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Yes. I bought a house a couple of months ago (stop laughing fleabagger). Yeah, I know what a dumb move right, but I still believe that owning a house is better than renting for the rest of my life. Plus I love the house. I just found out that there is an HOA that came along with the house. If I would have known, I may not have bought it. I hate HOA's and I have had issues with them in the past. Well this HOA doesn't do anything for me, but says there are unpaid dues and that they will put a lien on my property unless they are paid. HMMMMMMMMM. Right I am going to pay somebody else's dues to an HOA that doesn't provide any service whatsoever and I was unaware of it during the purchase. I guess this is what we pay title insurance for.

Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime groups. The actual obtainment of money or property is not required to commit the offense. (Wikipedia's part of def)

Just thought I would throw this in to help others understand why I feel it is extortion. So my question is who do I sue (talk to)? Everybody involved in the transaction? Or do I just deal with the HOA on my own? If they don't plow my driveway, take care of the trash, cut grass, or even remotely provide a service, how can they collect dues and have bylaws? Each lot in the area is a 10 acre parcel and supposedly the HOA is suppose to maintain some of the roads that do not connect or come close to my property. I found this out after talking to a neighbor that said he just throws everything out that comes to his house from the HOA. So even if I did pay the dues what benefit would I get. I don't want more people moving into the area. That would mean there would be an increase chance in more foreclosures! No thanks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeowners'_association 

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man I can't tell you how much I hate Homeowner's associations. They strike me as so anti-freedom  and un-american. It should be the city's job to enforce code, not some random finicky neighbor who just doesn't like the color of paint you picked. I cna't tell you how much I emphasize with you and feel badly that you are in that situation.

basically their benefit if you can call it that is enforcing maintenance and appearnace standards on homeowners, that's basically their only function as far I know.

The lawsuit thing is a bit trickier. I'm not sure you can get out of the HOA as long as you are in your current house. As unpalatable as it may seem , if you want out you may have to  move.  At least here in Ohio the supreme court has upheld their legality and right to enforce membership. I strongly suggest you hire a lawyer, at least here in Ohio the HOA can really mess with you if they want to.

You can however sue the person who sold your house, by law I believe they have to disclose all the pertinent information about their house to you, Unless you bought the house in an auction (in auctions the seller is not required to disclode anything). I doubt the previous owner thought the HOA was a negative so I'm not sure you will have a strong case, but a lawyer will be able to tell you better. I doubt the realtor is culpable here unless they knew about this.

Here's what the state of New York's AG had to say about the, doesn't look good for the home team :-(

http://www.oag.state.ny.us/realestate/home_prob.html

you are in michigan right? here are some lawyer resources that may be helpful

http://www.lawyers.com/Homeowners-Association-Law/Michigan/browse-by-city.html

http://www.michbar.org/

 man good luck, I hate HOAs

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also you could try asking your AG for help, I couldn't find much on their site about HOAs but they might be able to give you an idea of where to start

 

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ugh more horror stories

" Think it couldn't happen to you? Think again. Many people who belong to homeowners associations do not understand just how much power these groups have over them -- until they miss a payment or otherwise run afoul of the board. Fall a single day behind in paying your monthly dues, for instance, and the association may slap you with a fine. Fall 90 days behind and it may place a lien on your home and threaten to foreclose unless you pay up immediately. And because you often hand over the right of property trustee to the association when you agree to the by-laws, in some cases "you don't even get to go to court," says Evan McKenzie, a lawyer turned political science professor in Chicago and the author of Privatopia: Homeowner Associations and the Rise of Residential Private Government.

Your best defense, if you can afford it: paying what the association says you owe, then arguing. Most associations work on a "balance forward" accounting system, in which your payments go toward the outstanding balance. By delaying, you'll just accumulate more late fees "
 

http://loan.yahoo.com/m/primer13.html

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Thanks for the great news. I never signed an agreement with the HOA and never even new they existed. I think it is funny that the guy threatens to put a lien on the house when the seller had the property up for sale for 1.5 years. Wouldn't you put the lien on the house when it went up for sale. I don't even think the HOA has any members from the community running it. It all sounds like bs to me, but I am still in the early stages and trying to figure out how I want to respond.

Thank you for the posts and information. I really would like to stay away from lawyers though. I am going to start checking out the links.

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I wish I could  say that I think you could stay away from lawyers, but unfortuantely I think's very unrealistic based off what you've said. Since the HOA is threatening to put a lien on your house, it seems clear to me they want to fight and to play dirty.I think that means you only have two choices, pay the extortion or get a lawyer.You could continue to ignore the notices, but I think that's risky considering how much leverage the HOA actually has over you.

I know you didn't sign a specific agreement with the HOA, but a HOA doesn't need one. Your purchase of your house is enough. Legally your purchase is considered consent to membership in the HOA. It is horribly unfair, unethical and morally wrong  practice in my book..

I wouldn't wait too long to hire a lawyer if you want to fight, as un-fun and expensive as that is. A lawyer is going to need prep time.

As for why they didn't place one on the previous owner, they may have had one then removed it so he/she could sell. Homes with liens on them generally stay on the market a very very long time. They probably wanted rid of him/her without the protracted mess of a lawsuit.

That is really weird, that your HOA sounds unusually expansive, usually they are a pretty small area and remnants of a HOA set up by a homebuilder. If you are in development and your house is still relatively new , the HOA may still be run by the homebuilder, which would explain the alck of community representation.

 best of luck to you madcow, I hope you get those @$$holes. 

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madcowmonkey-

How did you know I was laughing? Are you one of my unseen benefactors?

Anyway, HOA's are just a fraction of the approximately 1.5-2.5 jillion dollars hidden costs to buying a house. There are only about half a jillion dollars in hidden costs when renting, and even aside from the difference in hidden costs there is a much higher monthly cost to paying a mortgage, and when you invest that difference and what you would use as a down payment in the S&P 500, you wind up much richer from 20 years of renting than 20 years of owning a home.

The reason people who own homes wind up richer than renters is because most renters either 1) have lower incomes or 2) much worse personal finance habits and less friendly forms of debt. Homeowners can demonstrate how rich they are by comparing themselves to people who don't save or invest at all, while they could have saved time and gotten a much better return on their investment by renting a large apartment and investing the savings in a mediocre index fund. That's not even with our stock-picking prowess figured in (which I believe, in our cases, is better than the S&P 500 - right, everyone?)

So if you want to paint your house a funny color or install an indoor pool or something, you have to own, but if you have an HOA, you can't anyway, and there's no point.

If you buy and rent out rooms to pay your mortgage, that would perhaps be a decent financial decision, but remember: houses are still near the peak of a bubble, and in most places rents will have to stay as high as they are as housing prices plummet in order for you to pay your mortgage by renting out.

Best of luck, madcowmonkey.

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The Answer is Yes!  I live in a condo community with a HOA.  First of all, my Board of Directors are not a true reflection of the community.  There are at 50-60% asians and hispanics living here, but all the Board of Directors are white.  I believe the elections are rigged.  The managment company (SCS-Mangement, Chantilly, VA), is one of the worst and unprofessional companies I have known.  The managment company handle the elections of the Board members and since the Board members are in collusion with the managment company, dealing with them is a nightmare.

The Board of Directors tried to make me pay for repair of damage which was not caused by me at all.  I provided them with witness testamonies, and professional opinion and evidence.  Guess what my HOA did?  They hired a lawyer to try to collect the "debt" from me.  Since a year ago, they have not produce one shred of evidence on my responsibility, so they have just been charging late fees for no reason, EVERY MONTH.  They even added a $20 attorney's fee.  And recently, the manager of SCS broke into my apartment without permission.  I believe this is an act of harrassment and threat since I live by myself.  

So, the HOA takes money from me every month, they don't service anything, and are targeting me as an individual.  I hate them so much and would very much like to dissolve them.  This kind of mafia, Nazish terrorism cannot be allowed to continued.  Someone please help!

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