Homeowners Associations

Homeowner Associations, or HOAs, are increasingly popular in newly built communities. Though most people associate them with townhouse or condominium communities, they can also exist in developments. Though the intention of an HOA is to benefit the community by establishing rules and regulations, many people find the rules imposed on them objectionable or overly burdensome. If this happens to you, you may want to contact a real estate law attorney to see if they can help.

The rules that govern an individual HOA do not arise out of thin air. In most cases, they are established by the original property developer, with the residents that take on board positions later assuming responsibility for creating new rules or striking down old ones. The board is responsible for collecting and managing dues and enforcement of rules, all under state laws. Though HOAs generally strive to keep a community running smoothly and in good condition, some people chafe over rules regarding uniformity of properties or noise restrictions, or may want to challenge bylaws that limit the number or size of pets that they own, or whether they are permitted to hang a flag on their house or paint their shutters a different color. These community rules are contained in a document called the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions that is given to all new buyers in a development and reading those documents prior to moving in is likely to help you understand what you are allowed or not allowed to do.

There are many circumstances where a real estate lawyer may be needed to deal with a Homeowners Association. Some of these include:

  • Changes to existing rules
  • Problems with open area or common area maintenance
  • Arguments with neighbors
  • Landscaping arguments
  • Issues involving decks, fences, trees or additions
  • Noise ordinance issues including loud music and parties or barking dogs
  • Failure to pay dues
  • Failure to maintain property
  • Parking issues
  • Pet issues

The most peaceful way to approach an HOA issue is to attend meetings and see whether you can resolve problems peacefully: you might even want to run for the board so that you can have more of a say in the rules. But if a dispute grows and you feel that legal action needs to be taken (or you need somebody to defend you), then a real estate law attorney can help. Contact our office today to set up an appointment and discuss what is happening in your community.


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