8 Things To-do Before Fighting Your HOA
Updated: Jul 25
It's never a good idea to fight with your HOA or anybody. However, if you keep the following points in mind, there is a good chance you'll avoid the confrontation or finish up standing.
Know the rules
Knowing all the rules is essential before approaching an HOA with a complaint. Those rules include ByLaws, CC&R, and local and federal laws. An HOA's primary duty is to maintain property values in a community by enforcing specific standards. Therefore, to ensure your complaint is valid, you must first ensure it falls within the HOA's purview. Keep in mind the HOA cannot violate any local or federal laws, nor can they act in a way that would violate their bylaws or CC&R. Knowing all the rules beforehand will help to ensure that your complaint is valid and that the HOA will take it seriously.
ByLaws, CC&R, and local and federal laws
The HOA ByLaws and CC&R are the rules and regulations governing the operation of the HOA and the use of the common areas and amenities. The ByLaws define the powers and duties of the HOA Board of Directors, the membership requirements, and the HOA assessment process. The CC&R define the restrictions on the use of property within the HOA, specifying what types of structures homeowners can build, where they can place them, and what kind of landscaping is allowed. The ByLaws and CC&R are binding on all HOA members and enforced by the HOA Board of Directors. Violations of the ByLaws or CC&R can result in fines or other disciplinary action by the HOA.
You should also be familiar with local or federal laws concerning your complaint.
Keep in Mind That The HOA Is There to Help
The HOA exists to protect property values. By pooling resources and setting standards for maintenance and improvement, the HOA helps ensure that all homeowners make a positive investment in their property. In addition, the HOA can use its collective bargaining power to negotiate discounts on goods and services that all homeowners need, such as insurance and landscaping. Finally, the HOA benefits all homeowners and helps create a strong community by keeping costs down and property values high.
Communicate with other HOA members
Maintaining regular communication with other members of the Homeowners Association is always a good practice. Members who stay in touch with each other are more likely to be aware of events and activities in the community, and they can also share any concerns or issues they may have. Good communication can also help build relationships of trust and respect between members, making it easier to resolve any potential conflicts that may arise. Ultimately, staying in touch with other members of the HOA is a vital part of being a responsible and engaged member of the community.
Obtaining approval before making changes to your property can save you a lot of headaches in the long run. For one, it ensures that your plans meet the HOA's approval requirements, which can save you time and money. In addition, it also means that your changes are more likely to be accepted by your neighbors, which can help to prevent future conflicts. Ultimately, getting HOA approval is an intelligent way to protect your investment and avoid potential problems down the road.
Don't skip community meetings
HOA meetings provide an excellent opportunity for residents to stay up-to-date on what is happening in their community. By attending HOA meetings, residents can learn about upcoming events, important decisions for the community's future, and any changes to the rules. Additionally, HOA meetings provide a chance for residents to voice their opinion on various issues and to have their concerns heard by the HOA board. Therefore, regularly attending HOA meetings is an excellent way to stay informed and ensure the Board hears your voice.
Become a Board member
The fastest way to expedite change in an HOA is to become a Board member. The HOA membership typically elects board members, and they can set HOA policy. In addition, Board members often have access to HOA financial documents and records, which can help identify problems or areas that need improvement. As a Board member, you will also have a say in how to run the HOA. However, serving on the HOA Board is not without its challenges. For example, it's a requirement for Board members to put in extra hours outside of their regular job, and they may not always agree with the other members of the Board. Nonetheless, becoming a Board member is often the best way to bring about meaningful changes in an HOA.
Pay your HOA dues no matter what
You must pay HOA dues when you purchase a home in a community governed by a homeowners association. These dues go towards the cost of maintaining shared amenities and common areas. If you fail to pay your HOA dues, you may be subject to late fees and other penalties. In addition, your HOA may take legal action against you. If the HOA wins its lawsuit, you may be responsible for the HOA's court costs and attorney's fees. Remember, what the law and you think are REASONABLE attorney's fees are probably not the same.
In extreme cases, the HOA may even foreclose on your home. As you can see, failing to pay your HOA dues can have serious consequences. Therefore, it's imperative to stay current on your payments.
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