Can I negotiate attorney's fees and late fees if my (late) HOA dues have resulted in a lien being placed on the property?

I didn't pay my annual HOA dues, '09 and '10, $268 per year; negligence on my part. I do not live in the property, have a tenant. I just got a letter from a collection attorney saying a lien has been put on the house and it will go into foreclosure if I don't pay $2,200, within 30 days (or submit a payment plan for said amount - and maybe more - within 30 days). This sounds outrageously high. Do I have any recourse with them? What would you suggest? I have no experience with this. Am I bound to pay whatever amount they demand? How would I go about negotiating? I don't have the cash on hand, either, but could make payments. Thank you very much for your input.

California -

Attorney Answers (2)

Peter Robert Stone

Peter Robert Stone

Debt Collection Attorney - Citrus Heights, CA
Answered

They have the right under the CCR usually to ask for attorneys fees and costs. Call them and offer to pay off the original amount, usually they will negoatiate a little.

Robert Harlan Stempler

Robert Harlan Stempler

Lawsuit / Dispute Attorney - Woodland Hills, CA
Answered

That sounds rather high to me, too, but I don't know what fees your CC&Rs provides, when dues are over a year late or what the attorney has done to file the lien, or how many letters they wrote to you before the amount had risen to $2200. That said, most HOAs are willing to get members back in good standing and may be willing to give you a break. Be sure to ask for an accounting so you understand how this amount grew from just over $500 to $2200 and can determine what items seem excessive or not provided in the CC&Rs. They will probably agree to payments, since the dues and late charges are fully secured by their lien.

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