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Suing my home owners association

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Can a homeowner sue his home owners association?

Attorney Answers 4


Of course. The Home Owners Association owes many duties to the homeowners.

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Although it often seems like anyone can sue anyone for anything in the United States, that is an overstatement. In terms of one's ability to sue their homeowners association ("HOA"), the answer is likely going to come down to what your grounds for the proposed lawsuit are, which you did not elaborate upon. Assuming you have some basis in fact and law for your lawsuit, as an initial matter, you will need to determine if you can commence a traditional lawsuit against the HOA in a state or federal court or if the HOA's by-laws and/or covenants, conditions, and restrictions ("CC&Rs") require that you go to arbitration or mediation instead.

Finally, a note of caution: as you may know, although in some countries the losing party must pay the winning party's attorneys fees, the general rule in the United States is that each party pays his or her own attorneys fees. With that said, often times there are provisions in a HOA's by-laws or CC&Rs that shift attorneys fees onto the homeowner where the homeowner "loses" his or her case. This payment would be on top of any fees or expenses you incur in prosecuting your lawsuit. Accordingly, you should consult an attorney licensed in the state where the property is located to consider these issues, among others, before you attempt to sue a HOA.

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The previous answers discuss the nature of a HOA to sue and be sued. But before you resort to expensive and time-consuming litigation be sure to exhaust other available options and remedies (if the statute of limitations doesn't force to to file suit or lose the right of course).

You might consider a written complaint process attaching your documents and photos and other proof (maybe statements of neighbors in support of your position). You might consider asking for the right to speak to the board face to face to supplement your letter of complaint. You might try a petition to show a groundswell of support for your position. Each of these alternatives are less expensive, and possibly more likely to result in relief or a possible compromise.

If this effort fails you can offer to mediate or arbitrate the issue in a short session that might be cost-effective. Sometimes HOA's are sensitive to the fact that they are trustees of the funds of homeowners and a fair opportunity without extended litigation costs can be attractive to them, and to you.

Litigation should truly be a last resort.

Best of luck to you in resolving this dispute.

Note: This Answer and any information contained in this answer is not intended to be treated as legal advice, but is offered solely for information purposes; And, this posting does not create an attorney-client relationship or privacy privilege of any kind. This attorney licensed only in Georgia.

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Depends on what your issues are. I agree that litigation should always be a last resort. A good real estate attorney will be adept at negotiating with an association to resolve whatever issues you are having. They will also be able to interpret the Bylaws, CC&Rs, and Rules and Regulations to determine if the association has exceeded its authority and what you as a homeowner can do to make the situation better.

Disclaimer: This Answer is offered solely for information purposes and is not intended to be legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship.

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