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Old    "G" (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       10-05-2010, 6:39 PM Reply   
Hey I'm having problems with my HOA. (Home owners association) itís come to a point where I need to take legal action against them. Does anyone here have a referral for a Northern California HOA or Real Estate Lawyer?

Thanks Grant
Old    Robert Mitchell (2006maliblue)      Join Date: Mar 2009       10-05-2010, 7:08 PM Reply   
My Mothers business uses Berliner Cohen exclusively, there expensive but very good. Allot of times a letter from them alone is enough to scare the other party into backing down. They specialize in Real Estate law and land use issuses, thats what my mom uses them for. Mom said to ask for Andy Faber or Linda Callon they specialize in real estate disputes and are the best of the best but she stressed they are very pricey.
Old    Robert Mitchell (2006maliblue)      Join Date: Mar 2009       10-05-2010, 7:09 PM Reply   
Should have given you a link to find them or something! lol There in San jose and I believe they have an office in the valley too!

http://www.berliner.com/
Old    "G" (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       10-05-2010, 7:34 PM Reply   
Awesome: I will contact them and Ask for Andy. If anyone else has any other people It would be great to have a few diffrent options.

Question: How does one go from here. You contact them and tell them what your problem is and then they sit down with you and tell you how muck its gonna cost?
Old    Chris G. (chris4x4gill2)      Join Date: Sep 2009       10-06-2010, 5:32 AM Reply   
typically they will set up a meeting to discuss your case / potential case. Most of the time you will pay a consultation fee for this whether you go forward with it or not. All other costs will be negotiated or outlined then.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-06-2010, 5:56 AM Reply   
Call me old fashioned but if you were in NV I wouldn't charge you to meet for an initial consultation (as long as it's of reasonable length... say an hour). You should come to the meeting with enough information to give your lawyer a good understanding of what's going on. CC&Rs, correspondence, pictures, etc. If there are "bad" facts (i.e. stuff you may have done wrong), your lawyer absolutely needs to know about them from the outset.

Lawyers that specialize in this field are unlikely to work on a contingency. You will probably be expected to pay as you go, and you should expect to come up with a significant retainer to get started (say $5-10K). Your hourly billings would be debited against the retainer and you'd be asked to replenish the retainer as it gets low. If the case is settled before all of your retainer is gone, you should get the balance back. Not sure what a reasonable estimate is to get a case to trial in your neck of the woods, but I'd think $25K would be very cheap and $50K+ would be more like it. That's just for your fees and costs, not the HOA's.

Full-blown litigation with an HOA can be pretty risky. It's not uncommon for CC&Rs to have a provision that says that the HOA can charge its legal costs as dues against you (with accompanying lien rights) in the event that the HOA prevails. So you could end up paying everyone's legal bills. Knowing all of that, a good lawyer should point out that it may make more sense to move than to fight if you can't win cheaply and early.

Sorry, way more than you asked, I know.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       10-06-2010, 7:52 AM Reply   
That doesn't sound like fun. Good luck, grant.
Old    "G" (grant_west)      Join Date: Jun 2005       10-06-2010, 8:43 AM Reply   
I would think a Lawyer could look at the case and or the facts and tell you if you have a case or your trying to push a train up hill. I have been told by a bunch of people (Not Lawyers) that I have a good case. I don't know if that means it would be open and shut or if it would drag out.
Old    Shawndoggy (shawndoggy)      Join Date: Nov 2009       10-06-2010, 9:09 AM Reply   
If you've got a good case, you've got a good case. But it's generally not as easy as visiting a lawyer, paying a couple hundred bucks and seeing HOA blood in the streets, is all.
Old    Big D (bigdtx)      Join Date: Feb 2005       10-07-2010, 4:52 AM Reply   
I've never had a lawyer tell me "we've got a good case". That's kind of like a doctor saying "I'm going to cure you". I think mostly that's because you automatically think you're 100% in the right or you wouldn't be sitting in the lawyer's office in the first place - it's their job to get you settled down and realize your case is usually not as strong as you think it is (aka you could lose). Last serious lawsuit I was involved in I had to come up with a 5K retainer on day 1 and it ended up costing over 100K and that case was settled in mediation, never went to trial, and both sides felt like they didn't really get what they wanted. In litigation the real winners are the lawyers - best to avoid it if at all possible.

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