HOA Attorney Fees: An Unconscionable Racket
Here is another clip, here.
Behind on property taxes? The government does not sue over a few hundred bucks, ever. The government does not slap the homeowner with thousands in attorney fees even if they file suit to recover. The government is not quick to sue residential homeowners occupying a home.
Not true with HOAs. They have a vastly different property tax (they like to call them “assessment”) collection scheme designed to make even more money. HOAs have a close relationship with private attorneys that result in homeowners getting fleeced. HOA management companies sign up attorneys eager to sue, and charge homeowners thousands when the amount in dispute is a few hundred dollars. HOAs love the money the attorneys collect and turn a blind eye to the fact that the attorney fees dwarf the amount the homeowner is behind. HOA boards may not even realize their management companies and attorneys intentionally design a system to make more money with installment agreements with extra fees and charges added each month. To make matters worse some HOA attorneys pad their bills by charging attorney time when a legal secretary or paralegal merely changes a few names on form lawsuits these HOA attorneys file regularly in court. These billing practices are likely fraudulent, but some courts often protect attorneys who submit such fee requests because these fee awards can come back in campaign contributions. And disputing HOAs over such practices is very dangerous because if you fight, the HOA attorney just adds more time to his bill. Only homeowners willing to take huge risks fight HOAs. The HOA attorneys know they have the upper hand and they are not bashful about exploiting homeowners across the state.
The public would not stand for this scheme if it were standard property tax collection activities — but hopefully the Texas Legislature will weigh in this year on this issue.