Homeowners associations (HOAs) encounter many different situations that require the expertise of a Dallas HOA lawyer. Whether dealing with condo law, evicting homeowners or tenants, or another problem, legal professionals can provide invaluable and necessary assistance to an HOA.
Yet, who does an HOA lawyer represent? Let’s dive into the facts!
What Does it Mean to Represent the HOA as an Entity?
An HOA lawyer doesn’t represent individual board members or directors, even though HOA board members must act ethically on behalf of their organization.
As a general legal counsel, your HOA lawyer in Dallas advises you on governing laws that may impact the association and assists the board in revising its governing documents to ensure compliance with its regulations.
Your lawyer can also help evaluate board decisions to determine whether those actions are in the best interest of the HOA as an entity. HOA lawyers act as neutral third parties in all these matters to help ensure that everyone in the association remains satisfied with the results.
What Happens if a Board Member Gets Into a Legal Jam?
Although your HOA lawyer has an attorney-client relationship with the board as a whole, your legal counsel cannot represent individual board members in legal matters. Confusion sometimes arises when board members don’t see eye to eye. Nevertheless, because an HOA attorney represents the entire board, legal counsel cannot keep confidential any communication obtained from other board members.
You cannot ignore breaches of confidentiality or the board’s code of ethics by board members. In such cases, HOA boards usually take steps to remove the questionable board member. Working with an HOA attorney can help you devise a set of standards on offenses that constitute punishment and/or removal to maintain ethical operation.
If a board member gets into a legal bind because of actions they committed on behalf of the association, that individual should get separate legal representation. Sometimes homeowner members decide to sue individual board members for real or perceived slights. These lawsuits rarely succeed, but if one occurs, check your HOA insurance policy, as some insurers will pay for a separate lawyer for the accused board member.
Does an HOA Lawyer Represent Homeowners?
As mentioned earlier, a Dallas HOA lawyer represents the association as an entity. Therefore, your legal professional cannot represent individual homeowners. However, your lawyer can act as a buffer between homeowners who feel they may have been treated unfairly and the HOA board. As a neutral third party, your HOA lawyer can also listen to complaints and concerns and recommend courses of action based on homeowner feedback if some aspects of your association aren’t operating correctly.
Common Misconceptions about HOA Lawyer Representation
Misconceptions about HOA lawyers abound, the most common being that the lawyer can represent them because the HOA lawyers’ fees are paid for with dues paid by homeowners. The legal professional your board hires can also act as an eviction lawyer when members don’t follow association rules. Other common misconceptions include the following:
- Using the lawyer to help oust board members
- Filing a complaint with local authorities regarding enforcement of state law violations
- The HOA lawyer will solve your dispute with the board
- The HOA lawyer’s job is to defend the board’s actions
- You can do whatever you want with your property
The above reasons are only a few misconceptions HOA members harbor about their associations and their attorneys. Chances are, you’ll encounter many additional misconceptions throughout your board tenure.
Let the Legal Experts of Manning & Meyers Assist You With Your HOA Needs
Whether you need a Dallas eviction lawyer, help with condo law or have another concern, let the professionals at Manning & Meyer help you with your HOA legal matters. Contact our office today for a consultation.