When homeowners buy into your community, they know the rules imposed by the homeowners’ association and agree to abide by them. Yet, countless Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) find themselves facing litigation from homeowners who later decide that a particular rule does not apply to them. These are some of the most common reasons homeowners or residents bring lawsuits against HOAs:
Someone wants to break the design scheme
Most architects plan HOAs to a particular style. A homeowner might want to alter their property in a way you consider will harm the community’s overall look and feel. If the rules prohibit them from doing so, they may take you to court to try and get their way.
Unrealistic expectations of the HOA
Homeowners may have unrealistic expectations of the HOA. They may fail to understand that sometimes it takes time to get repairs or maintenance done. They may not see the financial limitations you are under and accuse you of failing to fulfill your duty to them as homeowners.
Many people have an inherent mistrust of others in financial matters. The better your record keeping and the more transparent you are with your spending as an HOA, the better. It can reduce the chance someone brings hurtful accusations of financial mismanagement or theft against you and provide evidence to defend you if they do.
Breaches of fair housing laws
There are state and federal fair housing laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, gender, marital status, etc. People may claim discrimination when you are, in fact taking action against them because of their behavior.
Under these same fair housing laws, an association may be held liable in it knows of discriminatory treatment by a property manager or a member towards another member and fails to take any action to squelch the discriminatory behavior.
Many associations are not even aware that these fair housing laws can be used in ways to expose the association to liability for the actions of another. But lawsuits alleging fair housing discrimination is a fast-growing form of litigation against HOAs.
There will always be individuals who look for problems or try to challenge your authority as an HOA. Seek legal help if a homeowner is making accusations against your HOA.