Can We Sue Our Homeowners Association?
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Living in a condominium or neighborhood with a homeowners association comes with certain perks and privileges. Many condo complexes have trash pick-up, maintenance, snow and ice removal, and even other options like high speed Internet or cable television that are provided free of charge in exchange for your monthly or annual payment of condo fees to a Homeowner’s Association. A Homeowner’s Association, or HOA, is a lot like a miniature version of the US Congress or Senate. There is a board of individuals who live in the complex or neighborhood who make decisions which impact everyone who lives there. If you do not like the decisions being made by your HOA, though, you may be wondering if you can bring a HOA lawsuit.
Bringing an HOA Lawsuit
In most cases, the answer is yes – you can sue anyone at any time, for any reason. However, in order to have a chance of winning the lawsuit and recovering either the money that you are putting into the suit, or the damages that you hope to receive, you will need to make sure that you have a defensible position when you sue your Homeowner’s Association.
- Since you entered into a contract with the HOA when you purchased the condominium or property, you always have grounds to sue if the contract terms are not being met by the HOA.
- For example, if you agreed to weekly trash pick-up, and you have paid your dues and the trash has not been picked up for a month, the HOA is in violation of the contract, and could be sued.
Since a Homeowner’s Association works much like a governmental body, you may find that you are not always represented exactly the way you would like to be. An example of a case where you would likely not be able to sue the HOA is if your HOA has a prohibition against holiday displays such as Christmas lights, and you put the lights up and are fined or reprimanded. Since you agreed in your initial contract that you would not put up holiday displays, you would have no grounds to sue based on this action by the HOA.
You will also need to check before you file your lawsuit to make sure that the terms of your HOA agreement allow you to sue without first going through arbitration or making your needs or grievances known to the board in an official way beforehand. Whatever the case, yes, you can sue your Homeowner’s Association if you have a valid reason involving breach of contract.
As with any lawsuit, it is a good idea to get the advice and assistance of an experienced attorney. Your lawyer can help you to make sure you understand whether you have legal grounds to sue and can help you build a case against your homeowners association to collect legal damages you believe you are owed.