Milwaukee, WI asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law, Collections and Small Claims for Florida

Q: I have a motion for attorney fees against me, they are threatening a lien on a property I do not own?

I filed a small claims suit against my boyfriend's HOA for wrongful tow of my car. Missed the hearing, so it was dismissed. Judge ruled for the motion for attorney fee's, $3,000. Letter was sent to the address where the incident took place (not a home I own, but my boyfriend does). They said that if I don't pay the fees, they will place a lien on the home "as allowed within the Declaration".

Does this seem reasonable? The firm is collecting on behalf of the HOA. "We do not waive attorney fees and costs as these are for services rendered" makes it sound like they are awaiting payment for their work, when they've already been paid by the HOA, which I'm assuming has them on retainer

1 Lawyer Answer

A: HOA documents provide for prevailing party attorneys' fees and costs to be assessed against a party litigating a HOA matter. Owners are liable for the actions of their guests, tenants and anyone living in their property. A lawyer would need to read the HOA declaration and the complaint to see if there is an argument to be made against your boyfriend being liable for you suing the HOA. The lawyer being paid by the HOA is of no consequence because the lawyer is motioning the court to reimburse the HOA the legal fees it paid. Your case might have been dismissed anyway if you did not submit it to pre-suit mediation first.

Charles M. Baron agrees with this answer

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