Disputes between a homeowner and their HOA are bound to happen from time to time. While we do our best to avoid them, there are times when two parties are at odds with one another. Disagreements between an HOA and a homeowner should always be handled as peacefully as possible due to the long term relationship between both parties. However, when it comes to disputes pertaining to a living situation, tensions rise and conversations may become heated. For those living in a community, knowing the homeowners’ rights against the HOA will outline the best way to engage in healthy and positive dispute resolution.
Our business is working with HOAs so we have a lot of experience in what works and what doesn’t when conflict does arise. Here are a few tips that we feel will help you find a mutually beneficial solution when working with your HOA:
- Come into any discussion with a goal of finding resolution together – your HOA truly wants to work with you to resolve disputes
- Know who you need to contact – your HOA will have community contact information and this is your first point of contact
- Understand the rules set down by your HOA – your HOA will have a full list of their rules and regulations available to members of their community
- Know your rights and also the laws in your area – here is a useful guide on HOA and homeowner laws
What are Homeowners’ Rights Against HOA?
The relationship between an HOA and a homeowner should be mutually beneficial rather than adversarial. An HOA exists to make life easier for everyone living in that community. This can often be mistaken for control, both by community members and by the HOA itself, which can lead to conflict. It is important to know that you have rights as a homeowner. Those rights include:
- Freedom from Discrimination: The Fair Housing Act protects specific groups from discrimination in regards to living situations.
- Freedom from fines that have not been outlined in the HOA’s rules and standards: Documentation needs to show that fines can be levied against homeowners for certain infractions. If you are fined for something that has never been established as a rule or guideline, you are legally within your rights to not pay that fine.
- Freedom from new rules being made without discussion or voting: The HOA can’t make up new rules without publicly discussing and voting on them. If you are dinged for an infraction that’s not on the books, you are within your rights to dispute it.
- The right to participate in meetings and voice your concerns: You are a vital part of the community. You have the right to participate in your HOA and bring up any issues you see or experience.
HOA Dispute Resolution Tips
Rather than getting tangled up in an argument with your HOA, there are a variety of ways to approach the matter peacefully and productively.
- Know the rules. Every HOA is different. If there’s an issue, make sure there’s a rule that backs up your position. If there’s nothing on the books about it, your HOA might not be liable for the problem at hand.
- Submit all complaints in writing directly to your HOA. If an online portal is set up for maintenance problems or HOA complaints, use that first. If this method fails, contact your HOA directly via email or certified mail.
- Speak with fellow residents to see if your issue is singular or widespread. You might not be the only one experiencing this problem and if so, you want to connect with others in your community so you can band together to address the issue as a group.
- Continue living as a model neighbor. Don’t give the HOA any reason to fight your dispute with complaints of their own. Pay your dues on time. Familiarize yourself with your HOA as much as possible.
When faced with a dispute, it’s important to work directly with your HOA to resolve the problem together. A homeowners property management company, such as Slatter HOA Management, does not handle disputes between homeowners and HOAs and cannot help you in your situation. Remember to behave with civility as you address concerns with your HOA to ease the process. A peaceful HOA dispute resolution is ideal for everyone.