Let Joe Know: HOA versus Valley homeowner in court

PHOENIX - Valley homeowner Chad Lakridis says he was forced to defend himself in court against his homeowner's association on Tuesday.

Earlier this year Lakridis let me know he missed a semi-annual payment and it grew to thousands of dollars.

He said despite his attempts to pay his over due balance, the Desert Ridge Community Association initially refused to accept his payments, making him even further behind.   

In court he testified that the management company,  First Service Residential, failed to update his address despite his repeated requests.

He said he has asked by phone and in person, even writing down the proper address.

"They would look it up and they would be like 'oh my God it's defaulted back to the old address," he tells me.

As a result Lakridis says he did not received the invoice that started the ball rolling in July 2014. HOA records show that his address was officially change in December of 2015 but Lakridis says "to this day I still have not received an invoice," for his semi-annual assessment.

During the trial Lakridis questioned First Service Residential about why even when he submitted payment on time, he was assessed a late fee.

"No matter how good a faith effort I made to get this to the association in plenty of time, I'm going to be charged a late fee?" he asked.

"We can't post your payments," First Service Representative Karen Hale answered. "All payments have to be sent to and handled by the collections attorney."  She testified that they forward the payments to attorney because it's "the right thing to do."

Lakridis used one example of a payment that would have been considered late on January 16, 2016.

He said he sent a check to First Service on December 28; it was cashed on January 4. But he says the payment did not post to his account until after the due date, adding another late fee.

Another issue Chad addresses is the bylaws for Desert Ridge Community Association. He says that the HOA attorney provided a printout of bylaw which appear to contradict the due dates that are enforced.  

It states, "The Annual Assessments shall be payable semiannually in equal installments due on or before May 31 and November 30 of each year."

That November date is important because Chad says he sent to collections on September 30. Well before the rules allowed.

"They violated their own bylaws," he says.

In court he asked First Service about the discrepancy. "We follow the collection policy provided...that the board has provided to us," she explained.

Regardless of what happens Lakridis says after years of trying to get his HOA to listen he is glad someone is finally paying attention.

"To talk to another human being and be heard; you know that heals a lot of stuff. Doesn't make what they did right, but it heals a lot of stuff," he says.

The judge has 60 days to issue a ruling.

 

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