Living in a community with a homeowners association (HOA) guarantees that the neighborhood will be cared for and kept up, right? Well, this is what is supposed to happen with HOAs, but it is not always the case. There are times when HOAs do not fulfill their roles and obligations, and this will often lead to upset homeowners. If you have any type of problem with your HOA not doing what they should be, here are some tips to help you get the problem resolved.
Fully Understand The Covenants
Every HOA has a set of rules and guidelines, and these are typically called covenants. When you move in and become part of the HOA, you should receive a copy of the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs).
This document will become integral when a problem arises, simply because it states everything in writing. This is the document the HOA should use to enforce rules and guidelines, and this document is what the homeowners in the community can refer to when issues arise.
When you have a problem with something going on in your community, you should first look to your covenants to see what it says about the issue. For example, if parking cars along the road is prohibited and someone is doing this in the neighborhood, this person is violating the covenants of the neighborhood. Other examples include the following:
- If yard decorations are not allowed, yet someone has some in their yard.
- If a person installs a shed that is not the right size, type, or colors according to the covenants.
- When snow falls and the HOA is responsible for shoveling and plowing, yet they fail to do these tasks.
- If campers are not allowed in driveways, yet someone has one.
These are all examples of problems you may have with your HOA. If the covenants clearly illustrate that someone is violating these guidelines, you should approach your HOA board.
Approach The Board
When you approach the HOA board, you should do this at a scheduled meeting. Most HOA boards meet monthly, and you are entitled to attend these meetings. Before you go to the meeting, you may want to take pictures that capture the issue you are having, and you should bring your covenants with you. While you are there, you can present your issue and show the proper documentation that proves your case. The evidence you show will help support your cause, and it may be enough to convince the HOA to do something about the issue.
If they agree with you, it is important to ask them what steps they will take to fix the problem. You may also want to ask them how long it will take to get the issue corrected. If the HOA fails to follow through with what they said, you may need to take this issue one step further.
Contact A Real Estate Attorney
Contacting a real estate attorney is often the only way to get a problem fixed if the HOA is not taking care of it. You can explain your situation to the attorney, and he or she may begin by sending a formal letter to the HOA. This letter would explain the issue and give the HOA a certain amount of time to remedy the problem.
If the HOA still does not follow through with their end of the deal, your lawyer may suggest filing a lawsuit against the organization. This is typically done only as a last resort.
Fighting an HOA on your own is not always easy, which is why you may need legal assistance. Attorneys, such as those found at Coley Hennessy Cassis Ewasko, can help you with issues relating to HOAs, and hiring one is a good route to take if the HOA will not comply.