Thinking About Suing Your HOA?

Posted on March 14, 2009. Filed under: Personalities, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Human beings share a common character flaw: we  measure our self worth by our net worth.  Our houses are often the largest assets we have.  Homes quickly become our personal sanctuary.  A place to set down roots,  raise our families,  and grow old together.  In and around our homes we surround ourselves with things we value, have personal meaning,  and further define us.   It is natural to identify who we are by the home we live in.

A recipe for disaster.  Take one disgruntled homeowner that wants to hang onto their flagpole, bronze statue (or substitute whatever item has personal meaning) and an HOA with governing documents that prohibit whatever the item is you want to hold onto.  Combine these ingredients and you have a recipe for angry claims of violations of personal freedoms and Constitutional rights.  Unfortunately the last words uttered are often “I’m going to sue” … instead of… “How can we resolve this?” 

If you are an owner considering filing a suit against your HOA, you need to consider the following:

This will be expensive.  Owners must pay their own attorneys fees.  However, your homeowners’ association may have insurance to cover its legal expenses.  Further, if you lose the lawsuit, you may very well have to pay the legal fees incurred by the association as outlined in your community’s governing documents.

You are suing yourself.  Most HOA governing documents allow the HOA to allocate the costs of the suit to its members through a special assessment.  Therefore as a member, you will also be responsible for paying your assessment (a.k.a.) your share of the legal fees to fight the suit you have brought against the association.  In the event that you prevail in the case and obtain a judgement against the association, the association can again levy a special assessment of the owners to pay the damages.  Once again, you will be paying for the suit you brought and won against the association.

Did you sign away your rights?  The courts seem to have consistently rejected the idea that owners can challenge HOAs for violating Constitutional rights.  After all, you signed a contract when purchasing your home to abide by the declaration and follow the rules.  In effect, by signing the deed, you waived these Constitutional rights.

So before angrily jumping into a lawsuit, step back and thoroughly read all the governing documents which you agreed to live by.  If the issue is clearly outlined in the documents as unacceptable or against the rules, you probably do not have a good chance of winning in the first place.  Rather than threaten a lawsuit, is there a possible compromise?  It doesn’t hurt to ask.  At the end of the day, it almost always pays to be reasonable.

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91 Responses to “Thinking About Suing Your HOA?”

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What if my main issue is that our HOA doesn’t appear tobe enforcing CC & R violations and the neighborhood as a whole seems to be on the declline ie homes in need of paint, homes painted collors other than those approved by the HOA itself?

Hopefully you have contacted the existing board of directors or management company to discuss your concerns? If you have voiced your concerns to no avail, then it is time to put your concerns in writing. Is there an active Architectural Control Committee (ACC) or Covenant Enforcement Committee? It is possible that the board is trying to do too much on their own. The board may also be acting as the ACC. Perhaps they could use some help? Volunteer your time to the board to help improve the situation, before thinking about suing.

What if my HOA management company has refused to send out any notice of fees (i.e. a schedule of fees) and then charges late fees–even after the HOA has been formally notified by certified letter? What recourse does a homeowner have against an HOA management company who charges fees without notifying homeowners the amount and due date of assessment fees?

Your association and its management company is required to give proper notice of an increase in dues. To know what “proper notice” is for your community you will need to consult your Declaration and perhaps state law depending on where you live. Many associations’ governing documents require that owners are given at least 30 days notice prior to an increase in dues going into effect.

my hoa sent me a notice to remove weeds from my flower bed, so i did. didn’t hear anything from them for 1 month then all of a sudden i got another letter telling me to appear in front of the board to see if i should be fined. i have one of the best looking yards in the neighborhood and it seems like they are targeting me. what should i do.

If I were you, I would attend the hearing before the board. Chances are this could be a simple misunderstanding. Attend the hearing and respectfully state that you removed the weeds immediately upon receiving the notice. Chances are the issue will be dismissed and you might even get a thank you for acting so quickly to remove the offending weeds. Good Luck!

What if the HOA along with mgm. person are replacing items that do not have to be replaced and not only that but the board is holding on to the management company has the worst reputation in the state. Our Pres. seems to take the side of replacing items too soon and against what a professional engineer said about the life left before replacement is needed. The report was written by an engineer who has won awards for doing this life expectany report. I just had a roof replaced at 21 years that had a 40 year guarantee and forced and I mean forced with a policeman hired by the HOA to be there when the roof on 4 condos were replaced and our $1200 skylights were removed and $200 ones replaced them. I honestly never knew skylights were that different or I would have fought the replacement all together but the lawyer for the condo wrote to Consumer affairs that an engineer said the skylights had to be replaced but she turned out to have her degree in Zoology but I heard we paid her $2,000 for checking out the roof that didn’t leak and giving her opinion and measurements for new skylights that didn’t fit one window. No one with my original skylights but the four models received a new roof and new skylights and not only did we receive a new roof but now we are the only 4 condos with a grey roof instead of the perfect designer brown one that we had before. Our HOA along with the mgm. person even fined a school teacher after she passed away at home and the mgm. person went to the closing and collected $3,750 from the attorney handling the school teachers estate. People get $500 fines like if they were $5 fines and we never see that the money goes into our funds. The Pres. is so mean that we cannot talk to them except at meetings. I called to talk to him about the 40 year roof and great skylights…never had one leak and he hung up on me after he screamed at me and the next day the attorney for the HOA wrote me that I would be fined $100 if I ever call him at work. He was the administrator of a nursing home and I happen to be a registered nurse and I know they have a minute to talk. My questions is why would any HOA Pres. be this mean to a neighbor unless the rewards were greater than keeping a friendly environment. The mgm. person works for her husband who owns the mgm. company. Thank you for reading this comment. Any decision about this problem would be greatly appreciated.

It costs nothing to protect civil right involving the fair housing act.HUD and other agencies will pay for attorney fees.If you are a victim of HOA racial or disabled crimes against yourself.By all mean fight like hell to make the HOA pay.The hell with the ideology that you are taking yourself to court some how because you are a member of a HOA,They take your money and assets.You take theirs.It like a poker game.Who ever has the most chips win.The hell with racist HOA boards.Make em pay

There is a basketball hoop in front of my house in the common area. Some kids from our neighborhood plays there everyday causing nuisance (nose, ball hitting my property, etc). This is disturbing. The HOA has rules against this and HOA doesn’t seem to be taking action to enforce this to remove the basketball hoop. I have even asked the kids parent not to play in front of my house. They don’t seem to realize that it’s causing nuisance on others. Is is advisable to sue the kid’s parents and the HOA for not enforcing the rules?

As far as I know Howard,LOL There is nothing in the fair housing act that includes basketball noise.You would have to pay a attorney and most likely would lose money.Remember,Its a poker game.You have to know when to fold em.
As far as the fair housing act goes,You do not have to be a minority to get help from HUD.Simply go to HUD website.Fill out a complaint and they will let you know if you have a case.In my situation.I do play poker,I do feel I am holding the pocket aces and The HOA that played with me are gonna pay some big bucks.I am doing this in case another vet with head trauma,will not be opened up to this kind of stress.I want to set the rule before something bad happens.After brain injuries the person has little or no control of his mood or temper.I am post 15 years and have controlled this issue in my life now.Had this happened soon after My trauma.I would have reacted very violently.I do not want this to happen to the vets returning home.

And god knows The last thing I ever wanted to do was get involved in a mess like I am in.But after being forced to sell two cars.Because I was recovering from back surgeries,I had to act.I have only lived here for less then a year.And also When I walk my dog,and see other cars in violation it just got me thinking.I had no idea this was illegal.I had no idea I had a protected class status and as far as race and disability goes.I hate stress.It takes me out of my very structured life.I wish the HOA would man up and settle.But at the same time I want them be aware if they are gonna cite people for violations then at least do it fairly.To avoid stress and lawsuits and the pursuit of happy enjoyment that every home owner deserves.Its a bummer.I hate the idea.But have no way out now.

I’m considering the idea of a law suit due to my HOA not allowing me to do an eco friendly xeriscape in San Antonio. I’ve reviewed my papers and it says keep lawn clean not what type of plants I can have. They never respond to phone calls and do nothing unless you pay them even though nothing says I should have to pay them for a response. I want to bring down the law on all San Antonio HOA like in Florida where law prohibits HOAs from denying eco landscapes.

I have owned my town home for 3 years. I also have owned 4 cars since I moved there and kept car covers on them since there are no garages.I park 3 of my cars in vistors because no one ever parks there and it lessens the chance of someone hitting or scratching them. This past May 2010 they sent me an email saying move the cars or they would be towed. I informed them that according to the laws they could not. We do not have numbered spaces in our parking lot, its a free for all and in the by laws there is not a rule about the number of cars you can own. They researched this and decided to create a rule in June saying that visitors is only for visitors and they will tow my car. I point out another flaw and a week later they changed the rule again. Yesterday they put stickers on my car and said they will tow in twenty four hours. What should I do. They keep changing the rules so they can tow my cars. These are cars I can’t make them disappear. They have been here 3 years and now they want them gone. What should I do. They are putting all this work in towing my cars but neglecting all the other problems. They are discriminating against me.

What if the Builder–which is currently the HOA board as they are still building–cause home prices to fall?

My builder is now selling homes three houses down from me that are 750SqFt larger and not of a floor plan from this community for only $2,000 more than I paid for my much smaller home. Home prices are rapidly falling in my area as a result (my home was bought for $198,000 one year ago is is now appraised at $169,000). Why should I be forced to stay in the HOA? Our community has almost no common spaces (a sign in front on about 1/10th of an acre long and a “walking trail” that has five picnic benches). SO what purpose does this HOA serve? The builder is the cause of the price declines and have introduced homes from their more luxurious communities in a bid to bring buyers into our area (a builder outside of our area has been building lower-quality, much-bigger homes at a much cheaper price which is causing a price war). Besides losing $30,000 which I will probably never see again I am stuck having to agree to the covenants which are supposed to keep home prices in check over here which is clearly impossible given the builders own price war against its previous buyers! Any thoughts on this are much appreciated!!

My HOA refuses to provide ANY documents regarding Minutes, Owner List with contact information for emergency situations or when non-owner tenants are problematic, they won’t issue annual documentation Notice of Member Rights to Minutes
Notice of Right to Submit Secondary Address
Architectural Review Procedures
Notice of Assessment Increases

RECENTLY:
on 7/25/2010 there was a small fire caused by a thrown cigarette but of a non-owner-tenant and the HOA did nothing. There were many other small fires for the same reason this summer.

Then on 8/25/2010 there was a full blown fire which resulted in the entire building burning down.

ALL OF US HAD TO FIND TEMPORARY HOUSING.

Now the HOA refuses Owners the right to veiw the insurance binders or have the contact information of the person that started the fire in unit #232.

WHAT ARE OUR RIGHTS TO INFORMATION?

If the HOA is liable for the damage, why would the condo owner have to pay the legal fees. Depending on the case, the judge would side with the owner. Don’t you think?

You assume the HOA has documents that aren’t “less than perfect”.

What happens when the HOA board is full of people who aren’t educated enough to understand the documents or the advice their own counsel provides?

I have discovered that suing the board for malfeasance is nearly impossible, even though there is evidence of fraud, commingling of funds and complete incompetence….on a scale that would astonish the average person.

Blinded by their own agendas….the board continues to twist the facts or completely ignore them. The HOA board HAD to sue the people who refused to pay fees that can not be tracked to a governing document that allows (gives authority) the HOA to collect, levy or enforce the fees they want to collect!

Now we are facing legal fees that we are positive will never be collected…even if they win! The people being sued are penniless….so we just dumped $300,000 and the trail is more than a year away.

What if you are a delinquent homeowner, and the HOA have the security guard to deny your visitors. No family members can visit you, nor can you drive their car thru the gate. Also, they seem to have targeted you because you are a single parent or some other reasons. They won’t accept any checks you send ($400 +) nor payment proposal. They want the full balance $5000 (over half is interest-18% percent). I can’t even have a babysitter over to watch my kids. It’s always something different each time with them.

Reading all of these comments is shocking!
It is clear that HOAs are a form of govenment more closely related to the Soviet Union than our American democracy.
There is only one party, and they are entrenched. They count the ballots, and cheat, no oversight is provided to stop it. There is no free press, the ‘newsletter’ is as ridiculous as Pravda ever was. There is no independant judiciary, how absurd!
HOAs make lawyers happy…period. Homeowners are simply transfering their equity from their homes into the lawyers pockets….now excuse me…..I am preparing to sue my HOA for ignoring its own governing documents, the general laws of the state, and fundemental priciples of democracy.
What a joke!

I started to write a comment but started reading the other comments. HOA appears to be a dictatorship that we blindly walk into and cann’t get out of. Any help finding solutions or being pointed in the right direction would be helpful. I am going to serve on the Board but the mess is so bad that I am not sure it will ever be ok. Everything was done with good intentions but what a mess. Sandy

Please! Everyone knows HOAs are a scam that make money for lawyers. They are designed to reach into our wallets and even the equity in our homes as often as they like.
It sickens people when they discover what a joke amatuer volunteer government is, especialy when they accumulate more power than even public government has. They become entre

This is, pardon the bluntness, bullshit.

You are not “suing” yourself, you are suing an entity that has far overstepped it’s authority and like all tyrannys…..only because they can “get away with it”.

It is financialy dangerous as hell, I will give him that, which only aids and abets the HOA.

I have lived in a neighborhood with an association for almost 4 years (will be on May 12, 2011). The Board of Directors was the builder of my home and several of the homes in this neighborhood; they went out of business and still sit on the Board and the secretary hasn’t worked for them in 3 years? That’s a whole other story.
My question is, the Board “designated” 5 “witch hunters” to sit on a committee, which they refer to (the homeowners that sit on the committee) as the Advisory Board. The By-Laws clearly state that we can have a liason that reports back to the Managing Agent with any problems and/or concerns. One of the five of these people takes it upon himself to go to the person(s) home and complain to them, telling them that he’s giving them warnings which is clearly against what the By-Laws state.
We had an incident today where he came on to our property and even though I repeatedly yelled at him to leave and get off of my property he stayed and continued adding fuel to the fire. This is the 3rd time this butthead has come to our home regarding issues that clearly we aren’t in violation of. Our by-laws clearly state no 2 or 3-D ornamental object shall be in the front yard. He has one. And when we complained about it the managing agent stated that the Advisory Board (which this jerk sits on) had to get together and make a decision on whether it has to be removed. The By-Laws state that if there is any conflict the By-Laws stand and have the final say.
I want to sue for harrassment as we’ve received several notices that say we’ve left trash cans at the road (which we have cameras up all around our home to prove otherwise plus we pay the trash man extra money every month to pick the trash cans up at the designated spot) as well as the construction site trash can we placed on the side of our yard since we are adding a deck in the backyard (there’s is nothing stating that we have to ask for permission). What should we do?

I have lived in my home for 25 years and there was only an architectural covenants when we purchased our home. Five years ago according to the orginal covenants, there were instructions if after 20 years you wanted to start new covenants for an HOA. A supposed vote was taken but didn’t pass, so they sent people to residents homes giving them gifts and getting signatures for the gifts and then using these signatures as a vote. Then then said it passed and started billing and collecting fees. To make a long story short they did not collect from all home owners some didn’t have to pay. There were homes that did not have HOA liens on them. They did not keep records or minutes and sent out letters asking if any one had the minutes. The started foreclosures on homes and got orders of possession for the homes, by the way these homes are $500,000. homes. In their covenants they gave themselves the right to foreclose on homes and they can bid on the homes themselves and you the resident can never get possession of your home back again. This HOA does nothing for the homes, these homes are on 1 and 2 acr lots. The cut grass on the street turning into our subdivision which we have paid for for years in our property taxes. The township has cut this grass ever since i have lived here., we don’t get a credit from our taxes and we pay for it again in these corrupt dues that are illegally charged. After you read this I am sure you can see why one finding this out should sue this HOA I believe that this little corrupt government should be stopped. When you become aware of anything that is not right you should do something immediately before it can ‘t be stopped. If you know it and don’t do anything, they can use the statue of limitations to get away with corrupt dishonest wrong doings. They think they own you and can abuse you and your civil rights. Stop them now!

What self serving nonsense.
You are not suing “yourself”. You are suing a corporation run by unqualified amatuers who don’t have any idea of their responsibilites are under the law.
You are suing a corporation who retains an attorney who is just giddy that the above situation breeds lawsuits.
You are suing a corporation with no checks and balances, no oversight and as such typicaly acts “contrary to the law, the governing documents and fundemental principles of democracy” (quote AARP amicus brief Twin Rivers New Jersey)
The courts are begining to side with homeowners more and more, stripping their power to fine in 2 states, calling it an “Unconstitutional delegation of police and judicial powers to a private entity”.
As soon as all legislative and police and judicial powers are stripped from these organizations, only then will homeowners be safe from the most serious risk to the equity in their homes….their Homeowners Association.

I guess hoa boards can do what ever they want( violate hoa laws and bully poor uninformed homeowners) knowing that homeowners do’nt have the financial security to take them to court?

What if your next door neighbor is a lookout for the board and continues to report everything you do wheather it is true or false. No fees, nothing in writing. And plans to move you out. For neighbors older in age.

My HOA has spent all of our dues on chasing dead beats late on their dues, we get a lien filed but the attorney loves to pursue these collection efforts to the enth degree. He’s been paid, we have judgements and have not received a dime. I vote no everytime to pursue these costly collection efforts but am always out voted. Assuming we never get our $30,000 back isn’t their a way to sue the HOA for being negligent with the Association’s dues?

My HOA board was contemplating suing me. One of the board members stated this outside of the executive session in which the potential litigation suit was posted on facebook for everyone to see. I thought that as an HOA board member, any current or potential litigation was not to be discussed outside of executive session and especially should not be posted in a public forum.

Do I have any rights as a homeowner concerning this? Can I sue my HOA for blatantly violating non-disclosure by the board concerning matter of this type?

What can be done when a HOA makes no response to a complaint? I have a next door neighbor who has built a fence between my property and theirs, which is clearly a violation of our Master Association codes. Up till now, all bordering properties have had open wrought-iron fences. This person moves into the neighborhood and decides to put a barrier between me and them, presumably because they don’t like the color of my skin. I filed a complaint with the Association, but they refused to even send someone to look at the fence from my side. They also refuse to discuss any steps they’ve taken to get the person in violation to take the fence down. I am a retired widow who does not have the money to sue them. What can I do?

This kind of thing happens routinely in HOAs. They either renneg on permission actualy given to build something like that, or ignore a violation if that suits them.
The HOA attorney could care less about the law or documents, he gets paid to impose the BOD’s will.
If you believe that your ethnicity or religion is the cause of the problem, then by all means complain to the attorney general of the State.
Try to get one of these people to say something racial, that would help.
And yes, HOAs discriminate along ethnic and religous lines all the time.
These things really are a disgrace in this country.

I find it amazing the all of the complaints come from owners that blatantly violate the covenants of the community they moved into. Our governing docs clearly state that trailers and boats must be concealed from view. A high fence in your side yard is acceptable or keeping afore mentioned objects in the garage. Two years ago one neighbour put a boat in the carport in full view. Then another parked a boat in his driveway. I have been forced to look at this driveway boat daily for a year and a half. The community now has 8 boats and at least 6 trailers. This middle class Hidden Woods, SC community has taken on the appearance of a low class community with greatly reduced desirability from potential buyers. My point is that if the Board will not enforce the covenants, replace them and if you do not wish to follow the established rules of a community……”Move”

My HOA refuses to repair the cement foundation inside my condo and it is very weak and threatening to fall into the unit below mine. It has been over 6 weeks since i submitted a written request but no one has even taken a look at the foundation. I spoke to the president of the HOA and he wanted to talk about my February fees being late but never said when he would look at the foundation or anything about repairing it. what can I do because this is a very hazardous situation.

My HOA is now threatening to fine me for use of my portable a/c unit which I have used for over two years now. The management office even has a window a/c unit which they have outlawed.

My HOA board is asking all residents to remove any patio covers due to up coming painting of the buildings at out expense. The HOA board sent out a letter stating if the residents do not comply the HOA will have it removed and charge the residents for the costs. The HOA stated that in the architectural approval agreement that was signed and submitted to the board to have the patio covering installed it says to have it removed due to maintenance is the residents responsibility. Well when we moved in here years and years ago no such agreement process existed and prior property managers advised me I would be grandfathered into pre-approval process and be exempt from being responsible yet the current HOA board is still demanding it is the residents responsibility. Bottom line there is no signed written agreement from me on file. Do I still have to comply?

HOAs are vehicles for small minded people to exercise a little power. My board is consumed with maintaining control, power, and old ideas. Questioning thier authority will earn you the title of “TROUBLE MAKER”. I will never live in another community that has an association and we should all work with our local goverments to reclaim this responsibility. Deed restrictions, zoning, and movtivated goverment officials are finally beginning to understand that HOAs do not fill the gap they so gladly relinquished because these power hunting people do not operate in the best interests of the community. Contact your elected officials and ask them to outlaw these dysfunctional organizations once and for all.

The HOA had refused to fix the front door of my building resulting in a renter leaving because of safety issues. This problem has been going on for over a year and now I am losing my income because the HOA did not fix the doors. What can I do?

What you need to do is send a certified, return receipt (green card) letter to your association. I would send copies to your management company and each board member. In the letter you should state what the safety issue is, the implications if this does not get fixed, the amount of time that this has been an issue, if you have monetary damages then justify how much the monetary damages have added up so far. Finally, request a deadline that the HOA intends on fixing the problem by. Also mention that you want to be kept informed about the status of the repairs.

By doing this, the HOA has now been “formally” put on notice that there is a safety issue. By sending the letters registered, return receipt, you then have a card that shows that the HOA, management company and board, has received your complaint. If the HOA chooses not to fix the problem, it then can be seen as “willful” thereby opening them up to a lawsuit if someone does get hurt.

Our HOA board has fired our management company and changed over to self management. At first, because of the lowering of the monthly HOA fees, we thought it was a great idea. But now, it appears that a clique of homeowners (that includes the board members) has formed, and those of us who are not a part of that group, are being bullied and socially tormented. We are being yelled at, glared at, spoken to crossly, fined and chastised whenever accused of anything anyone we know (or they think we know) has does anything. It is extremely uncomfortable and frightening to be on-site now, and there doesn’t seem to be any type of appeals process to fight back or defend ourselves. We are hiring a management company to rent our unit out, because my husband and I do not want to be there anymore. Is there any one to complain to about this, and can the Board be forced to bring in a real management company to properly run our development?

My COA in Montgomery Co. Md, sent out the full budget for 2013. To our suprize they also listed what each homeowner pays within Condo Fees,the amount that is owed to the COA and what balace that individual homeowner has with the COA. Is this allowed for public knowlage?? What rights do we have as a homeowner to protect our Financial information? Please let me know ASAP

Angel

I live in Texas so you will need to check your laws in MD, however in Texas the information you describe is considered confidential and cannot be disclosed to the general public. The information you describe is intended only for the Board members, management company, and attorney in which action taken is done in a closed portion of the meeting. Again you will need to check the laws of your state or contact an attorney for advice.

In my opinion, others please chime in, you need to look at your DCRs and Bylaws. An HOA is not required to hire a management company that is a decision of the Board. So if the Board has decided to move forward without a management company then the only way you can change that is by making the board actually hire a management company. If the Board is refusing to do so and you have enough support in the neighborhood, then you can see if in your bylaws or DCRs what the process is to remove Board members. If there is no process outlined in your DCRs and Bylaws how to remove the Board members then you must wait for elections and vote new people in.

Thank you…

I live in a HOA townhouse community in NJ that has mixed home models. Majority of the homes have garages and consequently driveways. Driveways are part of common property and only the home owners who own the home with the garage are allowed to park on the driveways due to the fact that ingress and egress traffic to the garages cannot be blocked by anyone else but the home owner. All homeowners pay the same maintenance fee ; meaning that homeowners without garages are paying for the upkeep of the driveways that are in essence ‘assigned’ parking for the home owners with garages. The garage home owners abuse this system by booking spots with their second/third/fourth or visitors cars in front of the houses of home owners without garages. The home owners without garages fight for any spots to park even a single car. That is my scenario. One time I was left with no spots anywhere close to my house and parked in an open spot in front of a garageless home owners home and sure enough she came knocking at my door being abusive and threatening to double park behind my car. She had five other neighbors standing behind her that were being spiteful. Not one person saw that I had parked there because I had no other options. All they wanted to do was bully and threaten me. I am a young single woman and I have been sending pictures of visitors and other home owners’ cars parked in front of my house to the HOA and despite several bandaid attempts from them to resolve the issue, it has only escalated to a hostile situation. I have requested the HOA to consider providing one spot per household to solve this probelm.I have walked around the neighborhood and gone door to door rallying for support. I was able to get a positive response from 1/3rd of the home owners without garages. A select few did not want to get involved, and many of course weren’t around to answer their doors. Despite providing the HOA with the results, they are adamant this is not a big enough issue to change the bylaws to accomodate this fairness. They have been delaying this resolution and closing the case baselessly. I am on my way to write a letter to the mayor and my township’s Public Safety Dept. I don’t know if they will be able to help. Will I stand any chance if I sue my HOA for unequal rights ( aka unspoken assigned parking for garage home owners while nothing for the others). What type of law firm deals with these types of situations and any suggestions for a good lawyer ? I am desperate. My peace of mind is at risk and any sense of pride in homeownership is comprimised. Please please help.

All HOA’s must die

I live in a subdivision where the president of the HOA has built a metal storage building on a non-adjacent to his home lot, which is clearly against the deed restrictions. The rest of the board went along with it because they’re “buddies” and they said that it had been “approved by a previous board”. This has set a “presidence” so several other homeowners are planning to do the same. I’ve been told by realtors that this will definately decrease our property values. I can’t afford to spend a lot of money to sue him and he knows it. Is there an agency or something that can help me go after him before it gets out of hand and the subdivision turns into a storage facility? He has done the very thing that he was elected to keep other members from doing! Is there a criminal case here? I’d appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks, RL

Nope! Welcome to HOA Land! There is nothing you can do when the HOA board violates the governing documents, general laws of the state or fundemental principles of democracy. The HOA lawyer would LOVE for you to spend your entire life savings on a lawsuit. Win loose or draw the HOA attorney ALWAYS wins!
Worse, the courts extend the “strong presumption of validity” that deed restrictions come to court with to to the HOA itself…..they are clueless about these pathetic places.
So when you go to court, expect a giddy association attorney and a hostile judge.
Sound good? Why do you think people under 50 want NOTHING to do with these miserable places!

Hosted and produced by Shu Bartholomew, On The Commons is a weekly radio show dedicated to discussing the many issues surrounding mandatory homeowner associations, the fastest growing form of residential housing in the nation.

Problems with associations are legendary and the horror stories, legion. For as long as there have been residential associations, people have been trying to tweak them to make them work. So far the problems have multiplied like rabbits and the horror stories have intensified by the day. Legislation, training sessions, licenses, tomes of scholarly works have failed to find a solution that would work. Notwithstanding the fact that some of the best minds in the country have offered their thoughts, ideas and possible solutions to the dilemma of what has happened in the residential America, the situation just seems to go from bad to worse.

Joining us On The Commons is Bill Davies. Bill is an attorney in Texas who has, by necessity and as a means of self protection, become an expert on residential associations. Join us in this casual and breezy discussion where we ask whether associations protect property values, as they are rumored to and whether associations will ever work or if the concept of a happy association is a canard.

On The Commons is broadcast every Saturday from 2-3 PM ET on Radio Fairfax. In the Northern Virginia area, On The Commons can be heard on Cox Cable, Channel 37 and Verizon Channel 27. On Comcast channel 27 in Reston in addition to several more cable channels all across Northern Virginia. To listen LIVE globally on the internet, go to http://www.radiofairfax.com and on the go, on your mobile devices, http://tunein.com/radio/Radio-Fairfax-s24818 / The show will be available on http://onthecommons.us/ shortly afterwards. Please also visit our archives at http://onthecommons.net .

While it is true you technically are “suing yourself” if you sue your HOA, it doesn’t tell the complete story, it is not as black or white as that. In a situation where your HOA is breaking state laws and not acting in good faith, whether that be in using funds inappropriately and/or not releasing HOA documents upon request per lot owners, the homeowner has a right to sue to compel them to act according to the law. In these circumstances, if the homeowner wins the lawsuit, the new board can sue the former board to recover all the costs in association with the suit, meaning the board can be held personally liable for financial damages. The homeowner should have the right to recover lawsuit costs from HOA if they HOA was acting in bad faith, and all the homeowners should have the right (under the new board) to get reimbursed any special fees incurred from a law suit that transpired due to the board’s purposeful act of bad faith. If the board knowingly acts in bad faith there has to be some repercussions.

well we have a COA, and we have done everthing by the book to have that ONE member of the so called board terminated and placed an actual temp. council in place. He has been the only board member since late June 2012, but refusess to step down along with the Managment Company. We are having a terible time getting rid of both. The person who was on the board (the one man show) took upon himself to have people towed who live in the community and placing rules that he felt were in his understanding of the Bylaws. We have a new contract with a new Managment Co. But again they are being blocked for starting the transfer stage from the old Managment group and the old board member. We need to know what we can do at this point, we are frustrated because we want to move forward but we are not allowed to. Please note, all certified letters had been sent out and received to all parties for their termination. But again they are not allowing the new council or the new Managmemt co. to take over. What can we do??
Thank you,
Angel

Sure there are State Laws but many do not have any penalties for an HOA not to follow them. So why bother bringing the to court when there are no penalities. When it is pointed out a Board is not in compliance with state laws, they don’t feel any need in complying because there are absolutely no consequences to do so.

In many cases, if a resident prevails against an HOA in a lawsuit, attorney fees for the homeowner are not automatically granted. Opposed to the HOA where they are more likely to recover their attorney fees.

States should have oversight Boards that govern HOA’s where residents can file complaints against their association, management company and attorney. These Boards should have the right to enforce state laws, provide a mechanism to residents to have their complaint fairly heard without having to spend thousands of dollars and years trying just to get records from the association and to ensure the compliance of an association with state laws. This Oversight Board can act similar to the Better Business Bureau where future residents can look at the history of a subdivision to see if they are being managed properly, what complaints have been filed, and if this is a community that they want to move into.

My wife and I bought our new home four month ago. It’s a non garaged townhome and we bought the house from a couple who lived there since the house was built 20yrs ago and has parked in the same lots since. Recently the HOA reassigned our parking spaces in response to a parking dispute that has beeen going on with two families. One of the family have lived in their home for eight years and the other family recently moved in. Apparently, the family that recently moved in accused the family that had lived in their home for eight years that they are parking at their space because they were told when buying their home that that particular spot belongs to them. Well…they bought a foreclosed home and my understanding is that the HOA penalized the previous owner by taking one of their spot for falling behind on their dues and gave it to another home owner that lives in another block. If that spot can be reassign to the home that was foreclosed, then everyone will have their two spaces right in front of their home. I was not aware of the dispute until I received a letter almost two weeks ago about the reassign spaces. I came to the understanding that there was a board meeting (I was not aware of), that the issue was discussed and the board members suggested that my consent should be taken before the reassignment. The HOA sent two different certify letters to me, both the same wording except that one had an option to object in three days from the post date of the letter and one doesn’t have an option to object. The one without an option to object was sent to all the homes in our block and the other was sent to us only. The letters which were basically informing me of the change instead of seeking my consent came via certify mail and both of them arrived the same day, which means that my consent was not taken into considering before the final decision. I however wrote back and object and I didn’t hear back from them until the reassignment goes in effect yesterday, and that’s in reply to an email I sent yesterday threatening to suit. They told me that my objection was denied and the agent didn’t address my concern about how they went about the process. He also discredited my claim that the move will affect the value of my home. There is a lot more into this story that I didn’t explain in this email. However, I will appreciate if I can get some advise on if I should sue the HOA.

Before filing suit, you should look at your DCR’s, bylaws and any other governing documents to see what is mentioned about the parking situation and how it is to be handled by the HOA. Does the HOA have the right to assign parking? Do they have a right to take it away as a fine for not paying dues? Etc Once you have an understanding of what the powers of the Board are, then I suggest you first seek resolution with the Board themselves in a face-to-face meeting. If a compromise is not reached, then you could consider your legal alternatives. If you choose to go to court, you can then prove in court that you made an effort to seek resolution without legal action. The decision to file a claim against your HOA is up to you. If you can prove that your HOA board has acted outside of their “fudiciary responsibilities” and did not act with the best interest in the community in mind, the HOA board members can be personally sued. The director and officer insurance as well as the indemnity clause in your governing documents may not protect the Board if they are acting outside of their fudiciary responsibilities therefore become personally liable for the suit.

Thank you very much fishette86. Your input is very helpful.

What if the HOA never gave a summary of disclosure and we did not find out till after we signed the contract to buy and had been living here for 4 to 5 months, never approached buy anyone representing the board. We also found out that when we moved in there was not a registered HOA with the county were we live till after a year of living here. We were late 2 years paying our dues . Now they are trying to make us pay for demand of payment letters from a lawyer and have put a foreclosure lien on our home. We have denied that we owe lawyer fees and interest because we never signed anything agreeing to that. How do we fight that when they will not respond to certified letters asking for proof that we owe this claim?

My neighbor came to my door asking me if I just went to the bathroom about 5 minutes ago and I said yes. She asked me if I was having any plumbing problems and I said no. She told me that they were doing some work and hit some pipeline and now all of the plumbing from My unit was going into their condo. She said she went to ask our other neighbor if he was having problems but she said he wasn’t home. I told her good luck and closed my door. About 20 minutes later she came back and told me that they got a plumber and he wanted me to flush both of my toilets and I did. After that I have not seen or spoken to them. Then all of the sudden about a month later, I get a notice from my HOA that me and the other neighbor (the one that wasn’t home at the time) are stuck paying the bill. I called our HOA rep. and she said to write an email explaining exactly what happened and that we would not have to pay so I did exactlythat. The next month I got another notice saying I needed to pay it. I called her again and she said the board decided that they couldn’t decide who’s unit it was coming from so we all had to split it up 3 ways. I was so pissed so she said “Well you can come to the board to fight it” SO I DID….And guess who was on the board????YEP the lady who drilled through the pipeline. How can they get away with this? I even brought in all of our rules and regulations to that meeting and they didn’t even care. That lady told our HOA rep. that when she came over and asked me if I was having problems I said I was and she knows that is a down right lie…I will NEVER buy another home with an HOA. They can and do whatever they want.

The unit above mine has a hardwood floor, and my HOA’s master deed states that no owner can put down a hard surface (i.e. hardwood floor) without installing minimum soundproofing as approved by the board. No one can show me a document, however, that shows the exact thickness required, indicating that the board never approved a minimum requirement. However the HOA/board refuses to mediate the sound problem that is resulting. What are my legal avenues to prove that a hardwood floor is illegal according to the HOA bylaws if no soundproofing requirement was ever set? I live in SC.

My management in a dispute of a covenant issue had charged my account for legal fees. I never did receive anything from the lawyer and both parties are refusing to give me documentation on the charges. Are they not required to forward documents pertaining to my property to me??

I would think that they would be required to prove that the charges were valid. Otherwise they can just make up charges and say that you owe them such an amount. Just like they would demand that you prove you paid your HOA dues by providing a canceled check, the HOA should have to prove the attorney fees they incurred due to your dispute. That should not be part of the “attorney-client” privledged information.

What if you live in a town home complex where the builder added two different new condo complexes and the new condo buyers get to use our gym and our HOA fee has not decreased and we have no new ammenities from the new complexes.

I’m having problems with my HOA and property manager, also. I have been informed in writing that, even though we are not assigned parking spaces, traditionally the closest 2 to the front door should be reserved for use by that unit. I, however, am evidently the only one who was told that. My next door neighbor always parks in the 2nd closest space to my unit. His next door neighbor always parks in the 2nd closest space to his unit. And so on. The bylaws state that each unit is entitled to 2 spaces. Unfortunately, that only applies to 49 units, and my 1 unit is only allowed 1 space. Because my neighbors are allowed to park in spaces not closest to their unit, while I have been told that if the 2nd space that should be for my unit is occupied, my guests should be sent to the extra parking near the pool. I spoke with the representative of the property management company, and he said that he agreed with me that it’s not right, fair or just. However, he’s not going to enforce the bylaws for each unit to have 2 spaces, nor will he inform anyone, but me, that the closest 2 spaces to a unit’s door should be available to that unit.

I bought a townhouse in Aug. Things were quiet until Nov when theh a/c was no longer needed and the neighbor is hard of hearing and plays his music loudly and because the removed a wall in their loft, the music goes into my upstairs bathrooms and hence into both bedrooms. To make things worse, they moved in their divorced daughter and 2 small grand children and now it sounds like the building is falling apart when someone goes upstairs! I have contacted the neighbors with no success and the same with the HOA. I now have just contacted the city who is looking to see if a permit was issued for the work (I think the son-in-law removed the wall). The daughter is now working in a bar and comes home any where between midnight and 4 AM. I have tried switching bedrooms but she sleeps in the loft and we hear each other no matter which bedroom I use.

Any suggestions on what can be done if the city doesn’t help? I am almost at my wit’s end! Thanks.

THERE WAS A FLOOD IN MY CONDO, ONE PIPE BROKE AND IT WAS DAMAGED, AND THEY DO NOT WANT TO REPAIR IT WELL, WHAT CAN I DO?

My association is refusing to fix my pation drain line. In 2010 they send a plumbing company to unclogged th drain. Line was unclogged and plumbing company stated that it was damged by the association roots. Now the association stated that it’s my responsiblitie to clean mantain the line clean which I have done. They hire a professional lascaping company and he stated that the line has been damaged by the association roots. Both companies refused to get me a copy statating that I should get it from the association because they were hire and paid for then. I called the association and they are refusing to give me a copy. Should I take the association to the small claim Depaertment?

Raul

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The HOA Board of directors has recently enacted changes to the Architectural Guidelines, prohibiting “For Rent” or “For Lease” signs in yards. This directly impacts real estate management companies as well as private homeowners that own rental property in the subdivision.

What is the best approach to having this overturned?

The first thing to do is to see what your DCR’s say (Deed, Covenants and Restrictions) concerning the topic. If your DCR’s cover this topic, then read to see what the requirements are if a DCR is going to be changed. A DCR normally will require a vote of the membership in order to change the rule. For example my DCR’s specifically state that a person has the right to have renters (must be a single family) and that I can place one sign on my property that my home is available For Lease (not For Rent). In the last section of my DCRs is where it states that for the section that refers to signage and the renters it will take a two-thirds vote of the entire membership to change those particular rules. This is the contract that you agreed to when you signed up in your HOA

If your DCR’s are silent on the topic or for that matter any other topics, then it is within the right of your HOA Board to pass guidelines (also known as clarifications) without the approval of the membership. Typically in the DCRs there will be a phrase that essentially gives all control to the board or their designees to restrict the property as they see fit.

Group home for violent mentally disturbed teens was erected across the street of our house in a community zoned for single family homes only as described in our HOA rules.Our property value has dramatically decreased over the years and have had these teens on our property and in our garage on many occasions.Police reports have been filed and complaints been sent to the Prosecutor’s Office and also the private company that runs these group homes.We have a 5 year old daughter that lives with us,when will it be too late to do something about this???What happened to our daughter’s rights to live free of fear???What happened to our rights as home owners???

I have the same situation on the street next to me. The “group” home that was erected was for mentally challenged teens and young adults. There was alot of concern by the neighbors when this house was built because it was a group home. Although the presence of the group home has depressed values to a small extent, at least we do not have the problems that you have mentioned.

Our HOA looked into the group home and if it was allowed since just like your DCRs it specifies that the homes are for single family. However, we were told by our attorney that the HOA couldn’t prohibit the group home because it was protected under another law. So the best thing to do is to ask your HOA board first. Odds are they have already looked into the matter. If not you can ask them to get an opinion from your HOA attorney as to whether or not the HOA can take action under their DCR’s to have the group home removed from the subdivision.

Sonia, Have you receiving any feedback on the hardwood floor being in violation of the master deed. We’re experiencing the same… not only hardwood but ceramic & porcelain tile. The board continues to allow other upper units to do the same without recourse.

Marsha, unfortunately no. The sound continues through the ceramic tiles in the kitchen and bathroom that all units in my building have as well as hardwood. The board refuses to be involved since they claim they are not required to get involved, so I have had to recently hire a lawyer to attempt to get some relief.

I was wondering if I could/should sue my HOA if I feel the tow company wrongfully towed a vistor’s truck that was in non-vistor parking space but the numbers were not visible therefore my vistor didn’t realize it was a space a vistor couldn’t park. Neither did I. The homeowner called the tow truck to remove her truck, which he wasn’t sure either so he had her to sign the paperwork that it was an assigned parking space. I felt bad because she was there visiting me therefore I paid for the towing $175. Because we couldn’t determine if it was a numbered spot either I felt HOA should reimburse us for not updating the parking space numbers. I feel they should’ve had the numbers repainted so they can be legible . It looks more like a spot someone blotched out for not paying their HOA fees. Our HOA did acknowledge that they have to repaint the numbers but stated because it was a stain there that we should have informed our visitor to not park there and they are not reimbursing us. Remind you in was 9pm (dark). What should I do?

I have a question.. My HOA which I paid 2 years in advance is changing the color of the stone walls surrounding the community which is very different from the color they had when I purchased the property. I did not agree to the color change and want to know if they have the right to do so?? When I purchased my home and made an extension I had to get approval from the community to make sure they agreed on the color, meanwhile it was the same color I bought the house. Well what I’m being harassed about is MY backyard and area that is visible only in my yard and on my property they have no access to unless I agree which I do not. My pavers and everything match and my trees and plants are there. They threatened that I have to allow them into my property to cut my trees so they can change the color of the paint on my side of the wall or they want to sue me?? I told them I have painted it on my own and do not want anyone on my property. They continue to send letters and I’m very frustrated. Can I counter sue them??

Small Claims Court is the best and least expensive route. The HOA will have either the HOA or Insurance company attorney represent them, so have your ducks in a row. Do you believe they’re discriminating against you? I don’t believe they can remove your trees (check your Declarations) or you can countersue, adding that to the claim. Communicate everything in writing and save (emails in some states are allowed in court – check to make sure). Check your state’s statutes of limitations – if nothing is done within that timeframe, you’re safe. Conversely, if an owner is in violation of ANYTHING, have your board & HOA attorney file a Notice of Noncompliance with your City and County. Just make sure the sale of a unit with a violation does not go through. You can get a copy at the Clerk & Recorders Office. Good luck.

I live in another state and rent out my condo. The HOA notified me I had to have my skylights removed and reinstalled, at my expense, because a new roof was being installed. I agreed. The contractor has been an absolute nightmare. Even worse, the subcontractor they hired to put in my skylights has done incredibly shoddy work. They even drywalled right over the skylights they installed! My problem is, neither the contractor, its subcontractor, the HOA, or the onsite manager will speak to me. I have to reply on the kindness of my neighbors to tell me what’s going on with my unit. They have sent me pictures that curl my hair! The HOA has instructed people not to talk to me, because I complain too much and am rude. I am not a rude person, but I have contacted them about once a week, urging that the onsite manager or someone monitor the work that is being done in my unit. I have a real estate property manager who is absolutely no help, and charges $80 an hour (including drive time) to go look at my unit.

Can my HOA really refuse to communicate with me in any way?

Yep, they can choose who and when they want to communicate. If you think you are going to go further with this, like possible litigation or a demand for reimbursement, I would suggest that you start documenting all of the problems with the contractor and what they did. When contacting your HOA, contact them in a written form. However, to have “official” complaint, you should send your comments to them certified, return receipt (green card). If you have the information for the attorney of the HOA, I would send it to him also. Again certified, return receipt. By sending the message certified, return receipt your HOA cannot deny that they were not aware of the issues.

My complaint is not against my HOA, but the management company for the HOA. Community Management Corporation received a complaint letter from my neighbor. He told them that I put a volleyball net up in the common area and asked them to have me take it down. First of all, it was not in the common area, but in my yard which abuts the common area. Second, proper procedures were not followed. No one sent me a letter or checked to see if it was in the common area. CMC just had an employee of theirs enter my yard and take my volleyball net. Now I’m told that I can submit a receipt for consideration. I don’t want my dues to repay me for my volleyball net. I want CMC to replace it.

can a member of a homeowners association become a member of the homeowners association board if he has a lawsuit against the homeowners association

I deliver papers where a condo association is responsible for their own roads. They plowed but never salted the road. It rained out so this put rain onto of 2 to 3 inch ice and I hit the ice and slid into a snow bank. Someone came to rescue me and hit the same patch of ice and hit me and then into a snow bank. Is the homeowner’s association responsible for this? I just want our vehicles fixed. I don’t have a lot of money to go suing anyone…..please help me with advice.

Oh yea the HOA is responsible. Demand they pay for the damage they caused by allowing the roads to be so dangerous through their neglect, and don’t be afraid of getting a lawyer who will recover them on contingency.

What state are you in?

I have a long-standing problem with the HOA over a specific issue. When deciding to pursue legal action, I was reading the deeds when I purchased the home and it states that disputes must be through Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (“JAMS”). I signed it. But I’m confused as in a later Section it has “Disputes Relating to Enforcement of Governing Documents” (my issue with the HOA) in a different Section. Can I still sue them for non-compliance in Small Claims Court? (I’d rather take them on in Small Claims, with no presence of Attorneys, than through “JAMS” which costs $5,000 in fees I believe). Somebody please help: Thanx!

I found out ours calls for mediation too, after a Small Claims suit. Not sure but look for free legal clinics/services in your city.

Perhaps my experience in Small Claims may help encourage you and others. The final ruling was for the board to uphold the Covenants and follow CCIOA (Colorado Common Interest Ownership Act) laws. Since, I filed a complaint with the BBB against the Association & past board members. The BBB requires the complainant to state what they want for resolution which helps. Colorado also has Colorado HOA Colorado forum (www.coloradohoaforum.com) and DORA (Dept of Regulatory Agencies) who are working toward protecting homeowners rights. I’ve filed complaints with and provided in-depth information to DORA and the state legislatures.

In our case, upper units have changed from soft to hard flooring surfaces (against our covenants) to improve the value of their units while leaving the lower units with more noises. This can be a big problem for lower units when selling (Google ‘Latent and Patent Defects’. This is something that should be revealed or risk a lawsuit by a new buyer if it wasn’t) as well as disrupting what is called ‘peaceful right to live’ and add to it dissention between neighbors. A board’s fudiciary responsibility is to uphold the covenants regardless of their personal opinions or desires; so much for that since many think they’re above laws, rules & regs.

CCIOA has a 1 year statute of limitation which states if a homeowner has been in violation of something for over 1 year, the homeowner becomes protected. Therefore, it’s imperative to enforce the covenant ‘months’ prior to the end of that 1 year because of the time it takes for a board to move forward. Your Declarations should state how many days a violator has to become compliant. Be careful – one of our board members kept making promises until that 1 year mark passed, resulting in ‘violating the covenants legally’.

What I learned was: 1 – the minute you know someone is planning to violate or is violating a covenant, send a friendly/informative email (or fax with date, certified return receipt letter) with the covenant to the violator, each board member and property management company at the onset. Don’t wait! This will help prove to the court they were informed in a timely manner. 2- make as many legitimate complaints as possible. Leave out emotion, just fact. In our case, it was loud banging and nailguns for 5 plus days. Every day it was a noise complaint as carpet installation creates minimal noise. 3 – Take pictures and videos. Talk to the workmen and get them on video. Ask them if they’ve been hired from neighbors. In our case, they walked a neighbor through the unit and were hired to install a hardwood floor for them. We now have a witness in the neighbor should we go to court again, even if we have to subpoena them. 4 – Be prepared for ‘stories’. Initially we were told it was hardwood, then it was subfloor, then it was carpet. Pick one, any one right? LOL! The board felt it was their responsibility to believe carpet was installed, but NONE of the neighbors witnessed carpet/pad being cut outside (or fibers on the ground – a tell tale sign), heard tack strips nailed in or doors being cut down (the thickness of hardwoods, underlayments and carpet/pad would require doors to be cut down in order to close.) Saying carpet was installed is nothing more than a trick to wait out the 1 year statute of limitations. Further, in Colo, the board can seek a court order to require the violating materials be torn out. (CCIOA may also allow board/property management companies to enter into a unit with an owner in question to verify there aren’t any violations occurring or in place -still trying to verify this). I requested this in the BBB complaint. 5 – The board will be represented by the insurance company’s assigned attorney not the HOA attorney if the board filed an insurance claim. Chances are you will know more than the atty since it’s usually a firm the ins co picks blindly from your city who doesn’t know a thing about HOAs or City/State laws.

My recommendation? Stop expecting your board to do anything. If they haven’t so far, they more than likely won’t and valuable time is being wasted. BBB Complaint and Small Claims speak louder than words. Plus once a suit is filed, it could open the HOA to be sued many more times – a reason for the board to do their job. One board member informed me all I was doing is suing myself. My reply? At least I only have to pay 1/12 (there are 12 units in our complex) for the board to be told to do what they’re supposed to do. 6 – One to two weeks prior to court, send an email to board, property mgmt & atty saying you’re willing to drop the suit if they agree to uphold the covenants. This will also support you in court, if you go. In my case, it didn’t do the board any favors with the HOA, especially after choosing to take their chance in court, continuing to wrecklessly spend the HOA’s money.

A suit can always be settled out of court or before it starts if the board is willing to perform their duties. Give them a time frame or risk loosing your opportunity if your state has limits. And most importantly, the more small claim lawsuits that fill our courts, the sooner your state will realize HOAs are big problems (ok, not all are bad) and a city/state’s directive is unfortunately needed.

It takes a lot of time, but it’s YOUR home and investment. Don’t go quietly because that’s what they’re banking on!

I was informed of H.O.A. Fees after my closing. Was not aware of this until I received a bill for payment.

Welcome to the world of HOA’s. Some states require that you are informed about them, other states not. Do you have to pay? You better otherwise they will file liens against you and potentially foreclose against your property. Do not ever think that you have a reason not to pay your association assessments. Many people throughout the nation have lost their homes by not paying their assessments. Also be aware that you are also subject to special assessments.

Many of us have recognized HOAs for what they are – privatized corporate governments promoted and established by the Texas legislature that deny homeowners their basic constitutional protections. There was no public notice when Property Code 204 was passed. HOAs have maintained that HOAs protect property values – an outright lie. HOAs protect the income of the management companies and HOA attorneys on the backs of homeowners. So far, homeowners have fought their battles within their HOAs with much difficulty and with varying success. It is time to unite. It is time to win back our freedom.

We are organizing people who want to secure the rights of homeowners in homeowner associations, and to reduce the power of homeowner associations in Texas. To do that, we hope to locate people in every legislative district, every county, every subdivision, every condominium to form independent, self-governing organizations that are willing to unite with the HOA Reform Coalition.
Homeowners must exert the “power of the people” – that is democracy. For too many years the HOA industry has paraded its Board officers “the controllers” at legislative hearings, claiming they represent “the people”. They do not. The people are the tens of thousands harassed, fined, and targeted by the industry.

The time is now to form your independent group, e.g.: Independent Neighbors of XXXX, United XXXX Neighbors, Alliance of XXXX Neighbors, etc. After your group is formed, then please contact the HOA Reform Coalition with your list. The group name can then be listed on the website with contact information.

The HOA industry works unceasingly to maintain its income – your money. Act now to end this by uniting with your neighbors to form your independent group. The 2015 Texas Legislative Session will be coming up quickly. Our goal is to unite homeowners over the next year so that our voices will be heard during the next legislative session.

If you want to give us your name and contact information, we will send you alerts from time to time. We may ask you to write your legislator and invite you to join with other Texas Homeowners to reclaim homeowners’ rights. Click this link Tell Us About Your HOA: http://www.abouthoas.org/?page_id=2496

Although we are currently focusing on Texas, we are interested in helping other homeowners in other states. We need to create a national movement to bring these organizations under some accountability and ensure our basic constitutional rights.

HOA Reform Coalition
http://hoareformcoalition.org/

I lived in Lone Pine Ridge Mobile Home Park in Dunedin, Florida. I know that what I’m about to write here is going to unbelievable for most who read it, yet everything written here is the truth. I moved here 4 years ago from New York. I am retired and hoped to be able to live within the limits of my social security in the mobile home I purchased. I did extensive renovation to it, kitchen, bath, floors, electric and plumbing and it really turned into the cutest little home. I was quite proud! I joined the park’s H.O.A. with some of my new friends/neighbors and hoped to be an active community member. From the 1st meeting I attended I was appalled at the way the board members of this so called H.O.A. conducted their meetings and treated the residents. At every meeting they were so drunk they could barely form full sentences and if anyone (as I did) questioned why the park owners were doing anything, we were told “if you don’t like it, move”!!! I began to understand that the board members ALL worked for the owner of the park in some way and were receiving some form of compensation from him for their work. Several of the homeowners, including myself decided that this had to stop and I began working on getting a petition signed by the residents of the park to have them removed. Because of my actions, I have been verbally attacked by the park owner at my home. The board members have circulated a complaint that I filed with the D.B.P.R. against the owner to residents to “prove what a troublemaker I am”. They ride by my house 10 to 20 times a day on their “motor scooters” (because they are too drunk to walk) and yell things out. The did this for over 6 months. My daughter who lives across the street from me has been verbally attacked by the park owner and these people because of her sexual preference. We have recorded a video of the owner calling her “a fu***ing dyke”. They were involved with the owner in the death of her cat, Justin and the owner even had the nerve to tell one of my neighbors that “he was going to take care of that dyke and her cat now”. I have done everything I can do to stop these people and this owner but because they are a mob I was am afraid for my daughter’s safety and my own. We couldn’t sell our homes because the owner has the last say on if a prospective buyer can live there and turned down several interested people. In the past he has used this tactic to force residents into selling their homes to him for $1,000 regardless of how much they are worth. We lost our homes to this man and I want to file a civil suit against this H.O.A. for their part in all of the harassment but affording a lawyer is impossible at this time. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

I don’t know how to help you because you live in a different state than I do. But maybe if you contact The CCFJ Foundation: Florida’s Largest State Wide Property Owners’ Advocacy Organization http://www.ccfj.net/ maybe they can help you find an attorney or provide you with some guidance on what you can do.

What a bunch of cheap thugs. You should start with the State AG’s office and don’t take “no” for an answer!

Oh, and it is beautiful that they made the dyke comment. You can demand the AG take action regarding civil rights violations.

Mary in Florida: You and your daughter, who I’m assuming is a lesbian, have been the victims of hate crimes. Nobody should have to put up with that treatment. I hope you will contact your local prosecuting attorney and see about having charges filed against those harassers. Good luck, dear. Let us know what happens.

This article is extremely outdated. Especially for Texas. Review your state laws. Texas has FINALLY given homeowners the rights they deserve and needed to fight corrupt HOAs. But it’s still expensive to hire an attorney because the DA will not enforce the State Laws.


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    Whether you are a homeowner or a community board member, a degree of reasonableness will go a long way.

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