All I want to do is pay you! So....
Part of the services rendered by title agents is gathering information relating to liens placed by homeowner's association or condominium associations or collection of past due amounts.
Over the last year or so all of the local homeowner's associations have begun charging a fee to THE TITLE AGENT which fee must be paid BEFORE they will even issue a statement of acount to us. These fees range from $50 and up. The homeowners associations will not allow us to collect the fee on the HUD and require that we give them our credit card information at the time we request the statement of acount. Once we pay them they send the statement, and THEN we see that the account has been referred to an attorney for collection. So, the next step? Contact the attorney to get the actual pay off statement! Oh, but wait, it gets even better! The attorney won't give us the pay off statement until we PAY THEM for the statement. The attorneys are charging not less than $100 for their statement and again we are being required to give the attorneys our credit card information so that the pay off statement can be generated. In some cases we can pass these fees on to the sellers; but in cases of foreclosure it is sometimes an uphill battle to get the seller to reimburse us for these fees. It's not fair to charge the fee to the consumer, the consumer is already paying us to provide a service to them, which services includes clearance of liens! So, the title agent ends up in many instances eating the cost!
Our fees are stagnate as it is. We can't continue to pay other people's bills and make a profit. But, we can't ignore the payment of the HOA or CONDO fees. So, it's a true catch 22!
I do not understand how this can be called anything less than extortion! I have to pay for the privilege of getting information to enable me to pay a creditor! Are these firms taking a page out of the play book of big banks? It seems so.
I will be working with the Maryland Land Title Association to see what we can do to address this extortionist practice in Maryland. If you are having the same problem in your state, please take the issue up with your state Land Title Association. Unless we all take a stand this practice will continue!