|Woman Paid HOA Dues, But They Still Wanted Legal Fees|
This happened in North Carolina, but the same abuse goes on all over the nation. These specialized attorneys want to get the money from home owners, even if it turns out there were mistakes made by the management company. The homeowner is actually the most vulnerable party! An easy cash cow!
Article Courtesy of Action 9 News
Published April 29, 2005
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Betty Belk said she paid her homeowner's dues on time, but through a clerical mistake, the homeowner's association still wanted to collect on legal fees.
If you don't pay your homeowner's dues, a lien can be placed against your house and homeowner's associations will want to collect on legal fees.
Belk moved into her house in October 2000. Last fall, her homeowner's association threatened to foreclose, saying she was delinquent in paying her 2003 and 2004 dues.
"At the time, I got the letter I had paid for 2004 and 2003," she said.
Belk believes the mix-up occurred when the association changed management companies.
So she gathered up her cancelled checks for the past two years and sent them to the Pence Pond Homeowners Association's attorney.
It then gave Belk credit for having paid her dues, but she said even after she'd proved she'd paid her dues, the attorney's secretary told her she still had to pay legal fees -- totaling $407.
"I don't think it's right. Seems like they were trying to get over on me," Belk said.
Attorneys do have the right to recover fees incurred in the collection of delinquent homeowners dues. But if Belk's dues were never late, then how could the attorney, in this case Victoria Sprouse, still collect her fees?
"I said, 'I don't think that's right.' She said, 'You got to pay that or I'll foreclose on your house,'" said Belk. "That's when I got in touch with you."
Action 9 contacted attorney Victoria Sprouse. She promised she would talk about what happened but never did.
The homeowner's association's management company, Carolina Management Association also wouldn't talk to Action 9.
Pat Patterson of Carolina Management told Belk she didn't have to pay the attorney fees.
Always keep records of paying your HOA dues. It protects you in case the management company claims you're delinquent and places a lien on your home.