Notice of Right to Dispute. Owners have the right to dispute assessments which may have been incorrectly levied or where payments may not have been credited, etc. Associations must annually, before the beginning of each fiscal year, give owners notice of this disputed charge procedure. (Civ. Code § 5730(a).)
Pay Under Protest. Owners do NOT have the right to withhold assessments. Owners may dispute any assessment, fine, penalty, late fee, collection cost, or monetary penalty, by paying the disputed amount under protest and (i) submitting a written request for dispute resolution to the association in accordance with internal dispute resolution (IDR) procedures or (ii) filing an action in small claims court for any amount up to $10,000 ($5,000 if the owner is a corporation). (Civ. Code § 5658.)
ADR. If the parties elect alternative dispute resolution (ADR) rather than IDR, the parties must complete ADR within 90 days after the party initiating the request receives the acceptance, unless this period is extended by written stipulation signed by both parties. (Civ. Code § 5940.)
Interest & Collection Costs. An owner is not liable for charges, interest, and costs of collection if the assessment was paid on time. (Civ. Code § 5730(a).)
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