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Late Fee on an H.O.A. dues invoice with no "due date"?


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#1 wjcinva

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 09:49 AM

First post. My H.O.A. is a unorganized mess with idiots running it! We closed on 6/27/11, 2011 dues were paid then. Received the 2012 dues bill in the mail with no due/pay by date on it. So, to prove a point to the H.O.A. board; I din't bother paying the dues. I received a letter from a law firm tacking on about $400 in fees, and now a judgement which I plan on going to court and arguing that the board has no right to charge late fees on a bill with no pay by/due date on it.

Quite ironically, the bill for the 2013 dues has a due date on it. Hmmmm, interesting.

Can anyone guide me in the right direction for similair cases previously heard and decided, and/or where to find the statue/law regarding this situation. I'm in VA by the way.

#2 adjusterjack

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 04:13 PM

What do your CC&Rs say about when dues are due and payable and how late charges accrue?

Because if they happen to be addressed in the CC&Rs, and you just never bothered to look, then you screwed yourself and owe the late fees.

That the 2013 has a due date has nothing to do with the 2012 dues. In law, correcting an error or oversight is generally not an admission of wrongdoing that imposes any liability for the error or oversight.

Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.


#3 wjcinva

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 05:39 PM

Thhe CC&Rs say: "The due dates shall be established by the Board of Directors."......"Any assessment not paid within thirty (30) days after the due date shall bear interest from the due date at a rate of eighteen percent (18%) per annum or as may be stablished from time to time by a vote of the association."

I did look.

#4 adjusterjack

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 07:46 PM

My opinion is that payment was due upon presentation of the invoice unless otherwise stated.

You should have paid it when you got it instead of "proving a point."

You are welcome to hire an attorney to do the legal research that it would take to support or refute my opinion. I have neither the time nor the inclination.

I suspect, however, that the HOA and its attorneys have the upper hand.

Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.


#5 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:50 AM

Thhe CC&Rs say: "The due dates shall be established by the Board of Directors."......"Any assessment not paid within thirty (30) days after the due date shall bear interest from the due date at a rate of eighteen percent (18%) per annum or as may be stablished from time to time by a vote of the association."

I did look.


Ok, so did the board ever adopt any rule specifying the due date? If so, that’s when the fees were due and if you didn’t meet that time frame, you’ll lose the lawsuit. If the board never adopted a rule on this, then the board’s likely argument is that the bill was due when presented, and the penalties kick in 30 days after that. Whether the court will accept that argument, I don’t know as I’ve not researched VA case law to see if this situation has ever been addressed. Even if you win, the cost of fighting this may not be worth it simply to make your point, but that’s your choice.

#6 legal2013

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:07 PM

Hi,
I agree with the above posts. Assessments should always be paid in a timely fashion. The proving of a point should take place at a board meeting. Better yet, get on the board and do it from the inside out.

#7 Happy2Serve

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Posted 21 September 2013 - 07:05 PM

First post. My H.O.A. is a unorganized mess with idiots running it! We closed on 6/27/11, 2011 dues were paid then. Received the 2012 dues bill in the mail with no due/pay by date on it. So, to prove a point to the H.O.A. board; I din't bother paying the dues. I received a letter from a law firm tacking on about $400 in fees, and now a judgement which I plan on going to court and arguing that the board has no right to charge late fees on a bill with no pay by/due date on it.

Quite ironically, the bill for the 2013 dues has a due date on it. Hmmmm, interesting.

Can anyone guide me in the right direction for similair cases previously heard and decided, and/or where to find the statue/law regarding this situation. I'm in VA by the way.

 

First let me respond as a board member: I can assure you that the CC&R's contain a section on assessments that address the issue of a due date. For example, our CC&R's, under the section called General Assessments it states that "...the Board shall cause the budget and assessments to be levied against each lot...to be delivered to each member thirty (30) days prior to the due date." Since we operate according to a fiscal year, our assessments are due January 15th every year.

 

Now I'll respond as a homeowner: When we purchased our home the real estate agent and closing attorneys all told us we would be living in a deed restricted neighborhood. Having never lived in this type of community, as an adult, I took it upon my self to acquire a copy of the covenants and ask neighbors how to contact the board. I immediately asked when the assessment would be due for the next year. Fortunately for us our board has been run by very intelligent and caring owners who send out letters like they should. It sounds like maybe your board is lacking but the responsibility is partially yours.

 

I hope things turned out well for you.



#8 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:05 AM

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#9 wjcinva

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 10:40 AM

Thank you all for the responses. To avoid a lot of $$$$$ out of my pocket, I paid the judgement, however, in the end a valid point was made. The management company was released due to the fact that those invoices and many other things were not done according to the CCRs. I also met with the President and VP of the board to discuss what happened in detail. Turns out the mgt co had a "strip mall" lawyer that did this same thing to 6 other home owners. As far as this situation goes, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. The HOA was breaching the very CCRs they are elected to enforce. Things are a lot better now though. Again, thanks for your responses.




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