What can Homeowners do if an HOA is not Responsive to Complaints?
It’s usually best to try to resolve problems with an association by talking things out or using the association’s democratic processes, as set forth in the declaration. If a board member is abusing power or acting unfairly, you can try to elect someone else at the next members’ meeting or attempt to remove the board member if warranted. Or, you can organize other homeowners in a campaign to limit the board’s power by amending covenants. It’s generally a good idea to keep records of any written communications with the association and take and preserve contemporary notes of any verbal communications. In the event of future retaliation, thorough records can help demonstrate when an association has acted arbitrarily or capriciously.
If these types of remedies are unsuccessful or don’t address your complaints, it’s important to remember that an association itself is not the final arbiter of disputes between it and its members. If necessary, a homeowner can bring a suit against an association in the Superior Court of the county in which the development is located. O.C.G.A. §44-3-221(4). The association as an entity is authorized to defend suits arising from a failure to meet its obligations, and, except in cases involving intentional torts or fraudulent conduct, the association – rather than individual officers or board members – is the proper defendant. O.C.G.A. §44-3-231(h). A suit against an association can seek money damages incurred by a homeowner as a result of the association’s failure to perform its duties or “injunctive relief” – a court order compelling the association to perform duties or enforce covenants.