Is my aunt liable for her HOA suit?

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by marci, Aug 13, 2003.

  1. marci

    marci Well-Known Member

    Hi all,

    I wrote the following on another board and would like some opinions.

    My aunt has a potential problem with her condo association. A lady sued the Association last year for neglecting a plumbing problem that destroyed her home and won. The assoc. then assessed all the owners $300 to pay the judgement.

    Now the same lady is suing again - and this time for punitive damages of $120K in addition to actual damages - because the association still did not fix the plumbing problem. So, the association wrote my aunt a letter warning her of another assessment and saying that there is no legal fund left to pay for a new judgement.

    What will happen to my aunt's home if this lady wins a second time, but there is no money left to pay her from a fund? Could my aunt's home get a lein placed against it? Is there a way she could legally remove herself from liability based on what the association failed to do?

    Evidently the plumbing problem has been well known and brought to the association's attention for years, but the manager chose not to make the recommended fixes.


    My aunt wrote in response to questions re HOA management:

    Our condo association is self managed. The association has a board that is elected by the owners I believe on an annual basis.

    I did check with the office manager on yesterday and she advised the association does have liability insurance. Some of the initial assessment is coming from there. She did also advise me the insurance carrier has since cancelled our coverage so now they will have to secure a new insurance carrier. If the judgement is awarded against the association, the office manager advised our insurance would cover this. My concern is it will be difficult to find a new insurance carrier and our monthly fee will probably have to be much higher to cover this cost. They are now looking at possibly amending the by-laws to prevent this type of thing from occuring in the

    In the court document, it shows the plaintiff is suing the following: The Commons at "city" a condominium, The Commons at "city" Homeowners Association, Inc and athe Officers and Directors of the Homeowners Association with each to be named specifically.

    The office manager seemed to question the legitimacy of the claim, however, apparently the owner (i.e. lady suing) has had some serious problems. I plan to speak with some of the officers & directors to see what the plan is going forward and what we can do to protect ourselves. In the initial judgement, each homeowner was assessed a special fee of $354.34 with them indicating they took every step possible to keep the assessment to a bare minimum. Makes you wonder what could be next. I will be checking through my legal plan to see what my rights are and how I can protect myself and my investment. Let me know if you have any other information or ideas on how to approache this.


    My aunt also stated that she had rental insurance on her own condo. She wants to do some research on this. What websites would be good for research how to protect herself? What happens if this plumbing issue is a persistent problem, others sue, and the new insurance carrier drops them or they can't get a new carrier? Could my aunt be personally named in a lawsuit?
  2. themyles

    themyles Well-Known Member

    Bottom line...Go speak with an Attorney to get the right answers.

    I am an Insurance Agent and this is not something you want to wait on for answers from the message board.

    Take all papers to the Attorney with you, her policy, papers from the HOA, etc.

    Good luck
  3. marci

    marci Well-Known Member

    Okay, thanks. Would a real estate attorney be appropriate for this?
  4. themyles

    themyles Well-Known Member

    That is what I would think, since it is property related.

    Good luck

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