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Can I file a lawsuit against HOA for harrassment?

Atlanta, GA |

I confronted the vice president's wife of my hoa who happen to live right next to me being in my backyard. since then I have been getting violation letters for any little things. For example, I received a letter about a pampass grass which happen to be between my property line and another neighboor's. This thing has been like that since I bought the house 5 years ago. I never touched it because our electric company has something burried under there. I also received a violation notice because re-painted my house the same coulor it was when we purchased the house. The letter saying I should have asked for permission to do so. No one speak to us since we moved in. Believe me I am not making this up. I live in Dallas, GA. Please advise

Attorney Answers 1

  1. It is unfortunate that HOA enforcement sometimes seems to single out people unfairly. It clearly does happen, and it sounds like it may have happened to you. However, if all you have so far is letters alleging violations, you can dispute the violation, but it is unlikely that you have a harrassment suit against the HOA. I have clients who are HOAs that get accused of discrimination, and I have clients that are individuals who feel the HOA has singled them out. It is rare, however, that a lawsuit is the way for an owner to address the situation unless you have money to burn. Until some other action is taken by the HOA, such as assessing fines against you and filing a lien on the public records, the letters are an annoyance but are probably not the basis of legal liability.

    What do you do? First, write back to the association and advise them that you contest the violation claim. Many association documents have dispute procedures written into the documents and require the board to have a hearing on the violation if requested. If they are required to have a hearing and refuse, they may not be able to take any further action without incurring liability. If the association has a managment company, talk to the property manager. Property managers deal with these situations day after day, and the manager may be of assistance in stemming the flood of violation notices.

    Next, if the association takes any formal action, such as filing a lien or a lawsuit, you probably need to speak to an attorney who can look at the association documents and advise you of your options. If you just get a letter from an attorney for the association, consider contacting the attorney directly, but also consider having your own attorney make the contact. Don't simply ignore the letter as that is most unlikely to be helpful to you. Every association document is different, and the rights and options available to the association are provided for in the legal documents, not generally in the state statutes. Without looking at your specific documents, noone can fully advise you on your possible courses of action.

    Finally, try to make yourself the most reasonable person in the dispute. If you can do that, and if the issue gets before a judge, you are far more likely to get a favorable result.

    Good luck resolving the problem.