If your home resides in a Homeowners Association or HOA, it can provide great benefits to you and help increase your home’s value. The HOA may provide community amenities, such as pools, recreation or workout facilities and event or gathering space. Moreover, the HOA likely has rules and regulations that govern the appearance of homes within your community. These regulations help to protect home values throughout the community.
When a buyer purchases a home within an HOA, they agree to be bound by the authority of the HOA as set forth in the governing documents called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions or CC&R. Based on the authority provided in these documents, HOAs establish other bylaws or rules for the community. Both the CC&R and any Bylaws are available to prospective homebuyer’s prior to purchasing a property within the community. Because these documents are available to potential buyers and the covenants run with the land, a homeowner is bound by these restrictions regardless of their specific knowledge of the restrictions.
What types of Disputes Arise Between HOA’s and Homeowners?
Disputes can arise when a homeowner fails to pay its HOA dues or when a homeowner attempts to do something that is in violation of the rules of the community. For example, the homeowner may build a shed without obtaining proper approval or paint the home an unapproved color. Generally, the homeowner will first receive notice of the violation via letter and in some cases the HOA may bring suit to enforce the rules of the community. Finally, a homeowner may chose to bring suit against the HOA if he or she feels the HOA is not fulfilling its duties under the CC&R or Bylaws.
If you are involved in an HOA dispute, either as a homeowner or association, the knowledge of an experienced real estate attorney can help you to obtain the best and faster resolution to your issues. Real estate attorneys who have experience working with HOA disputes will be able to quickly read the governing documents for your community and provide you with guidance on the best course of action to move forward.
What services do you offer to Homeowner’s Associations?
The most common issue facing all Homeowner’s Associations is owners who fail to pay their dues or assessments. Because HOA’s are run on a tight budget, homeowner’s that do not pay can have a significant effect on the entire community. When a homeowner gets particularly delinquent, the other homeowners are essentially stuck “footing the bill” for that delinquent homeowner through increased assessments. As such, it is important that HOAs have an experienced and skilled real estate attorney who can help collect on those past due balances and who is well versed in alternative collection methods that can be used prior to foreclosure.
Additionally, as HOAs are run by members of the community who have jobs and other obligations, many HOA boards do not have the time to review and understand all the terms of the Declaration or bylaws. Therefore, it may be beneficial for the HOA to hire an attorney to review the documents prior to making any major decisions that affect the community. Finally, if you have residents that are violating the rules of the association by using unauthorized paint colors or building sheds on their properties, it is important that you take quick action to address these issues as your failure to act can result in the inability to later enforce those restrictions. I can assist with drafting and preparing letters to homeowners who are in violation of these restrictions or if necessary file suit to enforce the covenants.
What services do you offer to Homeowner’s who live in HOA’s?
Homeowners may have questions about the powers of the HOA or the restrictions on their property. The CC&R and Bylaws are often lengthy documents filled with legal jargon. Therefore, having an experienced attorney review those documents can help you to better understand your options. Moreover, if you are being sued by an HOA for violations of the covenants, having an attorney who has experience defending against such actions will allow you to fully protect your rights as a homeowner within the community.