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  1. #1
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    Apr 2017
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    Default What is the Process for Enforcement of a Small Claims Judgement

    My question involves court procedures for the state of: CA

    I plan to sue my HOA over a dispute about the late charges on my delinquent assessments. The late charges were incorrectly calculated. According to some of the research that I did, I have to deposit with the court the disputed amount and if I win, the deposit will be refunded.

    My question is if I file a claim at small claims court and prevail, how does the enforcement process work with respect to correcting the charges on my account assuming that the board still refuse to remove the overstated late charges?

  2. #2
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    Mar 2013
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    Default Re: Enforcement of Small Claims Judgement

    A judgment is a court order. People who disobey a court order can be held in contempt and be fined or jailed depending on the circumstances.

    But let me ask you this.

    Have you paid any of the delinquent assessments? Have you paid the part of the late charges that you think is correct?

    Or are you just sitting back and saying "This is wrong so I'm not paying anything."

    If the latter, then you can forget suing the HOA because you'll lose and the judgment will be against you. Then the HOA can come after your wages and your bank accounts and maybe even foreclose on your home.

  3. #3
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Enforcement of Small Claims Judgement

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    A judgment is a court order. People who disobey a court order can be held in contempt and be fined or jailed depending on the circumstances.

    But let me ask you this.

    Have you paid any of the delinquent assessments? Have you paid the part of the late charges that you think is correct?

    Or are you just sitting back and saying "This is wrong so I'm not paying anything."

    If the latter, then you can forget suing the HOA because you'll lose and the judgment will be against you. Then the HOA can come after your wages and your bank accounts and maybe even foreclose on your home.
    I have not paid anything but I am willing to deposit that amount with the court. I tell myself why give money out now before the issue is resolved. It's roughly about $100 in delinquent assessments and about $500 in late charges, maybe $50 of which are correct late charges/interest. I am willing to deposit the entire amount with the court or should I pay the delinquent amounts and the correct late charges/interest and then deposit the rest with the court and sue?

  4. #4
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    Jul 2018
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    1,061

    Default Re: Enforcement of Small Claims Judgement

    What did you read that made you think you'd have to deposit anything with the court?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Enforcement of Small Claims Judgement

    Quote Quoting MSerforfun
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    I have not paid anything but I am willing to deposit that amount with the court.
    The court isn't going to want your money. Even if it were possible, read the next comment.

    Quote Quoting MSerforfun
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    I tell myself why give money out now before the issue is resolved. It's roughly about $100 in delinquent assessments and about $500 in late charges, maybe $50 of which are correct late charges/interest.
    Here's why. Let's say you are right and the court rules that you only $150. You think that's a win. It isn't. It's a judgment AGAINST you for $150 and FOR the HOA for $150. That judgment is public record, ends up on your credit report, drops your score and follows you around for several years.

    The alternative is pay the undisputed amount of $150 and sue for the $450. If the court rules that you don't owe the $450 that's a judgment FOR you and AGAINST the HOA.

    It's foolish to think that holding back all the money gives you leverage. It doesn't.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Enforcement of Small Claims Judgement

    Thank you all for all the help. I am going to make the payment now and sue for the rest. I hear that if I sue in small claims courts, I'll lose the right to sue again in a regular court on the same issue. My wife and I are on the title for the house. Can I sue in small claims and if lose, will she be able to sue in a regular court?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Enforcement of Small Claims Judgement

    Quote Quoting MSerforfun
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    I hear that if I sue in small claims courts, I'll lose the right to sue again in a regular court on the same issue.
    Correct. You also lose your right to appeal unless you are countersued.

    https://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-smallclaims.htm

    Quote Quoting MSerforfun
    View Post

    My wife and I are on the title for the house. Can I sue in small claims and if lose, will she be able to sue in a regular court?
    No.

    You and your wife are together in this. You get one bite at the apple.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2017
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    Default Re: Enforcement of Small Claims Judgement

    So my contention about the late charges is the fact they were incorrectly calculated. According to the Civil Code and our collection policy which mirrors the Civil Code, only one late charge can be imposed per delinquent assessment. The delinquent assessment is a few years old and therefore, I've accumulated over $400 in late charges. Here is the Civil Code:

    Civil Code 5650 (2) A late charge not exceeding 10 percent of the delinquent assessment or ten dollars ($10), whichever is greater, unless the declaration specifies a late charge in a smaller amount, in which case any late charge imposed shall not exceed the amount specified in the declaration.

    The HOA contends that my monthly payments are being applied on a First In First Out basis. Let's say I didn't pay January because I forgot about it. I paid February and all other subsequent months on time. The HOA was applying the February payment to the January delinquent assessment and therefore February is now delinquent and hence the second late charge and so on and so forth. Obviously, that's not what the legistlatures intended by writing that code.

    How do I made a winning arugement infront of small claims judge?

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