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James R Wood

James Wood’s Answers

19 total


  • My homeowners assoc. is trying to restrict the size of my company vehicle which is a van, this is my source of income can they?

    I need to be available for service calls 24/7 and need to have my van readily available so that I can respond to emergencies. They have a height restriction of 84" and my van is 84" on its own but when you add the ladder rack ladders and pipe box ...

    James’s Answer

    In general, most CC&Rs do restrict commercial vehicles, but not all. This kind of question is very document specific and the Arizona statutes may create an additional protection for the parking of certain kinds of vehicles. Some boards believe that the Arizona law empowers them to restrict commercial vehicles, but that is not the case. The statutes are there to exempt certain types of vehicles from a community's restrictions. Starting with your documents is key.

    It's a good idea to talk with an attorney about the commercial vehicle language in the CC&Rs and how that language applies to your vehicle's specifications (or if the statutes provide any additional protection). Good luck!

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  • Can my hoa cut off amenities without notice to home owners

    grounds dug up for over three months, laundry rooms for two weeks closed, pool and spa drained for almost 3 weeks

    James’s Answer

    This is a good question. In general, the CC&Rs are the contract that guides owners in HOAs about the maintenance and repair of the common areas like a pool, etc. However, those maintenance requirements and decisions are for the Board of Directors to make. This means that the Board may make decisions at its meetings about the timing and duration of such maintenance and repairs.

    I would say that Arizona law does impose a duty on how board - that duty is to act reasonably and in a fiscally responsible manner. I suppose a board could leave decisions unmade and maintenance undone for too long and therefore breach those duties.

    An attorney who helps homeowners in these situations might be able to review the facts and the maintenance language in the HOA documents to give you some advice. A letter to a Board who is slow to act or has hired the wrong folks might be a helpful tool in jumpstarting the process.

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  • What type of lawyer do I need for alleged non payment of HOA fees?

    summoned to reply in writing to the court and copy sent to plaintiff.

    James’s Answer

    In general, CC&Rs and the obligation to pay assessments is a contract in Arizona. In addition, HOAs in Arizona have contractual and/or statutory liens to protect them in case of non-payment. HOAs then use various legal methods to collect. It's a wise idea to contact an attorney who handles these specific kinds of debts and litigation cases. While many attorneys handle contract litigation, there are a few who specifically help homeowners with problems just like these. I agree with the previous answer, do some searching, some reading about the lawyers here and make some phone calls. Good luck!

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  • Do condo owners have to give hoa's tenant agreements?

    we have an owner who refuses to give our manager the number of tenants living in his unit and pay the $1,500 construction fee prior to buying the forclosed unit.

    James’s Answer

    This is a hot issue right now. Here is the text of some pending legislation in the Arizona legislature:

    E. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY PROVISION IN THE CONDOMINIUM DOCUMENTS, THE ASSOCIATION IS PROHIBITED FROM EITHER OF THE FOLLOWING:
    1. REQUIRING A UNIT OWNER TO PROVIDE THE ASSOCIATION WITH A COPY OF THE TENANT'S RENTAL APPLICATION, CREDIT REPORT, LEASE AGREEMENT OR RENTAL CONTRACT OR OTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION REGARDING THE TENANT EXCEPT AS PRESCRIBED BY THIS SECTION. THIS PARAGRAPH DOES NOT PROHIBIT THE ASSOCIATION FROM ACQUIRING A CREDIT REPORT ON A PERSON IN AN ATTEMPT TO COLLECT A DEBT.
    2. REQUIRING THE TENANT TO SIGN A WAIVER OR OTHER DOCUMENT LIMITING THE TENANT'S CIVIL RIGHTS OF DUE PROCESS AS A CONDITION OF THE TENANT'S OCCUPANCY OF THE RENTAL UNIT.

    There is a bit more language to the bill, but as you can see some folks are concerned that the HOAs have overreached.

    I agree with the others on this, but watch out for what's happening to empower homeowners in House Bill 2337.

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  • Are HOA Liens dischargeable through chapter 7?

    We are now current on our HOA dues however we weren't from 09-12. The HOA filed a lien against our house in '10 for $340. We eventually ended up owing them $1700, fees included, and are on a payment plan that I understand will be discharged. Does ...

    James’s Answer

    Interesting and all too common question. From the bankruptcy prospective, I agree with the other lawyers who have posted here. So what to do about the lien? Obviously, a homeowner could simply pay the amount and the lien will be released.

    But be careful, in Arizona if the lien is more than $1200 or for a year or more of assessments, the HOA still has the right to foreclose on the lien. It's an unusual circumstance indeed that a homeowner is free of the debt personally but could still lose their home to the HOA's foreclosure.

    In addition, the amount of the lien may be a key to fixing this issue. HOAs, their management companies and the attorneys who represent them make mistakes. Payments may have been misapplied. Some simple math and some advice from an attorney who helps homeowners in this situation may be in order. It's also important to note that some of these lines have unusual language that protect the HOA lawyers who recorded them. The face of the lien may read $310, but after a call to the lawyer for the HOA, the number may be significantly higher. Get some advice on this one!

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  • HOA Fees & Insurance Collection in Arizona After Chapter 7 Approval

    Filed early 2011, was finally approved in August that year. We'd stopped making mortgage payments, but the HOA fees and insurance were current thru the court's approval of our Chapter 7 and we moved out the same month. Now, over one year later, th...

    James’s Answer

    I agree with the attorneys who have answers so far but will simplify it this way: you owe it while you own it. Until there is a deed in someone else's name, the HOA will continue its full court pressure to collect. You could have some defenses or perhaps negotiate the issue. It would be wise to check with an attorney on the HOA part of your question.

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  • Neighbor is running a genorator for power but i can hear it clearly in my bedroom is that legal

    they run it at all hours and police will do nothing because they are using it for power, but i am not able to sleep

    James’s Answer

    This is an interesting question. In general, Arizona recognizes two kinds of claims for nuisance: public and private. Here, this is likely a private nuisance issue. Nuisance issues are often difficult to prove and must be well supported by evidence but also there needs to be some tangible damages as well. Neighbors do have duties to one another in this area, but proving your neighbor breached that duty can be tricky.

    It also is important to understand if there are any other claims between neighbors or other third parties in a neighboring nuisance situation. If there is an HOA, Condo or even a recorded set of deed restrictions, enforcing the what the CC&Rs or deed restrictions say can be another attack. Oftentimes, these documents have favorable nuisance language. Such documents may also show that an HOA has a duty to enforce the restrictions regarding nuisance as well.

    I am sure it is frustrating and perhaps an unhealthy situation. It is also a situation that might require a lawyer to be involved. Good advice in a situation like this is key.

    Good luck.

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  • I,m retired living on SS Benefits. Can homeowners assn touch any portion of ss check if they obtain judgement for past due dues?

    I tried to negotiate a settlement but they insist on a larger payment. Total due with aat'y fees is around 3000.

    James’s Answer

    I agree with the other attorneys here, but in my experience in Arizona, our management companies and the HOA attorneys are overly aggressive. They may not be able to touch SS funds, but they can (and do) try.

    It's also important to understand that the Association in Arizona has a foreclosure remedy as well. If the assessment debt exceeds $1200 or is more than one year old, the HOA can sue in court to foreclose on your property. HOAs that run into collection issues (like no wages to garnish, etc.) can and do resort to foreclosure.

    It would be wise to get some legal advice. Sometimes negotiations can work and sometimes they work better when lawyers are working on your behalf.

    I hope this was helpful. Best of luck.

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  • Can my hoa foreclose on my home? They were just granted a default judgment for $2800

    Rossmar & Graham hoa in az. From the research I've done, it's my understanding that an hoa cannot foreclose if the dues owed are from anything other than the monthly assessments, which is the case here. I've made my monthly payment every month, ...

    James’s Answer

    Good question. I'm sorry that this has happened.

    In general, an HOA in Arizona has the right to foreclose on the assessment lien. Those are the monies that you owe for deliquent assessments, late fees, collection fees and legal fees incurred in the collection process. Arizona law also says that if the assessments are more than one year or $1,200 past due, the HOA can file a lawsuit and foreclose on those unpaid charges. Any charges older than three years can be foreclosed.

    Many HOAs in Arizona don't start with foreclosure in the collection process. They file a money judgment lawsuit for all the money allegedly owed on a ledger. Some of those charges may be foreclosure eligible. Some may not be. If an HOA gets a judgment, most HOAs and their attorneys will try to collect by garnishing wages or demanding payment.

    As you can see, navigating this issue is not always straightforward. It may be about a debt owed, but there are many categories of charges and many methods HOAs have to pursue delinquent dues. However, that does not mean a homeowner is without defenses or remedies.

    I do know that HOAs and the management companies that they hire (as well as the lawyers) often can and do overreach. While the law may not allow certain charges or may cut-off collection opportunities after a certain date, HOAs and management companies can and do ignore these statutes and wait for a homeowner to make his or her best argument.

    It's best to seek legal advice in these situations. Sometimes problems can be solved and negotiations can be fruitful. Other times, it may be necessary to get involved with the courts for relief. Contact an attorney and get some advice.

    I hope this was helpful and best of luck to you.

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  • Is there an Arizona statute of limitations on the collection of delinquent homeowner association dues, and collection fees?

    I was told that there was a 5 year statute of limitations on the collection of debt and fees owed to a homeowner's association, but when I responded to the HOA's attorney with a offer in compromise to pay in full only debt within the statute of li...

    James’s Answer

    I agree Ms. Scheff with one caveat - HOAs in Arizona have two ways to collect delinquent assessments. They can sue an owner personally and for that, there is a statute of six years.

    In addition, HOAs and Condos in Arizona have a foreclosure right. That statute of limitation is to foreclose on the HOA's lien for unpaid assessments is three years.

    Given there are two separate statutes and two separate methods by which an Association can collect, there are some complicated issues with regard to collecting.

    Good luck,

    J. Roger Wood

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