If you live in a community with a homeowners association, HOA for short, then you have a set of rules that must be followed. These rules are known as Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, or CC&Rs. New home buyers are provided a copy of these prior to finalizing a sale on a home to ensure that they are familiar with what they are getting into with the community. These CC&Rs are meant to assist in the maintaining of the value, condition, and uniformity of the properties within the HOA. For instance, homeowners may be required to mow the lawn once a week, be prohibited from hanging flags in the front yard, only be allowed to have certain breeds of pets, etc.
If you live in an HOA community, there is a good chance that you have heard about a dispute between a homeowner and the HOA. For that matter, you may currently have your own dispute. As a general rule, HOAs are relatively reasonable. However, this is not always the case.
What should you do if you are having a dispute with the HOA and they are being unreasonable?
First off, even if you believe they aren't, make sure you remain reasonable. Make sure that there haven't been recent changes to the CC&Rs that you have missed, which would cause you to be outside of the law. Next, talk to the HOA board to let them know about your issue with the rules, another homeowner, or whatever it is that you are having a problem with. In some cases, you may be able to negotiate a compromise with the HOA. If the issue is minor, it may be worked out for you to adhere to the rule.
What happens if you take further action—legal action?
If you feel like you did not get anywhere speaking with the HOA on your own, it is possible to take things a step further and pursue legal action. However, it is important to note that doing so will have a negative effect on your relationship with the HOA and potentially homeowners within the community. It could eventually come down to you having to sell your home and move somewhere else.
Because of the repercussions of legal action, double-check to ensure that your own actions were permitted by the CC&Rs or that the action that the HOA is requesting you take is not listed in the CC&Rs or unfair.
If you feel that taking legal action is the only way to solve your dispute because the HOA is simply that much out of line, then reach out to a local real estate attorney who can help you move forward with your lawsuit.