How much can a law firm charge me for being late on my HOA fees?

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How much can a law firm charge me for being late on my HOA fees?

I owe $35 every 3 months and got behind. The association hired an attorney and now that law office is constantly sending me long documents, tells me I owe them just under $2,000tand have refused to talk with me to resolve the issue. Additionally, the HOA will not accept any money from me. Additionally, after I paid $300 to the law firm, I was advised that I should not be paying them as I did not hire them and they have not provided an itemizes statement. What should I know for court? Am I in the wrong?

Asked on December 28, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Arizona

Answers:

Johnny Hall / Law Office of Johnny D. Hall, Attorney at Law

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It depends.  First, you need to look at the document that creates the obligation to pay the fees.  This is usually in the form of covenants, restrictions, a declaration, etc. and will be depicted in your title insurance policy under a book and page number.  This document is recorded at the county courthouse and it will show the the HOA, the rights and obligations of the owners of property within the HOA and may depict fees and penalties. If atty fees are not addressed within that document, then there is no set amount of fees that you would be required to pay.  Ultimately, if this goes to court, then the judge would decide on the proper amount of fees.  Atty fees generally relate to the amount of time expended to enforce the HOA fee.  Real estate attys may charge anywhere from $150-$350 per hour.  This is just an estimate.  I practice in New York and the information contained herein should be constrained accordingly.


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