If you live in an area that has a homeowner's association, you probably have some bylaws you must live by. The association can be very quick to cite you if they find something amiss with your property or if you are not abiding by the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) of the community. Many times, they will have a lawyer send you a notice detailing what you are doing wrong, what must be done to correct the situation, and how long you have to fix things. It is important to understand that the CC&Rs are there for your protection also. Here are just a few reasons you may need to hire your own association attorney to take on your homeowner's association.
Discrimination or Harassment
While the CC&Rs are something you must adhere to, that does not give the association or any of your neighbors the right to harass you about a situation. Once you have been told about a problem, no one should bother you. In fact, if people do harass you about it, you may want to hire an attorney to send them a cease and desist letter. In addition, if any of the rules or regulations of the CC&R try to discriminate against you for things like your race, your marital status, or the number of children you have, you need to get legal help and fight the HOA.
Discrepancy Between HOA and CC&Rs
It is possible for your HOA to try to stop you from doing something, perhaps they are telling you that you cannot add a patio to your home. Unless this is clearly stated in the CC&Rs, you have a good chance of winning against the HOA. Contact an association lawyer for advice on how to proceed when the CC&Rs do not backup what the HOA is demanding of you.
If the HOA is not sticking to the bylaws or following the rules set by the CC&Rs, you can sue them for a violation of your rights. Do not just assume that because they are the HOA, they can do what they want. The contracts you signed need to be adhered to on both sides. They cannot just change things as they see fit.
There are many advantages to living in a community with an HOA. However, it does not mean you give up your rights to everything. You may want to have an attorney read the contracts before you decide to move there. Once there, make sure they stick to their end of the deal. Speak with an association attorney for more information.