Official Statement on Sage Hill Demand Letters
Many Sage Hill homeowners have recently reached out to my office to share their concerns with a demand letter taped to their doors from Bridgeland Law on behalf of the Sage Hill Residents Association (SHRA). These homeowners received these letters as they have been in arrears in RA fees for more than one year. RA fees are required to be paid based on an encumbrance registered against each title to each property.
I take issue with the handling of this entire situation. During a sensitive time of fraudulent scams occurring across our city, a multi-paged letter taped to a door demanding payment would be a cause for concern for many. The letter's content struck me as alarming, with the second method of payment to be “slid under the door” of the law office. Further stating that any attempts to make a payment other than Bridgeland Law would lead to further legal fees incurred. I wanted to find out more, so my staff reached out to the SHRA requesting a meeting but was contacted by Bridgeland Law's lawyer instead. He chatted with our office yesterday afternoon, and I expressed my views candidly. He advised homeowners to read the letter, educate themselves about the process, then reach out to his law firm and negotiate a settlement. Each property case would be different.
Many folks have asked me to provide them with legal advice, however it would be inappropriate and unethical for me to do so as I am not a lawyer. What I can recommend is that residents continue the dialogue with others who also received this letter. If you know of a neighbour who received a settlement, please encourage them to share it with others and talk openly about what negotiations are being offered. You are stronger together than as individuals.
If anyone is dealing with legal counsel who they hired on their own, ask them to share those contacts. I believe a community is stronger together and connecting with one another is essential throughout these shared experiences. I was recently made aware of the Sage Hill Chat group on Facebook and encourage those affected to join in on the conversation.
I would also encourage you to learn more about representing yourself at small claims court. I have attached below a few available resources regarding civil claims and self-representation for all to review and reference.
- Pro Bono Law Alberta - Provides legal advice, information on court procedures, assistance with document preparation and review, and help to prepare for trials, motions, and other appearances regarding civil matters in Calgary and Edmonton.
- Provincial Court of Alberta - Provides all updated and relevant information pertaining to civil claims matters in Alberta.
Before responding to a demand letter, you should consult with a lawyer to understand your options, assess whether the claim is well-founded, determine the reasonableness of the settlement proposal, and weigh the consequences of litigation.
You may want to consider the following responses:
A. Agreeing to the resolution proposed in the letter;
B. Explaining why you disagree with the demand and negotiate a settlement; and
C. Stating that you are refusing to comply with the demand.
While ignoring the letter is also an option, you risk the sender taking legal action against you. Further, if the dispute ends up in court, the judge may not view those who ignore demand letters favorably.
What happens if you don’t pay the claim or file a dispute note?*
Ignoring the Civil Claim will not make it go away and it is likely that the Plaintiff will apply for Judgment against you. If successful, the Court will issue a Certificate of Default Judgment which the Plaintiff may file in Court of Queen’s Bench which allows them to take collection proceedings against you. A Judgment may be reported to the credit bureau and affect your credit rating.
Collection proceedings may include but are not limited to, seizure of assets, registration against land (lien) and garnishment of your wages or bank accounts.
For more information on collection processes, contact the Court of Queen’s Bench (https://albertacourts.ca/qb).
You must know your rights and document your case along the way. You should be prepared to explain the full background of your individual experience. Here are some critical questions you may want to consider documenting:
A. Did you receive an explanation from your lawyers or real estate agent notifying you that your community would be a part of the Sage Hill Residents Association at the time of signing the title?
B. Did you receive an explanation from your lawyers or real estate agent that an encumbrance would be registered against your title on the property?
C. Did you ever receive a past due notice from SHRA, C-Era Property Management & Realty, or New Leaf indicating you owe RA fees?
D. Besides the demand letter from Bridgeland Law taped to your door, did you ever receive confirmation or proof that the title owners received this letter? (For example, when Amazon provides a photo of the package delivered to your door).
E. Have you ever received an invitation to attend / join the SHRA AGM or receive any AGM meeting minutes?
F. Has SHRA provided every member with the AGM minutes and annual reporting as well the most recent financial statements?
G. Have you ever seen signs or flyers around your community, advertising for the SHRA AGM?
H. Have you tried to contact the SHRA in the past, and been successful in obtaining a response from a board member?
As your City Councillor, I am here to help mediate the situation and hear your stories. I hope you can all continue to share your experiences with your neighbours and publicly disclose what settlements are being offered (if you do not have a non-disclosure agreement in place). I hope that once this matter is resolved, Sage Hill will form an RA that is based on strong community core values, and in this adversity, I am proud to see so many of you are showing that collaborative spirit.
*Photo Source: https://sagehillyyc.com/
Categories: General, SHRA, Sage Hill