Homeowners associations (HOA) exist for the benefit of homeowners who live in the communities they manage. This sometimes requires that an HOA retain its own attorney to resolve legal disputes that affect homeowners. In addition, there are times when the HOA will need an attorney to resolve disputes with homeowners or just to prepare legal documents. There are lawyers who specialize in HOAs.
HOA Attorneys Sometimes Represent Homeowners
Sometimes, a construction defect is discovered long after development of a neighborhood is complete. The developer usually remains liable for these defects, and any necessary repairs. When these defects affect a development's common areas, the homeowners association will hire an attorney and take legal action against the developer. This is not the responsibility of individual homeowners.
Lawyers Help Draft HOA Governing Documents
When an HOA is formed, legal documents must be drafted. The most important of these documents are the HOA bylaws and the HOA covenants, conditions, and restrictions. Since all homeowners and the HOA are legally bound by the bylaws and CC&R, many HOAs will hire an experienced HOA attorney to draft or review them. Doing so makes it less likely that an HOA will draft rules, like how much it can charge in monthly fees, that it can't enforce.
HOAs Hire Attorneys to Collect Fees and Assessments
HOAs often hire an attorney to collect outstanding fees and assessments from certain homeowners. This is unfortunate, but sometimes necessary. Having an attorney enforce collections increases the likelihood of success, since a lawyer will know the procedures for obtaining court judgments and liens. When a few homeowners fail to pay their fair shares, a greater financial burden ultimately falls on the community.
You May Need Your Own Lawyer
Rarely, homeowners are taken advantage of by an HOA and its attorneys. For example, an HOA might pay a lawyer inflated fees or hire the lawyer for unnecessary services. In a situation like this, your HOA isn't acting with your best interests in mind. You may be able to take legal action to make the HOA liable. However, you and your fellow homeowners will probably need to hire your own HOA attorney.
A Real Estate Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding representation of HOAs is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a real estate lawyer.