Homeowner’s Associations are an excellent way to make sure that your property values stay high, and that your neighborhood stays in good condition. Homeowner’s associations, or HOA’s, make sure that everyone who moves into a neighborhood signs a legal agreement to follow certain bylaws and standards of behavior. However, if you do not follow the rules, you can find yourself open to lawsuits by the Homeowner’s Association. There are a number of options for defending yourself from an HOA lawsuit, and a number of reasons why you could be facing the lawsuit in the first place.
Understanding an HOA Lawsuit
Homeowner’s Associations typically file lawsuits because of a number of factors.
- Nonpayment of HOA dues or other fees is a common reason, as are failures to follow the rules agreed upon when you purchased the home and signed the agreement with the HOA.
- Typically, this can include offenses such as parking illegally, displaying flags, decorations, or other outdoor items in violation of the HOA agreement, or failure to maintain your property to the standards of the HOA agreement which you signed.
- In some cases, changing things like exterior colors or door styles or even a mailbox can cause a lawsuit from a HOA if you do not listen to their warnings and correct the changes in accordance with their regulations.
If you are facing a lawsuit from the HOA, you have a number of options.
- One option is to get involved in the board and appeal the regulation that you are in violation of, or run for the board yourself and have the bylaws changed so that you are not in violation of them anymore.
- You may also dispute the lawsuit on the grounds that the HOA is not carrying out its duties in a fair and arbitrary manner, which is a prerequisite of any Homeowner’s Association.
- If you feel you are being unduly harassed or not treated fairly, you can appeal the lawsuit on these grounds.
In general, the only sure-fire way to avoid a Homeowner’s Association lawsuit is to obey the original agreement that you signed when you purchased the property, and attempt to change the organization from within by removing board members or being elected to the board yourself. In order to do this, you will need to remain in good standing with the Homeowner’s Association.
If you are facing a lawsuit from your HOA, you will want to seek out the help of a competent attorney who is versed in this type of legal matter. Your lawyer can help you to take steps to settle the suit out of court or to defend the suit within court if things get that far.