How Can You Respond to a Threatening Letter From a Homeowner Association's Attorney?

Failing to comply with the rules and regulations of your homeowners association may anger your neighbors and cause the association to hire an attorney to correct your behavior with legal jargon or outright threats. How you respond to letters from this attorney depends greatly on the content and tone of the communications. In any case, taking action immediately allows you to maintain control of the situation and helps avoid unnecessary legal battles.

  1. Contact the Attorney

    • Contacting the attorney sending you the letter is the most direct way to respond to the letter. The tone in your response should be polite, even if the attorney's tone was not. The content should explain the situation as well as your intentions to continue or stop the behavior mentioned in the attorney's letter. If you're not engaging in any illegal behavior or violating any local ordinances regarding your home, there's little else the attorney can do to legally force you to stop whatever behavior is irritating the homeowners association.

    Do Not Delay Response

    • If you intend to respond to the attorney's letter, you should do so quickly. Failing to promptly reply to the letter may cause the attorney to escalate legal actions on behalf of the homeowners association. While you won't go to jail or end up with a criminal record, a homeowners association can enforce any contract you signed in civil court by filing a lawsuit. Promptly responding to the attorney's letter can keep the dialog open and stave off a potential legal battle that could cost you thousands of dollars and force you to make unwanted changes to your property.

    Fair Debt Collection

    • An attorney contacting you on behalf of a homeowners association to collect a debt must comply with the regulations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This means it is illegal for an attorney to use harassing or profane language in any communication regarding the debt. The attorney may only threaten you with legal action if the homeowners association intends to sue you to collect the debt in question. Reporting a letter that violates the terms of the act to your state attorney general's office as well as the state bar association can prompt the state to investigate both the homeowners association and the attorney the group hired.

    Contact the Police

    • Insinuating that you've committed a crime or that an attorney will report the occurrence of a crime if you don't comply with a homeowners association request can be construed as extortion or blackmail. Reporting the letter to your local police department will lead to law enforcement investigations of both the homeowners association and the attorney in question. Homeowners association members encouraging the attorney's behavior could face criminal penalties including heavy fines and jail time. The attorney could face disbarment in addition to other criminal penalties.

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