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Does this sound dodgy?
Real estate, legal, title thing


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#1 Zarlias

Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:48 PM

My childhood home is part of a subdivision that consists of several 5ish acre blocks that surround a large dam. The dam is probably about 2 blocks in area, and there are 8 properties that connect to it. All the owners of the residential blocks form a company that is responsible for the maintenance, upkeep and rates of the dam.

In 2001, after many disagreements with other shareholders, my dad resigned from the company and essentially relinquished his share.of the dam. He pulled up the irrigation and pump, and dug his own dam on our block for water. The resident at the time who was caretaker sent him a letter saying they didn't accept his resignation. He basically said he didn't care, and nothing else was ever heard about the subject.

Fast forward to today. My dad has been dead just under two years, and my mum gets a hand delivered letter from a neighbour saying that she owes close to $5000 in unpaid rates dating back to 2001, including 8% interest. The letter says that there is a meeting of the company (eg residents) on Saturday and she is strony urged to attend or nominate a proxy.

My poor mum is so upset, but DH and I will be going in to bat at said meeting. Surely they can't hit her up more than 10 years later after not asking for money, nor communicating anything re the dam during that entire time. My dad was a stickler for records and paperwork, so I am 100% confident that he considered the situation sorted 10 years ago. I believe they are looking at a soft target and hoping to wring some money out before we sell up. So much for neighbourly love.

I am so cross. We have lived there for over 30 years.

Does this sound dodgy or OS it legit? Also, do we need a lawyer and if so, what sort?

TIA


#2 MrsLexiK

Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:54 PM

I am sorry your mum is going through this stressful time.  I think the fact they sent a letter in 2001 might be on their side, but not 100% sure.  Your dad perhaps should have looked into resigning officially.  Now you would need to look at original deeds and stuff to know if the shareholder of the dam passed onto the owner of the property or if the share died when your father died to know whether it is for the last 8 years or the last 10 years.

I would look at a lawyer, I would be thinking contract law or property law would be your best bet.

#3 Fairey

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:01 PM

I would be consulting a lawyer.
The fact that they didn't acept his resignation may be in their favour - but I honestly have no idea

Good luck with this though - my thoughts are with your mum.

#4 AllyK81

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:02 PM

OP, it's hard to comment without seeing the paperwork, but if your Dad legitimately resigned from the Company (I.e. is no longer a shareholder or Director), then his liability should should have dissolved at that time. You can do a company search through ASIC to check if he is still formally listed.

This would be subject to any particular agreements or contracts in place.

You should definitely seek some advice, though.



#5 Zarlias

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:26 PM

AllyK81 - what would constituent a 'legitimate' resignation? We still have an original copy of the letter that he sent, so I know it was done in writing.

Surely there must be some onus on them to have attempted to collect monies each year, and if Dad were still a shareholder, he should have received notice of meetings etc. Prior to him pulling the pin, meetings were held annually. Mostly he was the only attendee.

Grr

#6 DEVOCEAN

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:26 PM

QUOTE (AllyK81 @ 19/02/2013, 04:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
OP, it's hard to comment without seeing the paperwork, but if your Dad legitimately resigned from the Company (I.e. is no longer a shareholder or Director), then his liability should should have dissolved at that time. You can do a company search through ASIC to check if he is still formally listed.

This would be subject to any particular agreements or contracts in place.

You should definitely seek some advice, though.

I agree with the PP. If he was a shareholder in the company and he has not received any monies from it but the others have, you could also lodge a claim.

I hope it is solved pretty quickly and without too much hassle for your mother.

#7 JECJEC

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:40 PM

dp

Edited by JECJEC, 19 February 2013 - 04:47 PM.


#8 JECJEC

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:44 PM

check

statute of limitations

and

how the estate was managed. they usually put a notice in the paper and have a limit on time there

I would speak to a lawyer.


#9 Zarlias

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:50 PM

At this stage, my plan is to go to their meeting and ask why no attempts were made earlier to collect this money, and why, if Dad was still a shareholder, he wasn't kept informed of the goings on. If they don't have satisfactory answers, we'll be telling them we're seeking legal advice.

I won't be letting them bully 5k from my mum. Sneaky bastards didn't even have the balls to knock on her door and talk to her face, just snuck the letter in the mail box.

#10 HezzaB

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:54 PM

If your dads share was not bought back or cancelled (as in the shares he held in the company), then your mum may have inherited it.... This should have been done when your dad resigned but if it was missed then the rights and calls on the shares would have continued...

As per pps get some legal/accounting advice including if there's a statute of limitations for share calls. I would think unpaid calls would lead to forfeit if the share.....

Opportunism :-( not what your family need.

#11 *LucyE*

Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:58 PM

Was it like a body corporate situation?  

Sort of like in a block of units there is a body corporate that takes care of all the communal areas etc.  In which case, you can't 'resign' from the body corporate and remove your unit's involvement from them.  If you had a position on their board/governing council/whatever they are called, you can resign from that position.

#12 PrincessPeach

Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:05 PM

If it was a Pty Ltd company, then ASIC will be the keeper of documentation.

Contact them & they will be able to offer some guidance.

However if the official forms were not lodged, then unfortunately he may still be liable.

#13 Luci

Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:19 PM

Op, you have probably done this already - but have you had a good look through any relevant files to see if there is any more paperwork on the matter? To change the legal ownership of the dam may have required more than just a letter from your father saying he no longer wished to be part of it.

I agree with other posts that you may need to get legal advice.

Best of luck at the meeting tomorrow.


Luci

#14 Mousky

Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:27 PM

Wow, I didn't think you could inherit debt anymore.

Good luck, some people are just a holes.

#15 *LucyE*

Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:20 PM

QUOTE
Wow, I didn't think you could inherit debt anymore.

Well, if the other party was a joint owner of the asset that incurred the debt, it wouldn't have been 'inherited'.

#16 JRA

Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:30 PM

QUOTE (*LucyE* @ 19/02/2013, 04:58 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Was it like a body corporate situation?  

Sort of like in a block of units there is a body corporate that takes care of all the communal areas etc.  In which case, you can't 'resign' from the body corporate and remove your unit's involvement from them.  If you had a position on their board/governing council/whatever they are called, you can resign from that position.


That was my thought.

There are also "company share" arrangements for those sort of situations, is this what it was?

It would really depend on the legalities of the shared asset in the first place.  A lawyer would be the only option

As for inheriting debt, any debts a person has need to be taken out of their estate. if there is no money in the estate, that is a different story.

Edited by JRA, 19 February 2013 - 06:31 PM.


#17 Crafty Lemur

Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:46 PM

Body Corporates / strata is the usual way shared titles are currently structured but previously it was a company structure as a way if sharing the property.  I would imagine that unless a legal change was made to the structure or the shareholdings then your father (and now your mother) would have remained a shareholder and turncoat liable for any shared expenses.

I would ask for copies of all paperwork since your Father's  resignation and then seek legal advice. Right now you don't gave enough information.

#18 Illiterati

Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

Get legal advice of course. But in the meantime - fob them off by saying your mum was only left the property in the will. The estate did not include a share in the company they are referring to so you dont know why you are contacting them about this. If they thought they had any claims re debts against the estate they should have done that during the probate process. So **** off.

Good luck

#19 JRA

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:01 PM

The probate process is about determining the legal will. But I understand your point about the two years is a bloody long time.



#20 Illiterati

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:16 PM

Yeah, I mean they all lived in the same area and would not have been unaware of their neighbours passing. Putting in a claim against the estate at time of probate for outstanding monies owed or raising the issue then would have been the appropriate time to sort this out. If they are simply trying it on then saying sorry 'too late' might be enough to put them back in their box.

#21 Zarlias

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:17 PM

My dad passed away in 2011, but they are wanting money allegedly owing from 2001.

Even if he couldn't technically resign, why has there been no communication in12 years. No notification of meetings or minutes, no rates invoices. They have installed new fencing along one side and didn't ask for a contribution. Now, all of a sudden there's $5k owed.

It's not as if they didn't know where they were.

#22 Illiterati

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:36 PM

Is there anything else happening around the properties that may be motivating this? Maybe she has a legitimate share (and this surprised them too given the history) and is a problem for plans they might have now, for example. And they are using the huge bill as a tactic to get her to relinquish her share (in settlement of the of debt).

Perhaps ring council to see if any planning or rezoning applications have been submitted in the area?

Probably unlikely - but always worth considering peoples motivations when things like this come out of he blue.


#23 JRA

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:36 PM

QUOTE
Even if he couldn't technically resign, why has there been no communication in12 years. No notification of meetings or minutes, no rates invoices. They have installed new fencing along one side and didn't ask for a contribution. Now, all of a sudden there's $5k owed


i think that is the key point. I can understand if he couldn't resign out of the company as such, but that means they would still need to communicate with him

#24 confetti

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:40 PM

QUOTE (SlowEmotionReplay @ 19/02/2013, 08:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is there anything else happening around the properties that may be motivating this? Maybe she has a legitimate share (and this surprised them too given the history) and is a problem for plans they might have now, for example. And they are using the huge bill as a tactic to get her to relinquish her share (in settlement of the of debt).

Perhaps ring council to see if any planning or rezoning applications have been submitted in the area?

Probably unlikely - but always worth considering peoples motivations when things like this come out of he blue.


I must admit to thinking this too!

#25 Domestic Goddess

Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:13 PM

QUOTE (JRA @ 19/02/2013, 08:36 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
i think that is the key point. I can understand if he couldn't resign out of the company as such, but that means they would still need to communicate with him


Yeah but if they really want to be evil, can make up some fake letters to show their attempts of communication over the past years.





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