What Are Homeowner Associations Designed To Do?
A homeowner association is an organization that is set up by real estate developers to maintain a certain standard of appearance of the homes located in a given subdivision, or condos within a given complex. The association also manages the common assets of the community. These common assets can include roads, sidewalks, clubhouses, or pools.
The services provided by the association, usually through a private company, include the removal of snow, maintenance of the landscaping in areas not owned by individual members, and security. The rules and regulations are enforced by the community. Rules and regulations can be anything from noise control to design standards. Often a homeowner association will dictate the ways in which a member can decorate his or her lawn for the holidays, for example.
Unfortunately for many homeowner associations, the people running them do not have the legal knowledge necessary to enforce these regulations properly. This can lead to issues when the associations need to enforce the rules with fellow homeowners who are not compliant, or when there are disagreements about these regulations. These associations must practice this enforcement in accordance with state and local laws, or the members may open themselves up to legal action themselves.
It is a good idea to have reliable legal counsel available to be present at annual meetings. Legal counsel should also be available when the bylaws for the association are drawn up. This way everyone can be sure these rules are clear and that they are legally enforceable. It also may be necessary for association attorneys to meet with other parties, such as the board of directors, contractors, or real estate developers.
Some of the common problems that these groups experience include bringing members into compliance who do not abide by the terms of their contractual obligation as members of the community. There are a number of reasons why this situation occurs, and typically associations address these problems by first levying fines against the offenders. If fining does not resolve the problem, often the case will go to court. If it comes to this stage, the right legal representation will assist the association in getting compliance with the regulations.
Often homeowner associations may have to deal with members who do not pay their association dues. This places strain on the association budget and is unfair to the other members who are prompt about their payments. Legal counsel needs to be available to handle these cases. The right law firm will be aggressive in pursuing debt collection. These actions will impress upon all members the important of staying current with their dues.
Many quality legal practices will have experience acting on behalf of homeowner associations. In order to find the best representation, members are urged to call various law offices to see which firm is the best qualified to deal with the specific issues that deal with this area of legal law.