Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Illinois

HOA Late Fee Statement (2)

The bylaws only specified what is the homeowners responsibility. They don't say anything about association being responsible for providing timely statements to us. To clarify the bank: the ONLY method of payment for the association is to send a check to a mail box for processing. While using online banking last year, I relied on my bank to send their manual check to the processing center. My bank debits my account at the moment of issuing a check so to me it looks like I paid. The bank's check was never received and credited by the association bank so they say I didn't pay and start charging me late fees. My problem is that they waited 12 months to let me know they didn't receive the payment and charged $300 in late fees. I would correct this right away, have I known that they didn't receive the payment on time. I don't think this is a proper way to treat a customer. Every other entity sends statements or invoices every month. Why didn't the association and can they demand a huge late fee if they failed to notify my for 12 months that my payment wasn't received. What legal remedies do I have as a consumer?

Asked on 4/28/09, 10:06 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Barry040 Bayer Law Offices of Barry D Bayer

Re: HOA Late Fee Statement (2)

First of're not exactly a consumer: you are an owner and a member. Assuming your bank will provide you with evidence that they issued and sent the check, a reasonable manager (or a manager working for a reasonable Board) should, after retrieving the initial "missed" payment in some way, should wash the whole thing out.

If they don't, you could speak with the president of the Association, or, if he or she won't do anything, go to the next board meeting and lodge your complaint.

Should it come to a law suit, it could be argued that as the association chose the manner of payment and you did it their way, they should be responsible for a lost check. (I would advise an Association client to have a drop box (check only) on premises, or to let condo owners take the check to the manager's office added as possible ways to pay.

This is the sort of thing that should be settled, by the association with a phone call. It is also the thing that can start neasty wars within a development. They are never worth it.

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Answered on 4/28/09, 11:04 am
Burton Padove Indiana and Illinois Lawyer, Burton A. Padove

Re: HOA Late Fee Statement (2)

Thank you for your more detailed post. I agree with Mr. Bayer. I would also indicate to the board that thye had a duty to act reasonably and diligently and their failure is not your fault. This is called the doctrine of laches and could bar a recovery if they sued you.

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Answered on 4/28/09, 3:38 pm

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