At Holden Litigation
We Play To Win
At Holden Litigation
We Play To Win
At Holden Litigation
We Play To Win

Common reasons why homeowners’ associations are sued

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2024 | Uncategorized

Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) serve as an important presence in managing and maintaining community standards and amenities. An HOA board also has its share of legal responsibilities and the potential risks it faces.

Understanding why HOAs get sued can help board members take proactive measures to mitigate these risks. Lawsuits against HOAs can arise from various issues, and being prepared is crucial for effective and responsible board management.

Breach of the association’s governing documents

One of the most frequent causes of litigation against HOAs is the alleged breach of the association’s governing documents, like the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), bylaws or rules and regulations. This can occur if an HOA enforces rules inconsistently, fails to enforce certain rules, or takes actions that aren’t supported by the documents. Regularly reviewing these documents and ensuring all actions comply with them is essential to avoid such disputes.

Discrimination claims

HOAs must adhere to federal and state anti-discrimination laws, including the Fair Housing Act. Understanding these laws and having specific rules in the governing documents is critical for HOAs. Lawsuits can arise if residents feel they have been discriminated against based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability or familial status. Ensuring that all policies and actions of an HOA are non-discriminatory and respectful of all members’ rights is imperative.

Failure to maintain common areas

Another common reason for lawsuits is an HOA’s failure to maintain common areas or perform necessary repairs. This may lead to accidents or damage to individual properties. The board must ensure that all common areas are well-maintained and that any repair issues are addressed promptly to avoid such liabilities.

Disputes over assessments and fees

Disagreements over the imposition of assessments, dues or special fees can also lead to legal challenges. Transparency in financial dealings, clear communication about fee structures, and adherence to the governing documents when levying assessments are vital practices to avoid such disputes.

What to do if the HOA is sued

If your HOA faces a lawsuit, it’s crucial to gather all relevant documents, including the HOA’s governing documents, any relevant correspondence and records of board meetings. The board should avoid discussing the case with anyone outside its legal team to prevent miscommunication or additional legal complications. Finally, it’s essential to review the situation that led to the lawsuit and consider measures to prevent similar issues down the road.