I bought a single family residence back in 2015 through Auction (courthouse auction) and rented the property to a tenant. Last week, I received a Legal letter (from a lawyer) that I owe $2500 dues in HOA and requesting to pay it and failure to pay will result in lien on the property. I am completely shocked and surprised by this action as this was unexpected. There is no breakdown on the total, however did mention that the attorney cost is included. Also, if I dispute this i have to send a letter in writing to the Attorney.
I am looking for some help if you have similar experiences and how do i proceed from here.
I’m guessing you somehow didn’t know your house was in an hoa? It’s your responsibility, get in contact and see if you can work something out. Notices were likely sent to the property address. I don’t know GA law but some it may have previous debt from when you bought it.
I'm starting to learn the hard way that bills follow the house in GA - trying to resolve a 6-year-old water bill that was deducted from my proceeds when I sold a house in Atlanta, even though I never had an account with the water department. Wasn't ever reported and didn't show up on any title reports.
As Mr. Brooks says, get in touch with the HOA, and find out where they sent the previous bills, and what their collection efforts were. Is this for the dues you owe since you bought the house in 2015? $2500 might be 10 or 12 years worth, or 5 or 6 years (my former HOA in NorCal is up to $425/month) - why did they wait this long? Usually, after about 3 years, the HOA can start foreclosure. I'm kinda surprised the HOA didn't buy it auction - we did that on a condo unit, then re-sold it to satisfy the outstanding past dues.
I think I'd also suggest getting an attorney to represent you, since they already have one coming after you. Hopefully, a few letters and maybe a face-to-face negotiation could result in a compromise, and you'd only be out of pocket the attorney's fees.
Having said all this, something doesn't seem right. If it's a legitimate debt, the HOA would have put a lien on the house already, and this would have been discovered by your closing attorney. (Or maybe there wasn't one because it was sold at auction?) Seems to me the city/county doing the auction should have disclosed this as well. If they didn't, why not?
Hope this helps . . .
Three years of unpaid HOA fees, plus delinquency fees could certainly add up to $2500 even without an attorney fee. Suggest you get in touch with the HOA management company or the HOA board of directors. Get your account current for your period of ownership. Set up any automatic draft from your checking account for future HOA fees.
The unpaid assessments/dues are already a lien.
Pull out your closing docs and find the settlement statement. Is HOA prorated? If not you may have an argument for reducing the fees... but you'll be paying the dues/assessments that have accrued since settlement in full, for sure.