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Silverman v. Clairemont H.A., Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

August 28, 2019

Linda Silverman, Appellant
v.
Clairemont H.A., Inc., Appellee

          On Appeal from the 342nd District Court Tarrant County, Texas Trial Court No. 342-295889-17

          Before Sudderth, C.J.; Gabriel and Kerr, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          LEE GABRIEL, JUSTICE

         Appellant Linda Silverman complains of the trial court's judgment in favor of appellee Clairemont H.A., Inc., a property owners' association (the Association), on its claims arising from Silverman's repeated failure to pay her property owner's dues and accordant penalties and interest assessed by the Association. In four issues, she challenges alleged deficiencies in the Association's delinquency notices and asserts any amounts assessed in 2013 are unrecoverable as barred by limitations. Because we conclude Silverman's issues have no merit, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Declaration

         In 2002, ICI Development L.L.C. developed a gated residential subdivision in Colleyville-the Clairemont Addition. To preserve "the values and amenities in said community," ICI created the Association in a dedicatory instrument (the Declaration), which also established covenants, conditions, and restrictions for the development. The Declaration provided that "[e]very Owner of a Lot shall automatically be a member of the Association." It further authorized the Association to collect regular and special assessments, including assessments for annual maintenance. If a property owner failed to pay an assessment, the Declaration allowed the Association to charge monthly, compounding interest from the delinquency date until paid, authorized the Association to charge special individual assessments for a property owner's failure to comply with the Declaration, and created a lien against the owners' property for the unpaid amounts; the Association's rights under such a lien were expressly granted by the property owner upon acceptance of her property deed. ICI recorded the Declaration in Tarrant County.

         B. The Assessments

         Silverman and her husband bought a home in the Clairemont Addition of Colleyville in 2005. They divorced in 2013, and Silverman was awarded sole ownership of the home.

         On April 3, 2013, three months after the 2013 yearly dues payment was due, Silverman wrote to the Association and asked for a "payment arrangement for my current HOA balance in the amount of $1, 140.00" that would allow her to pay at least $100 each month until the balance was paid in full. The Association's board unanimously agreed to Silverman's plan, and the board's vice-president and treasurer notified her of its agreement and sent her a payment plan. He clearly told Silverman in the notice letter that "interest must be charge[d] on the unpaid balance per the Homeowner Bylaws." Silverman denied receiving this letter and never made any of her offered payments.

         On March 4, 2014, the Association sent Silverman a letter expressing their "surprise[]" that she had made no payments and notifying her that her 2013 arrearage and 2014 dues amounts were delinquent:

The Board tries to accommodate homeowners to a point and then only when the homeowner makes a valiant attempt to meet his or her obligations. When a full year has passed without that year's dues being paid, a penalty of $300.00 is assessed if not paid by March 15th of the following year. Additionally, interest is applied to the unpaid balance and accumulates each month. This is done in order to make the homeowner aware of the severity of the non-payment of dues.
We are taking the time to notify you of the Prior Year Dues Penalty before it is applied to your account on March 15, 2014. Enclosed is your current statement dated March 4th, 2014 showing a balance of $2, 659.91.
[The Declaration] states that additional costs could be incurred by the past due homeowner such as Attorney and filing fees.

         Silverman did not respond to this letter, but she later testified that she had been in a "very serious motorcycle accident" in 2014 and was ...


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