice: Unfortunately, this does happen. Having served as treasurer for my Association, it's next to impossible to keep track of mailing addresses for non-resident members. The reason for the missing notice could be files between boards or management companies didn't transfer properly to members moving and failing to inform the association to simple human mistakes. I took the extra time to see if the return address on the check changed to update our records. Bottom line, all the Association is required to do is send any notice to the property address unless notified by the member.

The fact that the issue has gone to collections typically means that the board is now out of the loop and all dealings are between you and the collection/legal company. Again, not what you wanted to hear.


My suggestions:

1) verify with the board/MC what address they have on file and correct it if necessary.
2) Request a meeting with the Board (not the MC).
3) At the meeting, which you attend in person, explain the issue. Explain that you understand that the association did incur legal expenses and ask that a compromise be reached. You will pay the legal fees and ask that the late charges be waived. (it's better then nothing).

Be prepared, the board may say no.
If they do, you will need to decide if you want to go to court (more expense) in the hope the court waives the legal fees to you or simply bite the bullet and pay all charges and fees in order to move on with life.


Lesson learned to all non-resident members, you still need to remain active enough to at least contact the board once a year (quarterly would be better) and learn how much the assessments went up or if the payment address has changed and verify they have your correct address on file. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a similar situation.

On a side note, Melissa made a good point, it's possible that all charges would be deductible (since you rent). Not a whole lot of offset, but some is better then none.

Again, I know this isn't what you wanted to hear.
Hope it helps,

Tim

GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 6:31 AM  
As a Board Member, I have seen this occur. One of two reason:
- address on file with the HOA or management company was NOT the owner’s address
- “I don’t even open mail from the HOA”

The net result is the Property gets to pay whatever they owe. The amounts build up, the fees get tacked on, interest is added over time. We turn over to the attorney, who adds fees, interest continues to accrue, lots of letters are sent, some require receipt signature and these do go to the owners address because the owner has now paid the attorney to find out where they live, then notice of intent to lien, then lien, and if no action taken by the property owner, intent to foreclose and then foreclosure.

We last had a circumstance that went on for three years ... balance crept up to $3400 on an annual $600 assessment. Property owner kept wheedling to have the association write off half of it. Finally said she would sign an Non Disclosure Agreement not to tell anyone in the community if we forgave $2000 of what she owed - all via our attorney she was, in effect, paying to collect for us. The Board refused, she paid a few days later. She came to a Board meeting 30 days later and wheedled in front of the Board and members to get the interest she had paid back, then asked if she could apply the interest she had paid to next year’s assessment. Obvious no answer.

Any property owner who ignores their HOA responsibilities, ends up paying.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 6:40 AM  
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/25/2019 9:14 PM
Hello,
I need some help on this issue:
I have a condo and I rent it out.
The HOA fee increased but I didn't get any notice, email, phone call, letter etc. Because I set up the auto pay via online Bank payment center. So every month the HOA fee paid but when it was increased, the balance started to happen.
Then, I still didn't get any notice about this issue including any bills or statement.
Someday, I got the third-party company's bill with my statement and their legal fees.
I explained it to HOA management company that I never refused to pay the HOA fee. However, they only replied to me, they will not receive my payment until I paid the total fee to the third-party company in full (including legal fee).

So, when I paid HOA fee again through any ways (without legal fee), they returned them back to me.

How should I resolve this issue?
Thank you for your attention.
Leanne




Time for an "accord and satisfaction".

Give the HOA written notice that you disagree with payment of any amounts other than dues.

Separately, send a check for payment of just the dues. Mark the check "paid in full".

Figure out a way to get that to the HOA and for the HOA to accept it. I'm not sure if it suffices if you deposit the check in the HOA's bank account yourself, but it might.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 6:54 AM  
Nonsense.

This property owner owes the HOA, and the HOA should follow their procedures and collect accordingly.

I would never allow what Paul is recommending to happen in my community.

Frankly, more and more interest will build up, with additional fees for the property owner to pay.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 7:11 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 6:54 AM
Nonsense.

This property owner owes the HOA, and the HOA should follow their procedures and collect accordingly.

I would never allow what Paul is recommending to happen in my community.

Frankly, more and more interest will build up, with additional fees for the property owner to pay.




I've successfully done it to a HOA.

It was the HOA's decision to incur legal costs. That could have been avoided by a more proactive outreach to the owner, or by the HOA having negotiated a fixed fee for legal services. Why should the owner bear the burden of a heavy-handed HOA?
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 7:14 AM  
Dear Paul,
Thanks for your response.

1,I did have written notice to both of them (HOA and third-party company) that I didn't agree to pay legal fees. Because I have never refused to pay HOA even increased HOA (the HOA fee increased more than 10% every year, and the increase action not happened by year. Only in 2019, they increased two times and I never got any noticed for those. So the partial payment caused by without notice. If they tell me how much should I pay, I will pay in full.)

2, I have two condos in the same community, and the same issue on these two properties. After I got the first notice(bill) from third-party, I have paid in full (except for the legal fee) with bank check. One of them was returned, the other one was accepted, I don't know why, maybe two teams dealt with it. After 3 month, HOA increased again, new balance happened on these two properties. No any notices about the new price, how could I know I should pay more? However, new legal fee was added!

3, Before Christmas, I paid in person with check, all the fees without legal fee. But the HOA didn't accept, and third-party company accepted them but then mailed them back.

I don't know if all other companies(gas, water, clinic etc) know this method, that is they would not tell you how much should you pay. but only wait for your late or partial payment, then give your statement to a third-party to send you instead of themselves, then you have to pay third-party company a lot of money called legal fee! Why other companies didn't do that but only late fee, and at least send a notice, is it right?

How much would be earned by those third-party companies. Send the notice and statement is the responsibility of HOA, but why they can hire third-party to do that?

I am sure HOA has my fully correct address and email address. I got a lot of meetings or events information from email.

It happened in Maryland, Silver Spring.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 7:29 AM  
Paul is obviously not aware of the purpose of this forum.

As President, following up to ensure owners like the OP pay their assessments, and fees associated with their failure to pay on time, is one of my responsibilities. I take this seriously. The OPs attempt, and the ”assistance” provided by folks like Paul, makes it harder, but our attorney helps - and gets paid with the OP’s money to do so.
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 7:29 AM  
Hi Paul,
When I read other people's feedback, they seem like all come from HOA. I felt oh no, this forum is only for educating the owners, America has no justice! Until your response! Thank you very much!

I am thinking that I would like to go to court than pay the legal fee, because it is unfair!

I totally agree with your point. Only a notice or a bill statement, is it hard?
The question is how to persuade them. Could you please give me more suggestions?

If those conflict with the rule of this forum, my email address: [email protected]
Thank you again!
Leanne
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 7:31 AM  
Hi Paul,
I paid on time!!
But when HOA increase secretly, how do you know that?
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 7:34 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 7:29 AM
Paul is obviously not aware of the purpose of this forum.

As President, following up to ensure owners like the OP pay their assessments, and fees associated with their failure to pay on time, is one of my responsibilities. I take this seriously. The OPs attempt, and the ”assistance” provided by folks like Paul, makes it harder, but our attorney helps - and gets paid with the OP’s money to do so.




Sorry for my last message by mistake, I am a new bird here.

Hi George,
I paid on time!! I am afraid of late or forget, I set up autopay!
But when HOA was increased secretly, how do you know that?
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 7:39 AM  
“A positive place for community association leaders to share ideas and learn. A forum for Community Association Boards and Other Volunteers to discuss topics concerning their association duties.”

This is clearly shown at the top of every webpage.

Does this sound like the right forum?

Interestingly, those of us on Boards do learn from folks like the OP, but it is from their stories ... like this story.

Many herein even seem to hate HOAs, but correspond on the site for entertainment ... or, to get even with past Boards who they believe wronged them.
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 7:43 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 6:54 AM
Nonsense.

This property owner owes the HOA, and the HOA should follow their procedures and collect accordingly.

I would never allow what Paul is recommending to happen in my community.

Frankly, more and more interest will build up, with additional fees for the property owner to pay.





George,

Oh, you mean, when you manage your community, you only increased your HOA secretly, and then balance happened, then you do nothing but hire an attorney to send the bill instead of your staff?
And this attorney can earn money from your clients, is it right?
Why don't other companies use this method to get money back? It will create more job opportunities on attorney.


This property owner owes the HOA-------Why I owes the HOA??? Do you know the reason? or you don't want to hear the reason, only want to charge your client more money.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 7:43 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 7:39 AM
“A positive place for community association leaders to share ideas and learn. A forum for Community Association Boards and Other Volunteers to discuss topics concerning their association duties.”

This is clearly shown at the top of every webpage.

Does this sound like the right forum?




Yes, this is the right forum for this discussion.

This is a situation where some flexibility and human sense needs to be shown by the HOA.

Clearly the owner paid on time and was paying. Clearly it was just a glitch--the owner didn't update auto-pay to pay the correct dues.

This could have been solved by a friendly phone call from the property manager to the owner, and the HOA could have then been paid its dues in full, on time.

But the HOA got a lawyer involved and ran up legal fees? Really?

If the HOA can exercise its legal rights against an owner, my guidance to an owner- to exercise all of her legal rights in return- is totally justified.

This is heavy-handed, over-the-top behavior by an HOA and the owner should not give into it.

HOA boards don't like being held accountable by heavy-handed actions by owners, and so they shouldn't expect to be able to be heavy-handed towards owners without resulting in owner resistance.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16798


12/26/2019 7:50 AM  
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 7:31 AM
Hi Paul,
I paid on time!!
But when HOA increase secretly, how do you know that?





Increase secretly? Doubtful.

Failure to read Association newsletter? perhaps.
Mailing address incorrect? perhaps
Mail received and not opened? perhaps.
Mail received and set aside to act upon later and forgot? perhaps.

Per Leanne, this has happened in the past.

Per Leanne, she receives notices of meetings.
Has she attended annual meetings where the budget is discussed? unknown.

Per Leanne, she is sure that the Association has her correct mailing address.
However, she doesn't mention receiving mail from the association, only email.
Typically, assessment info and late charges are sent via USPS.
Strongly suggest that Leanne verifies the Association actually has her correct email.


Congrats Paul, Leanne found the answer she was looking for.


The advice you offer and the methodology Leanne shared wouldn't fly in my Association.
Additionally, since it has happened in the past, if I were on the board, I would recommend zero waivers and to leave it in the hands of legal.

GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 7:51 AM  
Nah.

More silliness.

While this association may not be a large one, imagine treating every owner in this manner ... this post immediately popped my red flag as an OP who had ignored their responsibilities ... and, was attempting to avoid taking responsibility.

On our Board we would say we are very sorry, but that the amounts the owner are responsible for must be paid. This is also a great way to ensure everyone else in the community ignoring their responsibilities gets the word. Sadly, as an example.

Do we make exceptions? Sure. But not when it is clear the failure was with the owner.

Your bank would not buy the excuses, the gas station, the credit card company, the grocery store, etc ... why should the HOA?

But, again ... back to the PURPOSE of this forum.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1042


12/26/2019 7:52 AM  
Yes, a notice is hard if the non-resident owner fails to inform the HOA of their address. (My association's CC&Rs state point blank that keeping the HOA informed is the non-rsident owner's responsibility.)

Is the HOA supposed to employ a service to track down people when the mail comes back undeliverable? This costs money. Should the rest of the community pay for this, or any other collection costs resulting from people not paying their assessments? That's hardly fair to those who pay and who live up to the rest of their obligations as members of the HOA.

In fact the board has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the HOA, and waiving fees incurred as a result of collection actions is putting the interest of that one owner ahead of the rest of the community. A responsible board would have a hard time justifying such an action.

Owning rental property is a business. The owner has work to do in order to earn the money resulting from it, and should not expect others to do the work for them.
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 7:58 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 12/26/2019 7:50 AM
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 7:31 AM
Hi Paul,
I paid on time!!
But when HOA increase secretly, how do you know that?





Increase secretly? Doubtful.

Failure to read Association newsletter? perhaps.
Mailing address incorrect? perhaps
Mail received and not opened? perhaps.
Mail received and set aside to act upon later and forgot? perhaps.

Per Leanne, this has happened in the past.

Per Leanne, she receives notices of meetings.
Has she attended annual meetings where the budget is discussed? unknown.

Per Leanne, she is sure that the Association has her correct mailing address.
However, she doesn't mention receiving mail from the association, only email.
Typically, assessment info and late charges are sent via USPS.
Strongly suggest that Leanne verifies the Association actually has her correct email.


Congrats Paul, Leanne found the answer she was looking for.


The advice you offer and the methodology Leanne shared wouldn't fly in my Association.
Additionally, since it has happened in the past, if I were on the board, I would recommend zero waivers and to leave it in the hands of legal.





Quick response to the key point.
Per Leanne, she is sure that the Association has her correct mailing address.---Yes, when it happened, I have double checked it.
However, she doesn't mention receiving mail from the association, only email.
Typically, assessment info and late charges are sent via USPS.------Even the attorney letter is only a flat letter! I opened letters everyday, so I am sure it!
Strongly suggest that Leanne verifies the Association actually has her correct email.---I did.
CD6
(Texas)

Posts:29


12/26/2019 8:03 AM  
Once it is turned over to an attorney or collection agency, we cannot accept any form of payment.
This is after a postcard in Feb to all property owners with the amount of the annual assessment.
The actual assessments go out in mid-April and are due from May 1 to June 9 (FY is May 1 to April 30).
All non-paid property owners get an invoice and statement mailed to their last known mailing address on June 10 and July 10.
We mail a 60 day notice of intent to place a lien in 60 days on Aug. 10 and a certified notice of intent in 30 days on Sept. 10.
Liens are placed on Oct. 10 without fail.
We place notices on our websites front page as well as on three bulletin boards throughout the HOA.
I don't think the raise was done "in secret" but who knows.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 8:04 AM  
Posted By TimB4 on 12/26/2019 7:50 AM
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 7:31 AM
Congrats Paul, Leanne found the answer she was looking for.


The advice you offer and the methodology Leanne shared wouldn't fly in my Association.




Accord and satisfaction happens frequently. All it takes is a property manager who accepts a check.

Leanne, I am not saying that you're blameless here. When HOA dues go up, it's usually clearly communicated, and it's each owner's obligation to increase the auto-pay amount.

My objection is to the HOA's heavy-handedness.

Plenty of companies have bills that are paid by auto-pay, and regular required payments go up. Newspapers, Internet companies, phone companies, utilities, etc.

In the past, I haven't updated auto-pay, or my credit card expired, or something else happened that resulted in the auto-pay not working correctly at some point. But none of those companies, in my experience, have ever hired a lawyer and incurred legal fees to get the auto-pay issue fixed. They usually just call me (at work) to ask me to update the auto-pay and pay back amounts that are outstanding. So I do it, and the problem is solved.

That's how the HOA should have handled this. I am a lawyer, and I know that calling in lawyers will result in bitterness. The HOA should have just called the OP and asked her to update the auto-pay, and she would have.

If she had been involved in a dispute with the HOA and hadn't paid due to that, I could see calling in a lawyer. But that's not the situation here (at the time of the original nonpayment).

This is yet another example of why people hate HOAs: heavy-handed tactics that another business wouldn't do.
AugustinD


Posts:3461


12/26/2019 8:05 AM  
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 7:14 AM
I am sure HOA has my fully correct address and email address. I got a lot of meetings or events information from email.


Hello LeanneM1, I am sorry for all the trouble this is causing you. Of course, it is also causing difficulties for the HOA. I think the right thing to do is contact the condo's management. Ask for the approximate dates when the assessment increases were announced, and how this information was communicated to members. Try to confirm whether in fact you did receive an announcement. You say you did not. But if the HOA has documentation that these increases were well-publicized to the membership, then I think you are stuck paying the legal fee. If this documentation in fact does not exist, then I will offer more suggestions.

For now, I suggest Leanne continue to try to pay just the assessment owed, and not any other fees.

Leanne, If the condo is outright rejecting any of your payments, document this carefully. This is an enormous, stupid blunder on the condo's part.

LeanneM1 said the assessment was increased twice in 2019. If this condo's fiscal year is different from the calendar year, I can see this happening. Else I wonder whether the Board knows what it is doing.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 8:06 AM  
Correcting the formatting of my post:

Accord and satisfaction happens frequently. All it takes is a property manager who accepts a check. I'm sure my HOA said that accord and satisfaction wouldn't work with it...but I successful did one.

OP, I am not saying that you're blameless here. When HOA dues go up, it's usually clearly communicated, and it's each owner's obligation to increase the auto-pay amount.

My objection is to the HOA's heavy-handedness.

Plenty of companies have bills that are paid by auto-pay, and regular required payments go up. Newspapers, Internet companies, phone companies, utilities, etc.

In the past, I haven't updated auto-pay, or my credit card expired, or something else happened that resulted in the auto-pay not working correctly at some point. But none of those companies, in my experience, have ever hired a lawyer and incurred legal fees to get the auto-pay issue fixed. They usually just call me (at work) to ask me to update the auto-pay and pay back amounts that are outstanding. So I do it, and the problem is solved.

That's how the HOA should have handled this. I am a lawyer, and I know that calling in lawyers will result in bitterness. The HOA should have just called the OP and asked her to update the auto-pay, and she would have.

If she had been involved in a dispute with the HOA and hadn't paid due to that, I could see calling in a lawyer. But that's not the situation here (at the time of the original nonpayment).

This is yet another example of why people hate HOAs: heavy-handed tactics that another business wouldn't do. And if a HOA chooses war, there's nothing wrong with defending yourself by exercising your legal rights.
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 8:06 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 7:51 AM
Nah.

More silliness.

While this association may not be a large one, imagine treating every owner in this manner ... this post immediately popped my red flag as an OP who had ignored their responsibilities ... and, was attempting to avoid taking responsibility.

On our Board we would say we are very sorry, but that the amounts the owner are responsible for must be paid. This is also a great way to ensure everyone else in the community ignoring their responsibilities gets the word. Sadly, as an example.

Do we make exceptions? Sure. But not when it is clear the failure was with the owner.

Your bank would not buy the excuses, the gas station, the credit card company, the grocery store, etc ... why should the HOA?

But, again ... back to the PURPOSE of this forum.





"On our Board we would say we are very sorry, but that the amounts the owner are responsible for must be paid. This is also a great way to ensure everyone else in the community ignoring their responsibilities gets the word. Sadly, as an example."
------The amounts the owner are responsible for must be paid. Definitely, I was, is and willing before I sell it out. But I should know how much, ok?
After this issue, I will sell them out without hesitation!

"Your bank would not buy the excuses, the gas station, the credit card company, the grocery store, etc ... why should the HOA?"---It's funny, no excuses to pay gas.. credit, grocery store..........of course, but who charge me the attorney fee, before they let me know how much should I pay?
AugustinD


Posts:3461


12/26/2019 8:09 AM  
Posted By PaulJ6 on 12/26/2019 7:43 AM
Clearly the owner paid on time and was paying. Clearly it was just a glitch--the owner didn't update auto-pay to pay the correct dues.

This could have been solved by a friendly phone call from the property manager to the owner, and the HOA could have then been paid its dues in full, on time.

But the HOA got a lawyer involved and ran up legal fees? Really?

If the HOA can exercise its legal rights against an owner, my guidance to an owner- to exercise all of her legal rights in return- is totally justified.
Barring more information, I am in firm agreement with what PaulJ6 wrote above and much else that he posted here.
AugustinD


Posts:3461


12/26/2019 8:39 AM  
LeanneM1,

-- the Maryland Condominium Statute permits your Condo Board to do the following: "To impose charges for late payment of assessments and, after notice and an opportunity to be heard, levy reasonable fines for violations of the declaration, bylaws, and rules and regulations of the council of unit owners, under § 11-113 of this title;" See Section 11-109 (d)(16) at https://sos.maryland.gov/Documents/CondominiumBooklet.pdf . Before the fines and other fees started building up, were you given a written notice of "an opportunity to be heard"?

-- Was the total increase for the year over 15%? Has the board complied with the following from the Condominium Act? "(d) Certain expenditures in excess of 15 percent of budgeted amount to be approved by amendment. — Any expenditure made other than those made because of conditions which, if not corrected, could reasonably result in a threat to the health or safety of the unit owners or a significant risk of damage to the condominium, that would result in an increase in an amount of assessments for the current fiscal year of the condominium in excess of 15 percent of the budgeted amount previously adopted, shall be approved by an amendment to the budget adopted at a special meeting, upon not less than 10 days written notice to the council of unit owners."
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 8:40 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/26/2019 8:05 AM
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 7:14 AM
I am sure HOA has my fully correct address and email address. I got a lot of meetings or events information from email.


Hello LeanneM1, I am sorry for all the trouble this is causing you. Of course, it is also causing difficulties for the HOA. I think the right thing to do is contact the condo's management. Ask for the approximate dates when the assessment increases were announced, and how this information was communicated to members. Try to confirm whether in fact you did receive an announcement. You say you did not. But if the HOA has documentation that these increases were well-publicized to the membership, then I think you are stuck paying the legal fee. If this documentation in fact does not exist, then I will offer more suggestions.

For now, I suggest Leanne continue to try to pay just the assessment owed, and not any other fees.

Leanne, If the condo is outright rejecting any of your payments, document this carefully. This is an enormous, stupid blunder on the condo's part.

LeanneM1 said the assessment was increased twice in 2019. If this condo's fiscal year is different from the calendar year, I can see this happening. Else I wonder whether the Board knows what it is doing.




Hi Augustin,
I have written to them and let them show me the documents or any proves. No response, only HOA replied that I should contact the attorney and the attorney replied you should pay in full (including legal fee). Nothing else.
But I will do others. I would rather go to court but pay the legal fee.
Thank you.
Leanne
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 8:42 AM  
I still haven’t heard why the owner did not get the updated assessment information/letter ... was the information/letter going to the wrong address? To the rental unit address?

If the HOA is at fault, it should be easy to show ... so, go to court, if needed and show it.

If the property owner did not keep their address updated?
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 8:45 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 8:42 AM
I still haven’t heard why the owner did not get the updated assessment information/letter ... was the information/letter going to the wrong address? To the rental unit address?

If the HOA is at fault, it should be easy to show ... so, go to court, if needed and show it.

If the property owner did not keep their address updated?




I still haven’t heard why the owner did not get the updated assessment information/letter-----This is the key point, I also want to know.
AugustinD


Posts:3461


12/26/2019 8:51 AM  
Any condo association that lets money owed by members, who have set up automatic withdrawal and have dutifully paid their assessments in the past, build up, to the point that a collections attorney or agency is involved, has blithering idiots on its board and for management. The attorney, collections agency and ultimately, court costs will more likely than not result in the condo getting substantially less of what it was owed, not more. Paul is right that the management of this HOA should have picked up the phone and called the owner. As much trouble as this might be for a large condo association, it would have saved enormous expense.
AugustinD


Posts:3461


12/26/2019 9:08 AM  
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 8:40 AM
I have written to them and let them show me the documents or any proves. No response, only HOA replied that I should contact the attorney and the attorney replied you should pay in full (including legal fee). Nothing else. But I will do others. I would rather go to court but pay the legal fee. Thank you. Leanne


Leanne, I would start a notebook that documents every email, every snail mail, and every phone call you have with the HOA. I would write a letter to the board as follows:
-------------
Dear Board,

Would you please send me a copy of the announcements of the two assessment increases for 2019? With the greatest respect, I do not recall seeing any announcement in my snail mail or email.

Also I respectfully request a copy of the notice that it appears the Association was required to provide me before imposing fines and fees. I understand this notice should have offered me an "opportunity to be heard," pursuant to the Maryland Condominium Act, Section 11-109 (d)(16) .

As the manager may be aware, I have paid my dues by auto withdrawal from my bank account for some time, and always on time. There was certainly no intention not to pay what was owed.
Thank you,

Leanne ___
Unit ___
____ Condominium Association
[mailing address]
[phone number]
[email address]
-----------------

Send the letter to the HOA manager certified mail, return receipt requested.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 9:08 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/26/2019 8:51 AM
Any condo association that lets money owed by members, who have set up automatic withdrawal and have dutifully paid their assessments in the past, build up, to the point that a collections attorney or agency is involved, has blithering idiots on its board and for management. The attorney, collections agency and ultimately, court costs will more likely than not result in the condo getting substantially less of what it was owed, not more. Paul is right that the management of this HOA should have picked up the phone and called the owner. As much trouble as this might be for a large condo association, it would have saved enormous expense.




Exactly.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9543


12/26/2019 9:14 AM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/26/2019 8:51 AM
Any condo association that lets money owed by members, who have set up automatic withdrawal and have dutifully paid their assessments in the past, build up, to the point that a collections attorney or agency is involved, has blithering idiots on its board and for management. The attorney, collections agency and ultimately, court costs will more likely than not result in the condo getting substantially less of what it was owed, not more. Paul is right that the management of this HOA should have picked up the phone and called the owner. As much trouble as this might be for a large condo association, it would have saved enormous expense.




I agree.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 10:20 AM  
Some thoughts:

"I've successfully done it to a HOA. " - from Paul and his usual looking for angles or going legal ...sounds negative? Doesn't sounds like the purpose of this forum, does it?

And then several objecting to heavy handedness ... sounds more like process and that Leanne MAY be whining because her lack of attention to her business is costing her money. And, then only interested because an attorney is involved and it is gonna cost even more?

This is apparently a business - initial post was a single condo, then later two condos?

Assessment increases in secret? All the other owners didn't know, either? Believable or red flag stuff?

If this has been turned over to the COA attorney for collection - how many letters were written by the COA, how many postings were there on the walls in the condo (not seen by this poster), minutes from Board meetings posted if there is a website? Again, perhaps sent to the condo address because owner didn't provide address to the management company? I think all this will come out - in court, or mediation, then, if OP will let us know what happened it will be instructive.

Again, the PURPOSE of this site - "A positive place for community association leaders to share ideas and learn. A forum for Community Association Boards and Other Volunteers to discuss topics concerning their association duties."

"I've successfully done it to a HOA." Seriously, Paul?

Leanne - please let us know!
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 10:54 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 10:20 AM


"I've successfully done it to a HOA." Seriously, Paul?





Yes. I have done so.

Leanne, please note that accord and satisfaction is a defense, meaning that it wipes out an alleged debt, but it's just a shield that you can use when the HOA keeps coming after you.

George21, when the owners of this board confirm that have appointed you as the arbiter of what's appropriate for this forum, I'll listen to you. Until then, other than my response above, I will ignore you. So please keep venting at me; I'll ignore you.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 11:11 AM  
So, Paul, you are saying directly and clearly, and repetitively, that you are not following the rules of this group?

It will be increasingly easy for me to quote your positions to those posting, noting you are not complying with the rules of the forum.

Further, I will try and methodically show, each time, how following your advice may cost them a lot of money.

I will point out to you, as I have to many posters who post herein to avoid the rules of and destroy their Associations, that you are on the wrong website. There are other websites that run down POA/HOA/COAs - you should go there - no one will complain about your behavior.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 11:20 AM  
GeorgeS21, I see your name by the left-hand side of the thread, in the message below my last one.

I ignore you. I'm not interested in fighting online. Fighting online is beneath people on this board, in my view. If you wish to do so, you may, but I ignore you.

Thanks.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 11:26 AM  
You may do so, but when I note your comments wrt the purpose of this website, and how antithetical this is, and how following your comments may cost property owners money, I hope they will listen.

Recall, again, this started when you refused to abide by the stated purpose of this website.
NicoleC5
(Arizona)

Posts:23


12/26/2019 11:32 AM  
Hi Leanne,

Sorry to hear about your situation. Often times the management companies are not helpful and use this tactic as a way to generate more fees.
I did not read all the responses but my solution would be to start creating a record of what is going on. Send an email and certified letter to the management company and your BOD indicating you disagree with their accounting and request an in person meeting to dispute the charges.

Hope this helps!
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 11:43 AM  
GeorgeS21, I see your name again.

You should contact the owners of this website and have the owners take action to ban posters who violate the rules of this form, as determined by the owners.

Please do that.
AugustinD


Posts:3461


12/26/2019 11:45 AM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 7:39 AM
“A positive place for community association leaders to share ideas and learn. A forum for Community Association Boards and Other Volunteers to discuss topics concerning their association duties.”

This is clearly shown at the top of every webpage.


I see this at http://www.hoatalk.com/PostingRules/tabid/71/Default.aspx but no where else so far. The latter site also says one is to keep one's posts clean, helpful, positive and friendly. The terms of service at http://www.hoatalk.com/Forum/tabid/55/ctl/Terms/Default.aspx elaborate: harassment is not allowed.

I think it's ok and appropriate to gently question those HOA members who post here with seemingly odd situations. But subsequently I think not taking someone at her or his word about the facts and attributing motivations to a poster does not help make this place positive. To me, if a poster is posting falsehoods, and people respond assuming the falsehoods are facts, there is zero harm done. If the poster does not get what she or he wants from the HOA subsequently because she or he posted falsehoods, oh well.

I do not see that Paul is breaking any rules. Sometimes I disagree with his posts. But I do not particularly dispute anything he has posted in this thread. I do question much of what others have posted.

GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3857


12/26/2019 11:48 AM  
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 7:29 AM
I felt oh no, this forum is only for educating the owners, America has no justice!

What on God's green earth are you talking about?

The HOA does not have to give you notice that your assessments are due.

It's up to YOU to stay on top of that and be aware of how much you have to pay every month and when that amount possibly changes. It does not matter if you "never refused" to pay your assessments. You now owe more than past-due assessments. You now owe for collection costs because you're not very good at managing your investment properties.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 11:51 AM  
Sorry, Augustin, I do.

The forum has clearly drifted from it’s stated purpose.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 12:08 PM  
GeorgeS21, I see your name again.

Please have the owners of this form ban participants who are breaking the rules.
AugustinD


Posts:3461


12/26/2019 12:15 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 12/26/2019 4:09 AM
HOA doesn't necessarily need to give you anything notifying you of payments. You are already on the hook for them when you join the HOA.


Posted By GenoS on 12/26/2019 11:48 AM
The HOA does not have to give you notice that your assessments are due.


It's true the case law in general says, among other things, that the recording of a condominium Declaration with the County puts condo members on notice that they must pay an assessment. In other words, a condo member cannot get out of paying the assessment by claiming she or he was not duly informed of the HOA or the assessment.

But everything I have read says the condo or HOA also has to give notice and other due process before imposing fines or other fees beyond the assessment.

If the Board expects members to follow the rules, then the Board itself better be following the rules. I am not persuaded at this time that Leeanne's condo's Board is following the rules. Two assessment increases in one year make me suspicious.

At least people here seem to agree that Leeanne ought to contact management and ask how and when it gave notice of the assessment increases.
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 1:00 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/26/2019 12:15 PM

But everything I have read says the condo or HOA also has to give notice and other due process before imposing fines or other fees beyond the assessment.




You are correct.
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 1:08 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 11:26 AM
You may do so, but when I note your comments wrt the purpose of this website, and how antithetical this is, and how following your comments may cost property owners money, I hope they will listen.

Recall, again, this started when you refused to abide by the stated purpose of this website.




Gorge,

You always talks about positive, positive....no problem. However, the more you said, the more I hate HOA. Who brings the negative attitude?
I am only looking for the solutions on this special issue, because most companies give the notice without attorney's involvement.

You made me have more negative attitude successfully, because you let me know HOA company didn't care their customers if you are be on behalf HOA management staff. Your opinion is all the responsibility should be taken by the owners and HOA did everything right.

I just want justice! If I am not, I would have paid it before. However, I don't want to be robbed by this way!

If you are still managing some communities, please remember, nobody wants difficulties. Only a call, an email or a letter will let your clients feel comfortable and pay the balance. However, the legal fee only creates HATRED.



LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 1:19 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 12/26/2019 9:08 AM
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 8:40 AM
I have written to them and let them show me the documents or any proves. No response, only HOA replied that I should contact the attorney and the attorney replied you should pay in full (including legal fee). Nothing else. But I will do others. I would rather go to court but pay the legal fee. Thank you. Leanne


Leanne, I would start a notebook that documents every email, every snail mail, and every phone call you have with the HOA. I would write a letter to the board as follows:
-------------
Dear Board,

Would you please send me a copy of the announcements of the two assessment increases for 2019? With the greatest respect, I do not recall seeing any announcement in my snail mail or email.

Also I respectfully request a copy of the notice that it appears the Association was required to provide me before imposing fines and fees. I understand this notice should have offered me an "opportunity to be heard," pursuant to the Maryland Condominium Act, Section 11-109 (d)(16) .

As the manager may be aware, I have paid my dues by auto withdrawal from my bank account for some time, and always on time. There was certainly no intention not to pay what was owed.
Thank you,

Leanne ___
Unit ___
____ Condominium Association
[mailing address]
[phone number]
[email address]
-----------------

Send the letter to the HOA manager certified mail, return receipt requested.




Hi Augustin,
Really appreciate your help!
I will send the letter again, although I guess the HOA executives may still be ignored it.
Really thank you!
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 1:25 PM  
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 1:08 PM
However, the legal fee only creates HATRED.





Exactly. Nobody likes lawyers (I know, I am one) and HOAs shouldn't sic lawyers on owners unless there is no other practical way of resolving an issue.

An auto-pay that hadn't been updated, but no intent to avoid payment: not a reason to bring in a lawyer.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:3857


12/26/2019 1:50 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 12/26/2019 11:51 AM
Sorry, Augustin, I do.

The forum has clearly drifted from it’s stated purpose.

Not for nothing, but who died and left you sole arbiter of what is and isn't in compliance with the stated purpose of this place?

"A forum for Community Association Boards & Other Volunteers to discuss topics concerning their association duties."
"A positive place for community association leaders to share ideas and learn."

Those are advertising slogans, at worst, and the site owners' hopes for what the forums could be, at best. The real "rules" are whatever the site owners want them to be and they seem content to take a laissez-faire approach to comments, which is fine by me. My opinion is that this place runs just fine by itself 95% of the time and the other 5% isn't worth getting all bent out of shape over.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2770


12/26/2019 2:12 PM  
This is simple ... the website has a stated purpose.

The stated, marketed and clear purpose is to assist association leadership, and community volunteers - not provide a place for complaining about something that occurred to one as a member of an association.

Sure, we could and do drift off purpose sometimes, but still learn from what happened when it is reported back.

Those that wish to complain about associations, using single point inputs, and that do it with malice and spite, have missed the point of this forum and need to find a forum designed for that purpose. There are a lot of negative fora ...
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 4:30 PM  
LeanneM1, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also governs how the HOA's lawyer must interact with you. For example, it requires that the lawyer give you various disclosures and requires the lawyer to contact you only in certain ways. If you already paid the debt, whether or not the HOA accepted payment, the Act might also limit collection efforts. Maryland might also have a similar state law that might govern the property manager. The HOA itself is likely not subject to these laws.

Augustin's letter is excellent. Please also consider reading about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and adding any violations of it into the letter.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9399


12/26/2019 4:48 PM  
I still like to know why the OP wasn't notified. They have 2 properties. The HOA should have sent out notices to their HOA address at minimum. The OP should have provided their off-site contact information to the HOA or MC as well. Many HOA's have available meeting notes or newsletters etc. A HOA dues increase doesn't seem like it would have been that secretive. I know our HOA it would be posted everywhere possible.

We had a few people who did automatic payments. They put the entire year's dues into the account and have it removed automatically. If they had an account with the SAME bank we used there were no additional surcharges etc... I am sure those people would have increased their yearly amount upon finding an increase. Plus they should be getting statements from that account.

The fact is that as a landlord these expenses for legal and dues would be tax-deductible. They are NOT as owner. The HOA is not wrong for taking steps to collect. Which for us at 6 months we filed a lien. 1 year we considered foreclosure. So if it took 6 months for someone to figure out we increased dues, then it's on them.

Former HOA President
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 5:21 PM  
Posted By PaulJ6 on 12/26/2019 1:25 PM
Posted By LeanneM1 on 12/26/2019 1:08 PM
However, the legal fee only creates HATRED.





Exactly. Nobody likes lawyers (I know, I am one) and HOAs shouldn't sic lawyers on owners unless there is no other practical way of resolving an issue.

An auto-pay that hadn't been updated, but no intent to avoid payment: not a reason to bring in a lawyer.





I think lawyers weren't wrong at first, but making money by bullying the weak is a problem.
My case shows that these lawyers cannot get money from HOA. When they find that the problem lies with their client (HOA), especially when the homeowner repeatedly pays the HOA fee, it is not important whether to recover the HOA fee owed. It is important who pays the lawyer's fee. So they tried to threaten the weak and pay their fees, regardless of the reason, but just wanted legal fees.
All this was caused by the inaction of the original source, HOA.

If this is a forum to improve the leadership of community managers, my case can just reveal a lot of problems, give managers a lot of thinking and how to deal with problems in a simpler and more harmonious way.

Are these issues forbidden to discuss and these problems no longer exist?
Does positive mean how to beat your customers? Is it a real POSITIVE? No matter how the customer give you lowest evaluations? Who are the owners of the community? HOA or homeowner?
PaulJ6
(New York)

Posts:929


12/26/2019 5:35 PM  
LeanneM1, you might wish to ask your neighbors in the community when they received notice of the dues increase.

I miss a lot of mail, due to being distracted and tired when I get home in the evening and get mail.

LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 5:51 PM  
Posted By PaulJ6 on 12/26/2019 5:35 PM
LeanneM1, you might wish to ask your neighbors in the community when they received notice of the dues increase.

I miss a lot of mail, due to being distracted and tired when I get home in the evening and get mail.





Sure, I will! Thank you very much!
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


12/26/2019 5:52 PM  
Was LeanneM1 the only homeowner in the entire hoa NOT notified of the increase?
LeanneM1
(Maryland)

Posts:36


12/26/2019 6:11 PM  
Posted By SteveM9 on 12/26/2019 5:52 PM
Was LeanneM1 the only homeowner in the entire hoa NOT notified of the increase?




I don't know. But I can tell you a fact. When I got the bill from third-party company in July (increase happened in May), I reset my autopay amount. However, the HOA fee increased again in Oct.

During this period, July to Oct, I am 100% sure I didn't get any notice, phone call, email, mail letter. Even I have contacted with HOA staff since July when I paid all the balance except for the legal fee (1 condo was accepted, the other one was returned).

How did I know the Oct's HOA increase? From a flat letter mailed to me in Nov! There is a bill and a letter in the envelop from third-party company, AND with more legal fee charge. Because since Oct's increase, I paid partially again.

When I discussed it with the HOA and this third-party company, I didn't get the notice about the increase, and if you did, please show me the notice about the increase, nobody answered me, only ask me pay in full, pay in full in legal letter!!!
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3599


12/26/2019 6:27 PM  

When I discussed it with the HOA and this third-party company, I didn't get the notice about the increase, and if you did, please show me the notice about the increase, nobody answered me


Well, that is what I would be asking. How did everyone get notified except me?
How did you notify homeowners?
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