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Subject: Liens on Property
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Author Messages
DennisG7
(Georgia)

Posts:123


08/19/2021 8:16 AM  
I've posted many issues on this site over the years but I have run into one that leaves me perplexed. I was an HOA Board member and also the HOA President in 2020. After leaving the positions I've live here quietly...until a couple of weeks ago. I started getting emails and a couple of text messages from fellow homeowners about Liens for unpaid assessments. Covid has been rough and it appears that we have some folks that are having problems. Since lockdowns, etc the problems didn't really start until March-April 2020 we had collected most of our annual assessments prior to that time.
Anyway I decided to take a look at the Liens recorded at the courthouse over the past few months of 2021. It appears that nearly 10% of the homes have had liens placed on their property. Some of these liens are for less then $450 and on is even $220!

We are being charge $500 per lien filng as a legal cost. Over $13,000 in leagal costs through Jul 31. Last year I spent less than $3000 for the entire year. Sommething is wrong.

Here's the question. The documents each require a signuture from one member of the Board of Directors. All 14 Liens ARE NOT SIGNED by a BOD member or an HOA Officer. In fact the signature appears to be from someone that doesn't live in the HOA. All 14 signature are the same person. The signature line states that they are a Member of the Board and it has been notorized.

Is this legal? The current BOD can not be contacted to answer this question (they have shut down all emails and phone numbers to the Board) and the management company has been asked several times about the signatures and they have never responded.

I am very suspicious that this is an employee at the management comapny as the court house records people told today me that nearly all HOA liens are efiled and that attorneys are not used very much. The lady looked up a couple of the liens for me and told me to talk to the Board member who signed it. I told her that there is no such person on the Board or that lives in the HOA. She went silent.
Any thoughts on this issue?
Thanks
Dennisg7
AugustinD


Posts:1920


08/19/2021 9:06 AM  
Posted By DennisG7 on 08/19/2021 8:16 AM
The documents each require a signuture from one member of the Board of Directors.
First, please quote what the "documents" say on this. Second, please indicate exactly which "documents" say this. In other words, it is the Covenants? The Bylaws? Something else?

You get extra points for being exact in your second attempt to frame your question.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17852


08/19/2021 11:16 AM  
Is it possible that the signature is that of the registered agent of the Association?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2599


08/19/2021 11:21 AM  
Our attorney/registered agent handles our liens and signs in the place of the board.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


08/19/2021 11:30 AM  
Posted By CathyA3 on 08/19/2021 11:21 AM
Our attorney/registered agent handles our liens and signs in the place of the board.



As the agent for the associations I manage, I am authorized to sign the liens which are recorded with the County Recorder, but the minutes in which the lien was approved is signed by a Board member.

If you have language that a board member sign the lien, it might be in the form of a Resolution.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11665


08/19/2021 12:56 PM  
Dennis

Any Member of the BOD can file a lien for less then $100.00. Typically a lawyer will charge $200 including a threatening letter. At $500.00 per lien your association is being screwed.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:4291


08/19/2021 1:26 PM  
It does seem curious - if they're using the same attorney from your days on the board and you still have some contacts there, you could try and contact them to see if you could get an answer, but don't bet on it because you're a former board member and so you know about attorney -client privilege.

Personally, I don't think I'd file a lien on $220, but there may be more to this than You know. I do agree the attorney fees for this look excessive, especially since some agencies have electronic filing and I suspect the attorney has a law clerk of paralegal doing all this anyway.

You might not have phone numbers or emails for the current board, but what about their addresses? You could send a letter to all of them, perhaps using certified mail if you don't mind the expense (you would know if they got the letter because someone has to sign for it).

If you know anyone personally and have a good relationship, you could talk to that person and note the emails you've received. You won't be able to get details on specific accounts, but this could persuade the board to be more responsive to the homeowners.

Or attend the next meeting and bring some of those homeowners with you -it's not easy to ignore several homeowners.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


08/19/2021 1:41 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 08/19/2021 1:26 PM
It does seem curious - if they're using the same attorney from your days on the board and you still have some contacts there, you could try and contact them to see if you could get an answer, but don't bet on it because you're a former board member and so you know about attorney -client privilege.

Personally, I don't think I'd file a lien on $220, but there may be more to this than You know. I do agree the attorney fees for this look excessive, especially since some agencies have electronic filing and I suspect the attorney has a law clerk of paralegal doing all this anyway.

You might not have phone numbers or emails for the current board, but what about their addresses? You could send a letter to all of them, perhaps using certified mail if you don't mind the expense (you would know if they got the letter because someone has to sign for it).

If you know anyone personally and have a good relationship, you could talk to that person and note the emails you've received. You won't be able to get details on specific accounts, but this could persuade the board to be more responsive to the homeowners.

Or attend the next meeting and bring some of those homeowners with you -it's not easy to ignore several homeowners.



From my reading of this, and since the MC is the one signing the lien, no attorney is actually being used.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2599


08/19/2021 2:20 PM  
Posted By SheliaH on 08/19/2021 1:26 PM
It does seem curious - if they're using the same attorney from your days on the board and you still have some contacts there, you could try and contact them to see if you could get an answer, but don't bet on it because you're a former board member and so you know about attorney -client privilege.

... snip ...



Our attorney won't talk to homeowners at all because of the potential for a conflict of interest - especially in a situation like this since Dennis is questioning what's going on.

I agree with others that the fee for filing a lien seems high.



MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10590


08/19/2021 3:31 PM  
Here is the logic for some people. (Not all and NOT mine). There are board members whom believe that once someone is behind in their dues that the process of liening should be followed. They see it as if they pay the $500 filing fee that is added onto the amount the owner/member owes back. So in their "eyes" they don't "see" the $500 being spent. If that makes sense. They may see it as the cost of doing business etc.. or it's money they will be getting back.

Now as others like you and me see it, that is a legal expense that is not beneficial to expend out of the HOA's budget. Why spend $500 on a debt that doesn't equal $500? That is $500 dollars out of the HOA's budget. As you can see it adds up. Plus liens accumulate over time. They aren't collected on until an owner pays it or sells. Selling can take years. Your HOA is basically tying up $500 for that time. If your HOA waits a year to foreclose on that lien, it's not making any money at all. That $500 is just added onto the foreclosure amount the owner owes. Plus the additional legal costs of foreclosure. Your basically "stopping the bleeding" by getting rid of a non-payer.

I would bring this up to the board. Plus I would do a google search on who this person is. My "spidey sense" says this person may have some financial interest in convincing the HOA or the MC to do this. I've dealt with someone with this mind set before. It's not pretty. You may not be held up as a hero if the mindset has already set in that $500 is worth it.

Former HOA President
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1466


08/19/2021 10:13 PM  
Touching on what Melissa said, Is there a printed name on the filings along with a signature? Find out who that person is, are they a notary public? What pecuniary interest do they have? Find out more of what role they have in this. It does not make financial sense to lien on $200. Was your assessment collection policy followed to a T? Many HOA's send accounts to collections before they lien.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1601


08/19/2021 10:39 PM  
Posted By LetA on 08/19/2021 10:13 PM
Touching on what Melissa said, Is there a printed name on the filings along with a signature? Find out who that person is, are they a notary public? What pecuniary interest do they have? Find out more of what role they have in this. It does not make financial sense to lien on $200. Was your assessment collection policy followed to a T? Many HOA's send accounts to collections before they lien.



You might first look at how much the MC was making on the whole deal. Based on what the OP stated, over $13,000.00.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1466


08/20/2021 8:11 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 08/19/2021 10:39 PM
Posted By LetA on 08/19/2021 10:13 PM
Touching on what Melissa said, Is there a printed name on the filings along with a signature? Find out who that person is, are they a notary public? What pecuniary interest do they have? Find out more of what role they have in this. It does not make financial sense to lien on $200. Was your assessment collection policy followed to a T? Many HOA's send accounts to collections before they lien.



You might first look at how much the MC was making on the whole deal. Based on what the OP stated, over $13,000.00.




Sounds like someone went rogue. I'm not totally certain, but I think MC's are not allowed to make money off liens here in Nevada.
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