HOA sent past dues to lawfirm/collection agency

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by asugolfer1, May 24, 2011.

Chance of not being sued

  1. 25%

    0 vote(s)
  2. 50%

    1 vote(s)
  3. 75%

    0 vote(s)
  4. 100%

    0 vote(s)
  1. asugolfer1

    asugolfer1 New Member

    To Whom It May Concern,

    Over two years ago I lost my job and could no longer pay my mortgage. Living in a condo in AZ it was an easy decision not to tap my retirement account to try to save my condo while looking for another job. I paid my HOA fees for as long as I could but did not pay the last 4-5 or so before the bank foreclosed on me. The other day I received a letter in the mail from a local attorney at law saying that he represents the HOA and is demanding my debt plus late fees an interest and that I have 30 days to respond to dispute the debt or they will take further action (whatever that means?)

    I'm not sure what to do at this point. My debt is just over a $1400 so I can't think that they would sue me for that amount. Should I respond to them and make them prove it? Should I ignore it? They did not send it certified mail. Does that matter? Can't I just play dumb if I ever have to and say I didn't receive it?

    If I respond they gave me a PO Box address to respond to. I have read that I should send a certified mail signature guaranteed but I can't send that to a PO Box.

    Another dilemma that I have is I am actually moving residences in a week. Should I have my mail forwarded? Should I not forward my mail and just directly change my address with companies so that I am harder to trace if they try to serve me? If I respond should I use a friend's address for them to send correspondence to?

  2. BCOHEN2010

    BCOHEN2010 Well-Known Member

    I think they're bluffing, hoping that you'll just pay the bill to "save" your credit rating, etc. Considering that the condominium has already been foreclosed, the HOA should have placed a lien on it for the back dues, which should have been paid by the bank in order to pass clear title to the new buyer.

    In any case, I can't think of any benefit to you of responding to this or paying anything. If I were in your position, I would simply save the letter and ignore it. It is extremely unlikely that a collection law firm, or any other creditor, would bother to file a lawsuit unless you own real estate or other assets which can easily be seized, levied, or liened. Also, if your credit report is full of unpaid charge-offs and collection accounts, that further reduces the chance of a lawsuit.
  3. sparq

    sparq Well-Known Member

    I disagree -- I would send a dispute letter to the law firm via certified mail. Certified mail can indeed be sent to PO boxes, unless something has changed within the last 3 months. The post office will place a card in the recipient's PO box stating that they need to come to the window. Unless you're talking about a psuedo-PO box, like something you would get at Mailboxes Etc. In that case, Google the law firm and get their physical address.

    Disputing the matter is always a good idea. If they're going to sue, they're going to sue. A DV isn't going to make them decide to sue, though it could slow down or even stop the process. However, in order to be effective, a DV must be sent within 30 days of initial contact. Go past that, and it's meaningless.

    They can sue you for $1400 -- that's what small claims courts are for. People have been successfully sued for much less. If they win, they may (depending on your state laws) move to seize your bank / retirement account in order to satisfy the debt. Some states do not allow this; some do.

    I would forward your mail through the post office, AND call each company directly. While you can argue improper service to vacate a judgment, doing so is not exactly a walk in the park. You'll also have to contend with the judgment until your motion is addressed by the court. And even then, you aren't off the hook -- they can simply re-file the lawsuit.

    But in worrying about getting sued, you're getting far ahead of yourself. Take a deep breath, have a cup of strong coffee, and relax. Send a very simple DV:

    "Dear ___, I am disputing the above-reference alleged debt. Please validate this debt and send proof of such validation to my address above. Sincerely, ____"

    One step at a time.
  4. mijd

    mijd Well-Known Member

    I agree with sparq. A lot depends on the condo bylaws. Ours spelled out we as owners were liable for monthly dues up until the time of foreclosure. The HOA sort of gave up on placing liens on properties or used this as a last resort as most foreclosing banks waited to take title to the property for up to a few years.
    Every situation is different. Hope everything works out for the best for you.

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