Who is responsible to collect fees from new owner?

Q :Our son bought a condominium for us to live. He had paid the homeowners association fees for the first few months when escrow closed. The title company never sent the HOA the assessments. We have never received a bill or statement from the HOA. The HOA threaten to place a lien on my son’s property if they do not receive the fees.

We have also received a bill for plumbing. The plumbing issue occurred when I turned off the water when I went on a trip. I did not realize that my shutoff valve would also turn off the water to the unit upstairs. The upstairs unit owner contacted his plumber who was able to identify why there was no water to unit. He corrected the loop shut off valve when we were out of town. The pipes were crossed in the water heater closet of my unit.

I don’t believe that this bill should be paid by me since the plumbing system was established long before my son purchased the home. The association is threatening to place a lien on the property. I am looking to resolve these problems.

A: First, you need to contact the title company. They had the responsibility of sending the assessments to the association and all of the corresponding documents to them. The title company needs to pay the association the initial funds that they had received from your son. Second, if their delay caused late fees and legal fees for any period of time, the title company should pay the association those fees on whatever prorated time that the delinquency was a result of its failure to pay the HOA. Finally, the difference needs to be paid by you.

There are no legal requirements that an association send an homeowner a bill for assessments. Obviously, it is to the benefit of the association to send invoices. For whatever reason (and this may have been again a result of the failure of the title company to send the legal documentation of the change of ownership), whenever you purchase a home in an association if you have not received any form of a bill or statement within 30 days, you need to contact the management company as something is wrong.

As for the second question, the plumbing system was never altered by you or your son. It was the existing system when your son purchased the unit. Without the benefit of reviewing the covenants, I cannot tell you if the full plumbing bill is your son’s responsibility as the unit owner or if the plumbing bill is to be split between the two unit owners.

You will have to seek legal aid in reviewing this matter. You can contact the Clark County Neighborhood Justice Center whose staff members may be able to assist you directly or to provide you with an attorney firm that could review the matter without charge. Otherwise, you will need to contact the management company and see if there could be a payment schedule.

Barbara Holland, CPM, and Supervisory CAM, is president of H&L Realty and Management Co. To ask her a question, e-mail support@hlrealty.com.

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