Since we moved into this townhouse it has been a fight to get things fixed around our house without our landlord accusing of us of breaking things or making up lies or excuses why she can not fix things. Our landlord has not been paying her HOA fees since before we moved in. HOA Fees are included in our rent per lease. Now HOA has served us with papers stating we pay them instead of our landlord. Is this grounds to get out of our lease?
If your landlord has failed to pay the HOA fees, as expressly stated in the lease, then your landlord is in breach of the lease. I'm not sure how the HOA can have standing to require you to pay the fees if you're not the homeowner, as typically what happens is that the HOA records a lien against the actual property once fees are not paid.
Your landlord sounds less than reputable. That being said, a landlord's breach of a lease may be a reason for you to get out of the lease.
The answer is going to be governed by Maryland law, and I don't practice there. However, if it were in my jurisdiction, I would first ask what kind of papers you were served. If the HOA sued the landlord and got a judgment, and then they served you with a garnishment, your rent would be paid into the court to cover the HOA fees rather than to the landlord. By law here, the landlord would have to give you credit against the rent for the amount paid into court.and could not come to you for a double payment. Some states even let you deduct and retain a part of the money you have to pay in order to cover your expenses.
If you were served with a garnishment, you need to talk to an attorney before you pay your March rent. If they served you before the rent was paid and you paid the landlord anyway, they might then have a claim against you personally to pay again into court - you could get stuck paying the rent twice. Take the papers you were served to an attorney for review so that you don't end up having to pay more than the rent that is required under the lease.
As for whether you can break the lease, that is an entirely separate issue. You may or may not have a right to break the lease under your lease and your state's laws, but don't count on any failure by the landlord to repair to give you a right to walk from the lease. If you don't have legal grounds, and both the lease and the state law would have to be reviewed to determine that, you could end up owing money to the HOA in excess of your rent, and you could also find your self sued by the landlord for breach of the lease.
Talk to a local attorney - even if he or she charges your for an hour's consultation, the cost will be much less than what you could get stuck paying otherwise.
This answer is for general purposes only, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.
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