Foreclosure in Denver>Question Details

abednegoh, Home Buyer in Denver, CO

I bought a property from REO sale, and have been chasing my HOA for over a year to fix damages.

Asked by abednegoh, Denver, CO Tue May 14, 2013

Hi Everyone,

I really need an opinion on an HOA related issue before consulting an attorney. I bought my condo last April in an REO sale, and during the inspection, it was determined that there were damages to the drywall on my ceiling because of a leak in the ceiling. I tried to get my real estate agent to contact the bank, but he said that the HOA would take care of the damage. We contacted the HOA before closing and they said they'd review the damages to see if it's something that they cover. We even sent them the inspection report, and my agent assured me that they'd take care of the damage - so I closed on the property. A year and about 50 emails later, they're refusing to cover the damage because they said that the damage occurred before I bought the property, and that it's now my responsibility. Do I stand a chance against them, or just start saving up to repair it myself?

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Answers

8
John Juarez’s answer
If the HOA had the responsibility to fix the problem before your bought the property they responsibility remains theirs. Change in ownership is irrelevant. This is just my uninformed, uneducated, non-attorney opinion, of course.

Is the responsibility that of the HOA or not? We can’t help you with that. Perhaps an attorney can.

Do you want to pay the cost of an attorney to review your HOA documents for an opinion?

Would it be a sound strategy for you to notify the HOA that you plan to hire an attorney to make this review and, if your attorney opines that the HOA is the responsible party, you may be forced to sue to enforce your rights? Would the repairs be cheaper that attorney’s fees for all involved?

Is it time to play hardball with the HOA?
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
Thank you John. Yes, the HOA admitted that the damages were attributed to issues they covered. They were aware of the situation before I bought the unit. In fact, I recently received an email from them saying they'd repair the drywall, but later changed their mind on the basis of change in ownership of the property. I've tried working with them for over a year, and it usually takes about five emails for them to respond. Even then, they'd just say they'd look into it. They just confirmed with me that they do not intend on correcting the damage. I guess I don't have much of a choice but to find an attorney.

Thanks for your response
Flag Wed May 15, 2013
BEST ANSWER
I do think it would be worth your time to speak to a Real Estate Attorney & have them review the situation. HOA's can be difficult to deal with at times, it is important to state facts & find specific supporting documentation in the CCR's that might support your claim that they have a responsibility to do the repairs. It might be important to know when the damage occurred & did the HOA have knowledge of the damage prior to the foreclosure... On a Bank owned property the HOA may already have lost money on delinquent fees they had to write off.. they would look for any reason NOT to do the repairs..such as: the Bank Addendum most likely stated you had an opportunity to inspect & by closing agreed to the conditions AS-IS/WHERE-IS (something along these lines...) . In Real Estate verbal agreements are not binding. A Real Estate Agent that "assured you the HOA would take care of the damage" spoke out of turn. If the repair costs are extensive ... it might be worth the fight. You could probably find an attorney that would do a cursory review and advise you pretty quick if they think a claim might be settled in your favor. Try to stay on their good side...and seek a Win/Win outcome... you are now a Homeowner in that HOA!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
You are welcome... wishing you a GOOD outcome! I have worked in the REO/Bank owned area for many years... I have had good success working with and around HOA's. If I can be of any further service please don't hesitate to reach out to me. All the best to you! Lori High, Your Castle Real Estate 303-284-6044
Flag Wed May 15, 2013
Thanks Lori. Yes, I emailed, went to meetings, and did everything to be as nice as possible, but they're just not having it. I kept the over 50 emails I received from them, including the ones before I closed on the unit. One of them actually threatened to "clamp down' on me if I involved an attorney. At this point, I may just have to seek a legal opinion.

Thanks again for your advice - well appreciated.
Flag Tue May 14, 2013
I totally agree; talk to an attorney. You should be able to find a RE attorney that will review your case for free or at low cost to see how best to proceed.
Best of luck
Chuck Strauss
Your Castle Real Estate
720-318-7598
denverhomeguru@gmail.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
Excellent, thanks Chuck. Yes, I chased them for over a year. It's unfortunate that it has to get to this, but looks like that's the only option I have left. Thanks for the advice.
Flag Tue May 14, 2013
It should make no difference who owned the property when the damage occurred. The responsibility lies either on the property owner for the unit above, if it leaked thru from there, or on the HOA, if it leaked thru from pipes in the ceiling. Regardless, in my past experience, you should let the HOA know that you will be contacting Hindman Sanchez (a well known HOA attorney office in Denver) to pursue the damages plus attorney's fees, if they do not make right on this damage. The HOA can then go after the upstairs owner, if it's the fault of that unit.

Best of luck to you.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
Thank you Sean. I'm in the top unit, and the HOA admits that the damages were attributed to roof leak, which they typically cover. In fact, there were a couple of other units with the same issue that were repaired; however, they're refusing to repair mine because the damages occurred before I bought the unit.
Flag Tue May 14, 2013
I'm sorry your having a problem, but REO properties are purchased "as is." You stated that the HOA was contacted. and they said they would review the damages. that's a very long way from a commitment to make the repairs.

The HOA only cover some items, not everything. In general everything from the walls/ceiling inward is your responsibility.
you didn't specify the source of the leak: roof, unit above yours, pipe in the ceiling???

anyway drywall is not an expensive item. Please consider that your time, efforts and aggravation to get someone else to pay to fix the ceiling for you are not worth the cost of fixing the ceiling yourself.

If you feel strongly about the HOA paying for the repair, have the ceiling fixed. Then send the bill certified to the HOA. If you don't get a response or if you get a response refusing to reimburse you, you may be able to file a claim against the HOA in small claims court. BUT CHECK WITH YOUR ATTORNEY ABOUT FILING A CLAIM IN SMALL CLAIMS.

Keep in mind that a claim filed against the HOA, while not specifically filed against any individual, may ruffle the feathers of some/all board officials and reg members as well. This is yet another reason why it my not be worth it.

good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 3, 2013
Help us help you.

People who post here are sometimes fully emotionally engaged. So, they fire off a post and watch all the answers come in.

Feedback is rare. We never hear outcomes. If you could return, adednegoh, and give an update, it would be much appreciated.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Jun 3, 2013
Abednegoh,

Good question, but we as Realtors are not allowed to give legal advice. You need to speak with a Real Estate Attorney to get specific advice on your particular problem. There may be some attorneys that will give you a free half hour consultation. You can also check with 'Legal-Aid' and see if you qualify for free assistance with them. All the best.

Robert McGuire
Broker/Consultant
Your Castle Realestate
http://about.me/robertmcguire33
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
When you're dealing with a property that has an HOA, these things sometimes get complicated.

Are they trying to compel you to pay HOA dues that are in arrears?

I ask because dues often are ignored in a foreclosure. I agree, consult an attorney to sift through whatever is going on.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 14, 2013
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