Common Lawsuits in HOAs Strong Suits

Common Lawsuits in HOAs

Homeowners associations are governed by a private board, generally comprised of residents of the condominium. Just because board members are unpaid volunteers, however, does not exempt them from exposure to lawsuits. Indeed, HOA board members are held to the same standard as their for-profit corporate counterparts where the law is concerned.

According to the Community Associations Institute (CAI), 54.6 million people lived in private associations in 2005—up from just 9.6 million 25 years ago. With so many residents, lawsuits are an inevitability. A homeowners association's exposure could range from mismanagement of funds by a board of directors or a board member, to slip-and-fall lawsuits for negligent sidewalk maintenance during an ice storm, to disputes with contractors, employees and residents.

What kinds of legal actions are the most common in New Jersey? How can homeowners associations lessen their risk of exposure? What steps can be taken to redress small problems before mountains are made of proverbial molehills? And are lawsuits as ubiquitous as they seem? The following may shed light on these questions and more.

It's the Money, Stupid

If there's one thread that joins the disparate types of lawsuits seen in the state involving homeowners associations, it's green in color.

"It's always about money," says Karim Kaspar, an attorney with the Law Offices of Lowenstein Sandler in Roseland.

Probably the most common type of lawsuit involves injuries sustained on the premises due to alleged negligence—the so-called slip-and-fall. Ice is not removed promptly from the front steps, someone slips and breaks their ankle, and presto—instant lawsuit.

Surprisingly, for as common as lawsuits are in HOAs and the amount of time they take up, it's not necessarily the association's general counsel who always goes to bat for the HOA in such situations. "Not much of our time is taken up with working on the really common cases," says David Byrne, a shareholder attorney with Stark & Stark in Lawrenceville. "In general, the insurance company will appoint the lawyer for such claims."

That's because these kinds of claims are generally covered under the homeowners association's liability insurance. In a slip-and-fall case, the board would contact their insurance carrier, who would assign an attorney to handle the case. Personal injury claims, even if paid for by liability insurance, can make rates go up substantially.

If the condominium is large enough to have employees, this increases legal exposure. Employees must be managed, which means hiring them—and sometimes, firing them. This exposes the board to possible discrimination claims for violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits job discrimination by gender, race, religion, country of origin and age.

The association is also responsible—to a degree—for how its employees behave. If, for example, a gardener employed by the association makes lewd comments or advances upon some of the residents, the association could be liable if the board knew about the problem but did nothing (or not enough) to correct it.

Fortunately, such claims are relatively rare. With employees, the most common claims involve workers' compensation, for which associations that employ workers have insurance.

Board vs. Contractor vs. Residents

It is also common, Kaspar says, for disputes between boards and contractors to escalate into litigation. "Board members are volunteers, and maybe they're not in the unit all year-round. In those situations, it's easy for disputes with contractors to arise."

Judith Jennings, who has her own law office in Medford, notes that disputes frequently arise concerning building defects. For example, a homeowners association could sue a contractor for installing a faulty air conditioning system; the contractor might then countersue, claiming the problem was with the maintenance, not the unit itself.

Then there are the internal fights, one that pits neighbor against neighbor, or resident against board.

"These usually arise out of a perceived right to services," explains Robert Shanahan, of Kilcommons Shanahan in Annandale. "HOA residents can have a landlord-tenant mentality, and they don't pay their dues if something goes wrong. The board moves to recover the fees, and is hit with a countersuit."

For example, a resident might have a broken toilet in his apartment. He insists that the board have the toilet repaired, although the association's bylaws may explicitly state that he is responsible for the toilet. In protest, he decides to stop paying his dues.

These kinds of cases rarely end well. Residents, of course, are forbidden by the bylaws to withhold maintenance fees, so these cases almost always work against them, and they wind up covering the board's legal costs out-of-pocket.

Finally, there are suits that can be brought against the individual board members. Because no sane person would expose herself to such liability for an exacting volunteer position, boards take out Directors & Officers (D&O) insurance policies to cover their members should the need arise.

Under the so-called fidelity and honesty provisions of D&O policies, board members are not liable for honest mistakes.

"If they are acting according to the advice of their attorneys and other professionals," Kaspar says, "that's OK. If they act arbitrarily and don't follow advice, that's when they get into trouble."

If laws are broken, however, all bets are off. "Fraud is fraud," Kaspar says, "and a board member who commits fraud would be convicted criminally and sued civilly."

Improving the Odds

If board members are supposed to listen to their professionals, what do professionals advise, to lessen the chance of litigation? Given that many of the lawsuits involve neighbors, most pros stress the importance of communication.

"Have a fair system where you can hear people," advises Shanahan. "Show you're willing to listen to their grievances. And try to work it out."

Anything that improves communication among neighbors is a good idea, Shanahan continues, including periodic newsletters from the board, even a summer barbecue for residents can foster better, friendlier relationships wherein people are more likely to work out their differences amicably than resort to litigation.

"We've lost the ability to work things out," he says. "Now, everything is a perceived threat. If you can show that the people in your building are nice people, it brings the pressure down—it brings the volume down a lot."

If tensions escalate, the first step is to try and defuse the situation outside of a courtroom. New Jersey state law requires that an alternate dispute board be the first step in resolving grievances—in fact, if this step isn't attempted, a judge will throw out any lawsuit of this kind.

According to Joel Meskin, vice president of community association products at McGowan & Co., an Ohio-based insurer specializing in HOA coverage, most lawsuits are avoidable.

"There's a lot you can do to avoid claims," says Meskin. "Know your bylaws and any other governing documents, and make sure that new association members receive and sign off on the bylaws and governing documents when they move in. Also, avoid emotional involvement [in disputes]—that can lead to some of the greatest wastes of time and resources." Meskin also strongly recommends alternative dispute resolution between board and residents, management and residents, and residents with other residents.

To that end, Shanahan suggests working with nearby homeowners associations.

"Even if it's arbitration, you make a ruling," he says. "If it does go to court, the judge either agrees or disagrees—you're not going to get in trouble."

As lawsuits are inevitable because it's the nature of the beast, Shanahan suggests having as much money as possible on hand to cover unanticipated legal expenses, "without being ridiculous."

Jennings and Meskin both agree that communication is the single greatest tool in avoiding lawsuits and harmony-destroying squabbles between neighbors. "It's difficult for some people to attend board meetings," Jennings notes. She recommends posting non-privileged information on a community website, so everyone can feel that they're in the loop and not being kept in the dark about the HOAs goings-on.

"Communication is the key to resolving problems," adds Meskin. "An association should consider having a mechanism in place for the community association to address conflicts and grievances."

More Advice

For her part, Jennings suggests letting a professional management company do the heavy lifting, even if your homeowners association is small. "In the long run, it saves money," she says. Also, Jennings points out that since managers don't live on-site, they don't have to worry about dealing with a neighbor. In this vein, there has been talk in legal circles about introducing the idea of professional, compensated board members but this hasn't caught on yet.

Kaspar has different advice. "First, don't go outside the scope of your by-laws," he says. "Lawsuits commonly arise when boards act outside their scope of authority, such as borrowing money, when it's not explicitly stated that they can do so."

Second, Kaspar says, rely on the advice of a good attorney and other professionals.

Shanahan, too, prefers that disputes are settled out of court. "The problem with court is, someone will lose. And they may never talk to the other person again."

The Good Ol' Days?

While the consensus holds that there are more lawsuits now than in the past, Shanahan says you have to go back decades to the 1960s, when many new regulations were codified, to get to a time when litigation was not rampant.

"It used to be, you'd never think of suing because you ate something bad at a restaurant," says Jennings. "You'd just let them know and that was that. But now…"

Does the preponderance of lawsuits stem only from the new regulations in the Sixties, or is there more to it? Shanahan's theory is that Baby Boomers have higher expectations than their forbears, and when those expectations aren't met—and met promptly—they get angry. And anger means lawsuits. (Full disclosure: Shanahan just makes the Baby Boomer cut-off).

Jennings believes the perception that an HOA's insurance company has "deep pockets" convinces some would-be suit-filers to move forward—although if the ones filing suit are residents, they eventually will pay the price in future dues or assessments.

Whatever the reason, litigation is here to stay. Lawsuits are part of the business. As Shanahan puts it, "The only thing that changes are the people involved and the amount of anger."

And it's important to take threats of legal action seriously, says Byrne. "A lot [of claims] are legit," he says. "It wouldn't be true to say that every lawsuit was frivolous."

Given that, it's vital that your own HOA be prepared for the inevitable with good legal counsel and a clean financial house. And in the meantime, perhaps you can prevent some of that inevitable litigation with good communication between board and association members and by fostering a more robust sense of community among your members.

Greg Olear is a freelance writer living in Northern New Jersey.

Related Articles

Pensive man standing and making business decision isolated flat vector illustration. Cartoon businessman choosing work strategy for success. Questions dilemma and options confusion concept. Solution

Q&A: ADR vs. CC&Rs

Q&A: ADR vs. CC&Rs

Speech Bubble Puzzle and Discussion

Dealing With Conflict in Co-ops & Condos

Noise, Odors, & Leaks: Oh My!

Staff Safety 101

Staff Safety 101

Protecting Employees in Your Building



  • You have no idea how horrible a management company can be unless you speak to me. I have been harassed for years with the property manager convincing many people to do very bad things against me. I will start with a warrant out for my arrest because I didn't renew my dog's license and this was done by the PM. Then the PM convinced the board to change the roof and skylights on 4 condos in our community and everything done was against the bylaws because they forced us to get new skylights when we had the best ones ever with all the upgrades and drainage system. My new skylights are defective since the roofer sawed them to fit the skylight homes. I had skylights like Pella's best ones and now I have Home Depot's which cost $233 and are not laminated and if the thin cheap skylight breaks the glass will fall right into my condo. I got fake fines which I wouldn't pay because they were lies made up by the same PM. Because of those fake fines I was not able to use the clubhouse and pool for 7 years so far. The last thing that happened was the management company for some reason with the help of the board and condo attorney filed a summons against my daughter and myself which the judge threw out and was going to d8ismiss but the condo attorney cancelled it after making a fortune when it was all was for injunctive relief against my daughter and me and I never leave my condo. The very last thing that occurred is the mgm. co. tried to make me believe an insurance claim was denied. Finally after confronting the 2nd bunch of adjustors who visiting my condo after finding out they denied the claim, someone got scared and the mgm. co. decided to throw me a few crumbs and offered me $4900 for a lot of damage when I know the claim they are pretending was denied was paid out in Jan. or Feb. of 2012. The mgm. co. showed me a copy of a check from April 14,, 1012 and I know that check wasn't for my claim as the president of the insurance co. told me Jan. or Feb. of 2012. Believe it or not there are some insurance co. workers who are involved with this management company which amazes me that somoone would put their job on the line but what do I know. The check that was sent to me was made out by the treasurer of the board but with it came a letter from the condo attorney which said if I cash the check it means I will not hold the board responsible for any future payment. I never heard of such a thing being the board's decision as it usually is done by the insurance co. I believe the claim moeny that was received and never put in the associations account was split amount some board members and the mgm. co. and the board members got scared so the mgm. co. said we will maike the condo lawyer write a letter saying that if the person entitled to the claim money they will agree not to bother the board members for more money,. I think this is totally fraud done by someone who has been having horrible things done to the condo owners. Believe it or not this saqme PM fined a deceased school tearcher after she dies for not replacing her light bulb outside her condo and the PM went to the closing and collected $4750 from the 2 sons of the school teacher and the association never saw it. I am wondering who the heck these people are. Thought you might find this interesting. I am the most honest person and there is nothing in this note that is not true. Sadly there is a lot more that I didn''t include. . of what was done to me but it caused me and my family to not be able to use the clubhouse and pool . I still am waiting
  • HOAs are a joke and only the lawyers are laughing. You write that the lawyers are giving advice to avoid are patheticaly ignorant of what is going on in HOAs. HOA attorneys ENCOURAGE conflict with the hope that a lawsuit erupts. This is money in the bank and win lose or draw, HOA attorneys ALWAYS win. At the same time, HOA attorneys are lobbying our legislature (Community Association Institute IS the lawyer lobby) to maintain the status quo of virtualy no state oversight or homeowner protections from amatuer run HOAs. Wouldn't it be nice if a homeowner could call the Attorney Generals office and demand enforcement of homeowner friendly law? HOA attorneys fight tooth and nail to prevent this. Sickening! Like millions of Americans who know the score, you could not GIVE me a home in an HOA.
  • Dear Evelyn: I do not understand why you did not get a bulldog for an attorney and go after this slime. Sometimes you need a lawyer - a real fighter - to put someone in their place. Or even go to your local TV station with video of what was happening to you.
  • Our board went against the covenants and by laws to add friends to the board. That is right no voting of the homeowners and now they want to pay 20,000 of HOA money to change the by laws as well as Arc rules. What can we do?
  • There is usually a tightly knit, brick-like alliance between coop attorneys and management companies - most of whom are members of the Community Association Institute. This organization has a very strong lobby that has blocked legislation to strengthen the rights of shareholders. Shareholders and condo owners are at a real disadvantage in NJ. Check it out and contact your local legislator to find out about pending legislation that would help us all - but is stuck in committee.
  • Can a condominium association in NJ spend monthly condo fees to benefit residents over non resident homeowners?
  • You got that right! I had my State Rep sponsor a bill that would impose some constraints and oversight on HOA boards. We all win with checks and balances right???? WRONG...the Community Associations Institute...the lawyers who profit from the theft of our equity and money in the bank....fought tooth and nail to prevent this or any law that would threaten their gravy train.... The bill was sent to "study"...which my Rep said meant "oblivian"
  • can an HAO prfohibit Free Speech?
  • Arlington, VA Condo owner on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 11:44 PM
    How about a condo association board that did not notify the owners that their parking space lines were displaced when the parking garage was repainted. Yet, the president (>10years ob the board) had her parking space line with the common area left off. Now we have residents with a parking space so small only a motorcycle can park there. Oh, I forgot, it is possible the Management Company has conspired to keep this from the residents/owners. Isn't this fraud too?
  • Can a homeowners association in nj modify its covenants to prevent members from suing the association for negligence?
  • I own a condo in OC New Jersey. Hurricane sandy flood water damaged the condo. The waters came thru the common front door. The door was not sand bagged because a resident stayed in the building during the storm. The door was supposed to be replaced prior to sandy. The Governor and Mayor of oc ordered mandatory evacuations. My place is ruined and insurance is only half my estimates. What can I do? The condo association has a duty to protect our property .
  • I would like to know if I should consider suing my HOA for erroneously threading to place a lien on my property and foreclose, if I didn't pay bogus fees and late charges that I was never made aware--yes, I thought my wife paid HOA dues and she thought I paid them. However, we were never made aware of (in writing) dues were late until we received notice of intent to create a lien with fees: collection cost, administrative cost, and attorney fees totaling almost 6 times our quarterly dues. What’s your thought?
  • in a law suit for Condo Association what names do I serve ---in Illinois the board and the association, Liberman management and the mgr who I was in contact with, I was told if not served properly the judge will throw it out
  • We live in a HOA and we just had a new neighbor (tenant). She is getting a divorse from her husband. The guy comes everyday with his buldog and stay over night and park his car. He is not in the lease. We had a mothers day party and he came over and among our children, friends and friends children treaten us, yelling screaming because one of my guests parked in far end corner of the tenants house. First of all, we moved the car. Actually according to HOA rules anybody can park it there, we are not in fault. The owners called us following day and saying that we desturb their tenants. The owner does no idea about the husband and he was not in the lese. Instead of apology they gave us a hard time. Week later, same guy came knocking our door almost to broke. My children (4 and 7 yeras old) tottaly afraid of going outside to play all summer because of this guy. We tried to reason with the owners. We filed a police report against them. The tenant apperantly does not know her 20 years of husbands last name and birthday. Both tenants and owners are not cooperative. We asked HOA to send a notice to them because according to HOA rules, owners responsible from their tenants action. They said that it's a neighbour issue and they do not want to involve. When we send a official letter to the Board, the Board spoke with an attorney and they decided to not take a n action however they granted the bully guy to park inside to our HOA when he visits. Apperantly, anybody can bully their neighbours and get away with it. This issue gave us a great deal of stress all summer. We have withnesses and police report. We will be going to court. NM just adapted a HOA legislation and it's effective on July 2013. According to this new HOA, HOA has to favor his home owners. Plus we have been great neighbours and we never had any problem with any tenant. Can HOA Board members can choose who to favor or not or they have to do what the covenants say?
  • We recently wanted to volunteer to serve on the Board of Directors (my husband ). He was told he would not be able to run because he had to be physically present at the time of the board elections meetings. He was also told that he could present himself as a candidate the day of the meeting if he changed his mind and owners of the condo association would be able to vote at that time . Which my husband did. 5 minutes later he was approached by the attorney of my condo association and told he could not run and once he withdraws he cannot re-enter. After he was told that he can. We had quite a crowd ready to vote and he was told he could not run for the board. The present board members were incumbent board members and just wanted to run unopposed. What is his recourse since there are no such rules in our by-laws.
  • can an hoa restrict use of facilities if lives somewhere else
  • can hoa restrict owner from coming into the community . fees are all paid to date. but temporarily living somewhere else.
  • I'm in the same spot of Maryland Man.. im being sued for a special assessment i was not aware of. Please need some help!!!!! Monthly payments were always paid on time!!
  • HIllsborough Village Condo Assoc refuses to trim the trees that are rubbing on the roof. This will cause damage and allow a path for insects. How can we force them to trim these trees before infestation or damage occurs?
  • I live in a DE HOA community. Should the landscaper carry worker's compensation insurance, along with general liability. What are the pitfalls? Thanks
  • Board election was held with 3 members 2 yrs back, last yr they continued with same members. this yr when I want to be board member they announced 4th member and held election. by law says no member can be in board for more than 3 yr. But there are some in board for more than 3 yrs. when mentioned it was not even listened.
  • I thought I was helping and hired man to cut dead branches hanging over my roof for fear iif broken they would break window or damage windo.Pres of assoc told me to send in invoice as she wanted to rimburse me.Board members said no be a use I did not fill out Maintaince request.I did no because a Large tree by condo had a X on it to come down for 7 Mo and a week ago we had a bad storm and it almost hit our condo. I was glad I did hire man but now mad at board as they knew I saved them money by hiring my help. Amt was only $51.00 They said they would give me 25.50 but I know for a fact other work has been done in here by handyman and Maintaince request was not filed
  • Board member does not follow CC&R's. Infringes on others space and common area with storage, bikes, tools. WHAT CAN WE DO?
  • I was about to buy an apartment for our twice a year visit to USA from South Africa. I'm amazed at the vindictive behaviour of Apartment owners and Board members & their sly attorneys. I will now consider a stand alone house with a fence between me & my neighbour. Good fences make good neighbours. There are no fences in apartmernt blocks.
  • Discussed Homeowner on Sunday, January 5, 2014 2:53 PM
    Can an HOA in NJ deny service to some residents while providing it to others? Those being denied HOA fees are up todate.
  • Our HOA of MILLSTONE COURT, STATEN ISLAND, NY 10314, doesn’t exist, – Only one lady that says she is the treasurer, sends us every year the total amount that we have to pay for that incoming year, without sending us, for at least last six years, any explanation, proof or records of where, when how the money was spent etc… Funny thing, even the increases on the HOA fees for at least two years came from the same lady on an notice page without any signature or even HOA stamp telling us that HOA fees just went up to $400 from $250. None meeting from the people living here was hold, nobody knows who decided for that increase etc… I dont know what is going on here. Please help us with any thoughts or suggestions on this issue. Thanks very much
  • Recently I bought a property that was bank owned, there wasn't much info exchanged from bank but the price was such I figured I couldn't get hurt. I bought it w/ intensions of renting it. I closed put an add in a local newspaper to attract interest. I then received a letter stating the HOA no renters rule. I did not want to live there so I decided to clean it up & resell it. Upon starting my work there I was greeted by the neighbors & was asked if could employ this certain guy who was down on his luck & needed money. I agreed to let him do some gardening outside upon him finishing that I paid him $20 over our agreed price hoping it would satisfy him. He asked if there was anything else he could do to make money. I said I'd see & get back to him. He really wanted to power wash my roof which I figured would be a huge liability if he should fall. I said no & hired a professional company that was insured! Upon finishing my project at the house I was greeted by him when I was leaving he said you never called me ! I said sorry I really didn't have anything else I needed done so I thought I left him on good terms but now suddenly his mom is the president of the association & she stated to me that her intentions are to make it impossible to sell my unit in no uncertain terms. She's about to find out she's playing with the wrong cowboy though I'm gonna own that house of hers very shortly! Hope she reads this!!
  • My HOA changed management companies about a year ago. The old HOA sent my mail to my old LA address until moved into the actually house in Phoenix. I changed the mailing addressand began to receive my bills as usual. Then about 6 months ago the HOA changed management company. I guess my hedges wereto long for the HOA ccompany's liking. I didn't get any warning letters or fines in the mail.Then I nnoticed I wasn't getting my bill from the HOA. I went to speak with the new company and they said I had fines and late fee and attorney fees to pay for my hedges. They were sending the letter to my old address. They refuse to remove the chsrges. Is there anything I can do?
  • I bought a home in a HOA community and I have requested a copy of the HOA rules and its been two years now and after several request I have not been sent a copy yet. I have not paid my dues yet and I just received a late fee notice from an law firm. What rights do I have and what should I do.
  • I bought a home in a HOA community but was not informed before the closing of the HOA being in receivership. It has been a nightmare of good-ole-boy's taking care of their own. The lawyer is getting fat and we are treated like we don't belong in our own clubhouse. I want out but now I'm stuck. I would NEVER buy in a HOA situation again.
  • If you want to avoid needless litigation, b.s. fees and unfair dues, don't buy a residence that has an HOA. The headaches you will have to deal with will far outweigh any maintenance issues arising from owning your own private residence.You may at first think that you will be saving some hassles, but the odds are you won't. The solution is VERY simple.
  • I own a home on waterfront property. We have 35 homes on the island. We have an HOA that is run by mad men and women, absolute mad house. I feel HOA condo life is a different animal, but I do agree with the mentally ill sociopathic personalities who run for the board and turn our homes into a compound run by bullies and criminals. Their needs to be a prison and county jail sentences for these criminal acts of so called volunteer board members. I say get rid of the HOA and help a neighbor mow a lawn or fix a leak and kick the crap out of the bullies to clean up the mess.
  • Willowbriar Hoa in Loveland CO. Passed a policy in 2013, banning bike and scooters from the sidewalks to the street. Now they are urging residents to remind kids, not to play on the sidewalks at all.
  • I live in Fl, and every time I go in the office they treat me like I am a bumb from the corner,rather than a homeowner. Is there anything I can do to get respect
  • Hey anybody answer this question... My HOA for my SFR has ignored me for 5 years... no bills, no calls, no anything. Now 5 years later (out of the 15 I have lived here) they are trying to forclose for legal fees, fines, Past due. They have not treated me as a member .. no ballot voting for the board. They know where I am at. Legally do I have to pay all these fees after they have not done their duty and even gave me notification of fines and dues?
  • I am disabled from 2 car accidents and i cant get out and lift the pressure washer like i use but my homeowners association keeps hounding me to clean mold off the siding. Which i wish i could but i have to rely on family to help me with now they gave me a violation letter. They know i am disabled and seem or dont care. I feel like i like in Nazi or Communist area. Telling me how to live on house i spent over 100,000 dollars.
  • I've had my lot for more than 10 years. My area is undeveloped, lacks power and water, only a cemented road and no neighbors even for a few blocks. Naturally, I live elsewhere because of the lack of development. Suddenly I get a letter from a HOA demanding me 10 years worth of association dues. My gripe with them is I never knew they even existed. They located me via tax mapping. My real estate taxes are paid on time, everytime, every year so no problem there. IMy question is why didn't they try to contact me years ago? I've kept my current address and contact numbers all these years. No knowledge of their existence then no knowledge of by-laws. Is it within my rights to NOT pay due to lack of development and non contact for the past ten years?
  • I am disabled too.I am on ssdi.So the hoa can sue as much as they want,But collecting anything?No,Not my check,I am just walking away from my home.Its lost over half its value.Why stay?
  • We need to make as much noise as possible about the tyrants who are the Board. I'll likely be in the HOA for the rest of my life as it is too expensive to move and remodel.. However I would never recommend another live in an HOA and would move out if I could.
  • It's obvious that the writer of this story failed to do basic research. He just listened what one source told him to write. He missed totally out on the most common kind of lawsuit: Association vs. Homeowner. But that's not what the CAI and its attorneys wanted in the article. The CAI is still spreading the propaganda -- USING A TOTALLY FLAWED OPINION POLL -- that a wide majority of homeowners is happy living in a homeowners' association. The huge number of lawsuits between boards and owners definitely tells a totally different tale!
  • My HOA is suing me for about $8,000. I am serious. I had a tenant in my unit that had some noise complaints , so, I was fined $150 which I paid. Now I am receiving snarky ,nasty letters regarding evicting them which I am in the process of doing. However, eviction takes time. The HOAs latest punishment for me is I am not allowed to use my designated outdoor parking space our use any of the common areas which includes pool, hot tub, etc. I pay my dues and paid cash for my condo, I OWN that parking space. I have had to hire an attorney to deal with the HOA attorney. HOA is fining me $100 A DAY until my tenants are gone. A DAY. I asked for an accounting of the violations that total $8,000 and have never received one.
  • Jim, you cannot withhold your HOA dues for any reason, no offsetting, you could end up with a lien or foreclosure.
  • My condo board hides behind the property management company, which is completely inept. You cannot contact the board without going through the property manager or showing up at a meeting, which is usually cancelled. I have gotten many "compliance letters" and bills that make no sense and aren't even directed at me--they get the unit number wrong. The units that are rented 75% of the time have out of control renters who don't follow the rules and complaining gets nowhere. I don't have the time or the money to get legal help, which seems to be the only way to get any thing done. I'd sell, but I am underwater in the mortgage and don't want to rent. Oh, and our rental cap was voted down so we aren't FHA approved any more. Horrible. Homeowners have NO RIGHTS in condo communities. NONE.
  • Our Condo was destroyed by water damage from a 2 pipe bursting above us. It has been almost 2 months and we still.not have recieved money from condo asociation who has taken responsibility for all our damages.Farmers who is our insurance company turned our claim down saying they do not cover slow leaks ,but an insurance adjuster firm hired by the condo association said thier was four condos destroyed by water at a high rate of speed pouring into our unite and others.This was not a slow leak as Farmers used to denie our claim
  • Is there any way to avoid the HOA if they are not genuine?
  • ,my tenant has sue the homeowners association for a wall that she thought was unfair they sent it to court and it was thrown out just how is your name tell me that they were going to handle all expenses and then counter sue the tenant now they decided to come after me for all the fees what can I do
  • I have read most of the posts regarding HOA issues against the board. I have one I know you have not heard. The President of our POA thats right POA will not except the Quartly dues. Last year I had to complain to the Indiana Attorney Office , that got his attention, this year I sent the full year dues Ceritfied mail. That was a month ago He has not cashed the check. I Think he would like to put a lean on my place ? The reason I believe is that he and all his friends from California bought up most of the Forclosed duplexes I was able to buy one and he was upset and hostel from the begining.
  • Southern Ridge at Estates at Cherry Lake on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 1:47 PM
    We have an HOA president sending violation lists to our management company and then turning around and offering his services to fix the issues for a fee to the same homeowners. Would this be legal and if not what would this fall under? Fraud?
  • Everyone out there with HOA issues. You don't need a white collar criminals as HOA lawyers. If Condo Act or your bylaws were broken you and you can proof you have a case, take the management and board to your county chancery court and a judge will enforce the law. Also, keep everything in writing as this is the only way you can proof anything. If you have construction issues related to common areas, call your building department and they will sue the board and management if they don't fix your apartments. This is negligence and they should be legally reprimanded
  • My home is in foreclouser, all hoa fees are up to date, put they are charging me $4000.00 Back fees and lawyer fees and putting a lien on my home. Insurance, taxes, and condo fees are up to date, never been late
  • We bought a house 3 yrs ago and were told that Theresa no HOA . Now 3 yrs later they say it is law in NC that development with over 10 homes have to have a HOA. Is this true? The only reason the majority of us bought here was due to the fact there wasn't an HOA..
  • Hello, My lease expires in July and I had planned on renewing my lease. My landlord called me on Friday (4/24/15) to advise me that the HOA is threatening on not renewing my lease unless I conform to their demands. Please keep in mind that I have not violated any of their compliance rules and I have not violated anything in my lease. Their major complaint is that my adult son has been staying with me (since 3/10/15) temporarily until he was able to save and find a place of his own. My lease states that temporary guests are welcome (doesn't specify a time frame) and the HOA guidelines say that Tenant guests/family members are welcome..with no time frame at all. He takes walks but doesn't bother anyone and spends most of his home time in the bedroom watching tv. They claim that the police had been called and that that there has been verbal disturbances...this is a lie...didn't happen. They are complaining that showers are taken at all hours of the night..also a lie..but really does it matter? My landlord (who knew of my sons presence when she visited at Easter and actually lent me a twin mattress for him to sleep on) is less than supportive..I am being made to feel like I have done something wrong when I haven't. I think she doesn't want to cause a riff with the HOA president . What are my rights? Do they have to come up with a reason not to renew my lease that's legitimate? Can they deny me just because? I have 3 more months before my lease ends and I am a wreck. I can barely sleep...cant eat...all I can think of is what Im going to do...Reasonable rentals are hard to come by if at all. My stress level is insanely high and now I look like a bad person to my landlord and everyone else who lives here...I feel like Im being watched every second and don't even feel like I can flush a toilet during certain hours.
  • Does the information posted on an HOA website ever cause a law suit. I like the Bylaws, CCR's and Articles of Inc. easily accessible without the homeowner having to remember a password. I think that is an easy way for a homeowner to find out information they may need! Password protect or Not. That is the question? Minutes too but they don't show any information from the executive sessions.
  • Our HOA Board posted names of homeowners (husband and wife)who have not paid annual dues on Facebook and in the printed newsletter even though they were advised not to. Some of the homeowners have pending litigation and payment plans from last year which would be a FDCPA violation.
  • stressed in Florida on Sunday, May 17, 2015 4:22 PM
    My husband is President of our HOA a board member has been calling vendors and using his name and saying he is the president of our HOA. So my question is, he is representing himself as my husband, is this fraud?
  • I own 2 units in the same complex on a canyon. Large cracks in the front wall corners have started and the front wall is separating from the units. I requested the HOA check into the issue, and they sent out a geotechnical engineer in the winter of 2014. They refuse to share the report with me after repeated requests, refuse to include me in board meetings discussing the matter, and are now discussing privately with a contractor. I feel like this is not working for my best interest and the homeowner on the potentially cracked foundation (I do not know since they won't share anything with me). This feels illegal to me to withhold information and I feel like I am being shut out in the dark. What are my rights here?
  • I have been pay $480 HOA payments on a house I inherited for roughly 4 years. I mail the payment to a homeowner next to the house I own (the house I own is a rental). I called to ask for HOA documents and he told me to call the County. When I called the County they said that they didn't have that information? Who do I call to get HOA documents and how do I know this person is not just saying there is an HOA and is taking my money?
  • In NJ. CAn a HOA, board or bylaws legally ban tenants from the open part of the meeting that owners may attend? Is this not a civil rights issue?
  • I live in an adult community in Allentown, N.J. My house is sided with a stucco façade. The façade is crumbling and in need of repair. On advice of professionals, I was told repair would likely be temporary because the weather in area is not conducive to this pseudo-stucco, and it was improperly applied. Due to this reasoning, and financial concerns, I petitioned the BOT of the HOA to modify the façade, replacing it with siding matching perfectly to the other three sides. Siding was an original option all buyers had to choose from when the community was built. Even though my house would meet all the specifications my neighbors' houses met, they are disputing my right to do it. They contend it's spoiling the harmony of the community to use a different material--even though that material is all around the area It is frustrating to fight this insanity for 3 months. What makes them "judge and jury" when someone is leaning over backwards to adhere to the conformity as best as humanly possible in such a difficult situation. Best advice---stay away from any "planned" community because the "plan" is to take away any rights a home owner should have for protection and preservation of their rightful property.
  • My HOA does not like the black people in the community and highered a maintenance man to get ride of them. So the maintenance man goes around steeling there stuff. And make thing cost to much for them and then kick them out at the moment that they cant pay
  • You need to always document all correspondence when dealing with a HOA board or their management company,esp. If you are having problems with them. Photo copy all checks before sending,if credit card is used make sure you can prove the date send,if they want to harass you,esp.if you pay by check,they can just not cash it,and then claim they didn't receive it. ALWAYS sent by certified mail!
  • I have scanned thru most of these comments but see no answers. That is just too bad. I am fighting my HOA for selective enforcement. It has now got personal with the HOA president who lives next to me. They have racked up fees by now of over $7K and climbing. They select who they want to harass over some matters where almost half of the community is doing the same and never receiving violation letters. I have concrete proof and they have nothing. Guess my next step is hiring a lawyer and taking their A$$es to court. Just hope I can find a lawyer who thinks it might be worth their time.
  • I leave in a new home out on a main road but when house was built I was told I had to join the hoa for a development that is down another street and not even in eyesight of my house so now I pay a hoa fee and I don't benefit anybit of the development is there anyway out of this
  • From what I read, each state has it's own laws or lack thereof regarding these HOA's and very few states are protecting individuals who get screwed over by a board. So people can check their state laws to see if they can get help. HOAs are also under federal laws pertaining to non-profit corporations, so they have to abide by those laws. If they don't, they can be sued by the members. Clearly, more oversight of HOAs are needed so people can write to their state and federal representatives. These comments above are sad stories and I have one too but we need to make our voices heard outside the HOA and get some oversight and stop all these abuses of power !!
  • I have a issue with the board they took a picture of my rubber edging along with a letter stating I needed to realign or replace it I have a ranch townhome with a substantial common ground area that the edging covers about a 100ft. I took the letter as reprimanding.Now I had become very observing earlier after a grass issue I witness the landscaping CO. was not using a weedwacker twice in succession and using the large mobile grass mower to get as close to the rubber edging and they cut the rubber edging Now there was previous damage done before thinking they would replace it.So when I got the letter I called our HOT LINE several times to discuss this never did I get a response but a 2nd letter stating that the board discussed my issue and said it was caused by partially the weather and said not by a weedwacker so the board didn't agree with my complaint the trouble is I never talked to anyone from the board and its all hearsay,which angers me I will address the board at our general meeting what do you say?
  • I have an injury from a slipping on ice on my parking lot. I was told to find someone to represent me. Would appreciate if you could contact me. Thank you Thomas Ludzieski Sr.
  • I am living in small complex with 21 units in Northern NJ. We have 6 people on the board and they all live in the complex and don't pay the maintenance fees. Is it legal in NJ to get compensated to be on the board and don't pay the fees?
  • I have a question. Can vise president board member watch surveillance footage from computer or laptop privately from their home?