More than two dozen HOA management companies are accused of charging illegal collection and filing fees.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, claiming that the management companies violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Robert and Kristy Leatham told CBS5 that their HOA management company put a lien on their home after charging them hundreds of dollars in unnecessary fees.
"We keep up our house, we keep up our yard, don't park on the street and pull our garbage cans back," said Kristy Leatham. "For them to place a lien on our home, it's just not fair."
The Leathams said there was some confusion about how much they owed in quarterly assessment fees, and when they attempted to work things out with Associated Asset Management, things got worse.
"We owe them $157, but they've tacked on attorney fees and all these other assessment fees to where it's ballooned now to $2,000," said Robert Leatham.
The Leathams decided not to pay it and instead hired an attorney to fight what they felt were unfair fees.
HOA attorney Roger Wood said the Leathams' case is similar to thousands of other homeowners.
Wood just filed a class-action lawsuit against more than two dozen HOA management companies across the state, accusing them all of illegal collection practices.
"They're not lawyers and they include their fees like it was part of the amount actually owed the association, so there's no one looking over their shoulder," said Wood. "They can essentially charge whatever they would like to, and they have in many of these cases."
Associated Asset Management President Amanda Shaw told CBS5 that they represent more than 300 communities in Arizona and have been in business more than 20 years.
"We have done everything we are legally supposed to do," said Shaw. "These claims have no merit. We are confident our practices will be vindicated."
Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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