As the manager, leader, or board member of a Homeowners Association (HOA), you always try to work things out in a way that follows the law and benefits everyone. In an ideal world, every disagreement would have its fair solution and every question would be easily answered. But in the real world, that’s not always the case.
There are many steps you can take to resolve those issues, starting with friendly negotiation and hopefully ending with mediation if negotiation doesn’t work. Sometimes, although it’s certainly regrettable and should be considered a last resort, an HOA must take legal action in the interests of their community. There are a few common reasons an HOA may need to go to court. Let’s dive in.
Enforcement of CC&Rs
You may need help enforcing the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) by which the established rules and regulations govern the community. If a homeowner violates a CC&R, like by building a structure violating those guidelines on their property or making unapproved architectural revisions, it may require legal action for the homeowner to comply. Be prepared to present evidence, as well as the state property law or charter section you feel is being disregarded.
Collection of Assessments
Your HOA relies on homeowner assessments to fund the maintenance and upkeep of your community. If a homeowner falls seriously behind on their commitments, you may need to go to court to collect, and that might include filing a lien or a lawsuit. Be aware that financial disagreements can often lead to the most passionate conflict. In the case of a lien or lawsuit, you need a good HOA attorney to make sure everyone gets through the situation as peacefully as possible.
Disputes with Homeowners…
Disputes can sometimes arise between HOAs and homeowners over the interpretation of CC&Rs or even the scope of your authority. If the dispute can’t be resolved through negotiation or mediation, you may need to go to court for a resolution.
Be prepared to present your case logically and trust your attorney to help guide you through.
…Or with Vendors
You contract vendors, such as landscaping companies and maintenance providers, to perform services for the community. If there is ever a dispute with a vendor over the quality of their work or something about their payment, you might be headed to court for a resolution. Gather your invoices, contracts, quotes, and relevant communications so you can show a reasonable case.
Defense Against Lawsuits
Homeowners or other parties may sue your HOAs for various reasons, such as discrimination or breach of contract. In such cases, the HOA may need to go to court to defend itself if there is no other resolution. Work with your HOA dispute lawyer to craft a compelling case and be prepared to show evidence that you’re free of these offenses.
Win Your HOA Disputes With Manning & Meyers
Going to court should always be a last resort for an HOA. The best approach is to work with homeowners and vendors to resolve disputes through negotiation or mediation whenever possible. But in these five cases, among others, you may have no choice. A disagreement over HOA rules or financial matters is serious business, and you take it seriously.
When it’s time to go to court, you want the best real estate lawyer representing you. Someone who knows the ins and outs of HOA law and can make sure the resolution is equitable. Reach out to Manning & Myers for a consultation now to see if you must take your disagreement to court.