Facts About Selective Enforcement By an HOA

As a member of a Homeowners’ Association, you probably already know that your community’s governing documents include covenants, rules, and restrictions about how you can (and cannot) use your property. If you break these rules, the association may fine you or force you to comply. If you find yourself at the receiving end of an HOA punishment, you’ll need to know what your rights are.  This article will help you understand “selective enforcement” and how it applies to your homeowners’ association and the rules you have to follow.

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A Guide to Understanding the HOA Elections Process

Homeowner’s Associations come with many interesting and different processes for most first time members of an HOA community.  An important process members of homeowners’ associations have to deal with is the election of a Board of Directors which can be a member’s first exposure to corporate law.  This article is designed to give a general background on how board members in a homeowners’ association are elected and what processes are in place to protect homeowners from problematic board members. 

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3 Fundamental Steps An HOA Board Takes To Enforce Rules

For homeowners living in homeowners' association communities, one of the questions often asked is what happens when HOA rules are ignored? How do homeowners' associations enforce them?  Can a homeowners' association fine owners?  How can members of the community respond to violation notices of HOA Rules? These are all issues that individuals who reside in communities governed by homeowners' associations and those who are considering purchasing properties in such communities need to carefully consider.

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How to Navigate Your HOA Fees

Homeowners’ associations typically are formed to manage any property in the community that is owned communally, as opposed to individually, such as a playground or building hallways.  Whether an HOA is made up of a condominium building, townhouses, or single-family homes, the responsibilities generally include the same type of tasks – maintain landscaping, employ property managers, maintain shared private roads or driveways, arrange trash removal, operate a swimming pool, and the like. This article will help you better understand the ins and outs of HOA fees. 

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The 5 Key Elements Of Your Legally Binding CC&Rs

For Homeowners either living in communities governed by Homeowner’s Associations or for those considering buying property located in such communities, how the application of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) might impact the use and enjoyment of any property located in such a community is an important consideration.  This article is designed to give homeowners who are part of an HOA community or those who are considering becoming part of a homeowners association a snapshot view on how to address the various concerns that arise with regard to CC&Rs.

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Learn The 5 Different Types of HOA Meetings And Rules

The homeowners’ association board of directors is the governing body of your community, and can have a significant impact on the lives of those who live there.  The board of a homeowners’ association is required to hold meetings to conduct the business of the association; the type and frequency of these meetings can vary, and can be confusing.  But, members of the association are encouraged to attend most meetings, and to participate when permitted.  This article will help you better understand HOA meetings. First, it’s important to know that HOAs are governed by the law of the state in which they sit. 

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The Ins and Outs of Solar Panels In HOA Communities

The installation of solar panels often leads to discussions about how the solar panels change the look and character of the neighborhood or that they may cause a decrease in property values for the neighborhood.   The legal back drop that exists also involves a careful balancing of a homeowner’s right to use solar energy and a community’s right to control the aesthetics of a neighborhood.   The question then becomes who can decide whether a homeowner can install solar panels in an HOA Community and if so, what are the other enforceable rules that might govern the installation and maintenance of such solar panels.                                  

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Protecting The Community With HOA Insurance

Most HOA’s, especially newer ones, are required by their declarations or bylaws to carry one or more forms of insurance.  Acquiring the necessary coverage and paying premiums is the board’s job, and board-members should take great care to ensure all obligatory coverage remains in place.  If anything goes wrong and the association does not have insurance that it’s supposed to have, board-members or officers could end up on the hook personally. Many states have laws mandating HOA insurance. There are numerous types of insurance coverage which could potentially benefit an HOA, including the three forms required by the UCIOA: physical damage, general liability, and fidelity insurance. 

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HOA Fees: Nourishing A ‘Little Democratic Sub-Society’

A district judge in Florida described community associations as “a little democratic sub-society of necessity.” And, as with federal, state, and local governments, for the “little sub-society” to function, it needs revenue.  Association revenue comes in the form of HOA fees paid by homeowners – the functional equivalent of property taxes paid to a local government. An association’s authority to collect HOA fees (or “assessments”) arises from two places:state law and the HOA’s declaration.The declaration is a document recorded in the county land records that serves as the association’s constitution. It grants certain powers to the HOA and imbues homeowners with certain rights and obligations, one of which is the duty to pay assessments.

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The Do's and Don'ts of HOA Rental Restrictions

Rental restrictions undeniably limit the free-use of property.  Nonetheless, courts throughout the country have consistently upheld such restrictions when rationally calculated to promote the development’s greater good.  Even blanket rental prohibitions have been reluctantly upheld in some states, as long as the association has a legitimate purpose for the restriction. “Legitimate purposes” justifying rental restrictions typically involve maintenance of property values and promotion of community standards. Along with serving a legitimate purpose, to be enforceable a rental restriction must be a “reasonable” means of accomplishing the stated goal. Rental restrictions come in several forms, two of the most popular of which are caps and lease restrictions. 

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Enforcing Pet Restrictions: What's Allowed And What's Not?

Pets can be a welcome addition to your family.  A loyal dog, a comforting cat, or even a calming fish tank can vivify a household and provide a soothing distraction from the daily grind.  But, unfortunately, pets can also occasionally become an annoyance to neighbors.  Overly abundant cats or noisy dogs negatively affect a development’s quality of life and aesthetic appeal.  Aiming to curtail potential nuisances, many homeowners’ associations have adopted pet restrictions within their declarations, establishing rules regulating members’ pet choices and practices. Learn what homeowners' association can (and cannot) do under the law when it comes to enforcing pet restrictions.

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The Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Applies to Homeowners' Associations

Given the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform, it is only right that the Congress passed a law in 2003 to assist military members with collections and foreclosure issues. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), all creditors have limitations on debt collections against active duty military members. These limitations include the temporary suspension of judicial and administrative proceedings and transactions that may affect the civil rights of military members during their service. This article will examine in detail the protections afforded by the law to military members who own properties within homeowners' associations.  

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HUD Significantly Expanded Possible Harassment Liabilities for HOA Boards

As part of the Fair Housing Act, Congress granted the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) the authority to adopt rules to meet the statute’s objectives. In October of 2016, the department completed the formal rulemaking process and published the final rules that are now law. One of the new rules codified by HUD can potentially significantly affect the number of harassment claims an HOA will face. Today we will focus on what might be the most significant new rule: liability for discriminatory housing practices, found at 24 C.F.R. §100.7(a)(1)(iii).

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What to Do if Your HOA Common Areas are not Maintained

Unique to HOAs, the elected board of directors owe a special responsibility to all the dues-paying homeowners, called a fiduciary duty. We have previously written in depth about the different elements of this fiduciary duty, and if you are unfamiliar, that article is certainly worth your time. Simply for this discussion, we just need to know that because of this fiduciary duty that the board owes to member homeowners, the board has a legal obligation to maintain common areas with the same care and diligence that they would apply to their own private property.

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Transferring Power from a Developer to Homeowners in an HOA

Getting in on the ground floor of a new master-planned community is very exciting. If you are fortunate enough to be in such a scenario, you likely now have a budding interest in how the developer of the HOA community will eventually transfer power to the homeowners. In a nascent HOA community, a new homeowner has the option to sit back and permit the developer to govern the community until he sees fit. Yet, this can be risky and may cost you money/time in the long run if there are any complications in the completion of the work.

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How To Find The Homeowners' Association Information

Finding the homeowners' association linked to a property can sometimes be frustrating and time-consuming. The good news, is that you may not have to drive down to your county's office to retrieve the HOA information you need, thanks to google. This article will attempt to help you save time by giving you step by step instructions and directing you to the right government agencies where the homeowners association information and documentation are usually stored.

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Fight Your HOA the Right Way—Or Else

Today’s homeowner needs to know how to intelligently take on an HOA board if/when such a dispute may arise. As we will soon discuss, the mistaken judgment in pursuit of a claim against a homeowners' association could result in a five-figure legal bill. To assist if you are in such a problematic scenario, we will describe the three concepts you need to master before taking the fight to your homeowners' association: learning your association's CC&Rs, the relevant law regarding your dispute, and how to craftily pursue a resolution with your association's board.

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12 Facts About HOA Liens & Foreclosures You Should Know

The right to record liens, and to foreclose on unpaid liens, is perhaps the most powerful tool homeowners’ associations have to enforce assessment obligations.  State HOA laws are designed to allow associations to recover unpaid fees without undue effort and expense while protecting homeowners from overly aggressive associations by requiring strict compliance with statutory procedures and ample notice to homeowners. 

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Answering Your Most Pressing Homeowners’ Association CC&R Questions

Little did you know when you first got into home ownership that your brain would be flooded with a plethora of new acronyms to comprehend. Whether a dispute has arisen, or you are about to participate in the conveyance of a property that part of an HOA, it is likely you have a now developed a sudden interest in what are termed “covenants, conditions, and restrictions,” knows as CC&Rs.

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What Are HOA Documents?

Too many terms and acronyms are thrown around and used interchangeably when folks are discussing homeowners' association documents. Sometimes when people are referring to the entire suite of homeowners' association documents, they will use the term CC&R, which stands for covenants, conditions, and restrictions. In fact, CC&Rs are just one part of the association's documentation. This article will distinguish CC&Rs from the other documents you need to know including articles of incorporation, bylaws, rules, and regulations, and financial documents.

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