The intent of a homeowners’ association is to manage certain aspects of a community, such as the maintenance of common areas, as well as protect the values of the homes in the community. While there are many benefits to an HOA, there may be times when the responsibilities and power of this governing body conflict with the best interests and rights of the homeowners. It is possible these situations could lead to disputes that may require legal action in order to resolve in a satisfactory manner.
If you live in a neighborhood that has an HOA, you will benefit from having a clear understanding of your rights as a resident. This will be useful should you find yourself in a position in which you are at odds with the HOA in your community. HOA disputes can be costly and complicated, but you can fight to shield your property rights and interests as a homeowner.
Common problems between HOAs and homeowners
When moving into a community with an HOA, you will likely have to sign an agreement that outlines your responsibilities and the general rules of the association. The regulations may pertain to everything from permitted exterior paint colors to what type of mailbox you can have. HOA boards are often comprised of unpaid volunteers from different backgrounds, but these groups must fulfill their responsibilities, manage funds appropriately, enforce rules fairly and more. Common problems that often lead to issues between HOAs and homeowners include:
- Failure to adjust to new laws that could impact current HOA rules
- Financial problems, including failure to use funds appropriately or lack of transparency
- Going beyond the boundaries of the board’s authority and infringing on property rights
- Failure to properly maintain the common areas of the community
- Giving out unjustified fines or fines that are over the set limit
- Failure to communicate with residents about rules, changes and other important information
- Failure to handle complaints in a timely and reasonable manner
- Refusal to allow members to actively participate in meetings, express concerns or ask questions
Issues with your HOA are more than an inconvenience. An infringement of your rights is unacceptable, and inappropriate, discriminatory or unreasonable actions from your HOA board could be grounds for you to pursue legal action. If you are unsure of how you should navigate this matter, you may benefit from an assessment of your specific situation in order to gain an understanding of the legal options available to you.