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We own a condo and missed one dues payment about 5 years ago. The accumulated late fees now total over $7000.

Kirkland, WA |

We have not missed any other payments and all of our payments have been on time. We payed the amount of the missed payment as soon as we found out about it. We do not have the financial resources to pay all of the late fees and attorney fees that have accumulated on our account. The amount of the missed payment was only about $325. We we not even notified about the missed payment until we had about $800 in late fees and lawyer fees added to our account. Would it be better to stop making payments to our HOA and mortgage and allow them to foreclose or to file for bankruptcy? We have no plans to buy another home for at least 7 years or so.

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Attorney answers 2


While the amount certainly seems ridiculous, it has been accumulating interest and late fees and other costs for 5+ years, so that's how it has gotten this large. If you are willing to vacate the property and surrender it, then you certainly could consider allowing the foreclosure to occur through a bankruptcy petition (or, alternately, you could file a Chap. 13 and make payments on the overdue amount). If you simply stop paying, they can foreclose and then probably come after you for the unpaid balances after the unit is sold off. Speak with a local bankruptcy attorney ASAP.

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These are somewhat unusual facts. It seems suspect that the HOA would allow these fees to continue accumulating for that long of a time without telling you. I would highly recommend speaking with an attorney regarding obtaining a complete accounting, their policy manual for accounting, and to negotiate this down.

I would definitely recommend speaking with an attorney prior to stopping payment and you will want to speak to someone as soon as possible.

In my experience, many HOA's use suspect accounting methods and your situation may be just that. Bankruptcy or foreclosure should be last resort options for you based on the facts you stated.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed through this answer. If you wish to have a free consultation as to your question and my answer, please contact me at your soonest convenience.

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