Frequently Asked Questions About Homeowners Associations
Shared interest developments, including subdivisions, condominiums and town houses, are becoming common in Texas. These developments usually include a homeowners association that manages the property, and creates and enforces rules. That brings up a lot of questions. Here are answers to some we at the firm of Barsalou & Associates, PLLC, get asked frequently.
What Are Covenants, Conditions And Restrictions?
These are the rules of your neighborhood. The covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) are legal limitations and requirements about what a property owner (member) can do to their property. They are supposed to protect, preserve and enhance property values.
Penalties for CC&R violations can include:
- Forced compliance
- Privilege suspension
How Can An Attorney Help Our HOA?
If members do not follow CC&Rs, there can be fines, lawsuits, property liens and possible foreclosures. If members violate CC&Rs, they cannot be evicted, and their property cannot be removed. You also cannot violate anyone’s personal rights if you are trying to enforce covenants, but you can have legal action.
If alleged violations are not resolved, HOA can bring legal action for enforcement. Collection and enforcement can be time-consuming, and stressful for boards and property managers. A lawyer can help collect assessments and enforce deed restrictions.
Can HOA Members Sue?
Yes. Circumstances arise and HOAs can be sued. Reasons for a lawsuit can include:
- Contract violations. HOAs have rules and laws that must be followed. Those rules must be followed by residents and the HOA too. Contracts are legally binding.
- Harassment/discrimination. HOAs cannot have rules based on race, marital status, the number of children a family has or religion. People cannot be treated unequally based on a protected class.
- Misappropriation of funds. Fees can be collected for repairs, trash, snow removal and grounds maintenance. If exorbitant fees are added (or cannot be explained), legal action is possible.
- Necessary repairs are not made. Dues are used for repairs on common grounds. If repairs are needed, but not made, a lawsuit is possible.
- Remodeling disputes. Members who want to update property or make repairs, but the HOA denies them, there might be grounds for a suit.
Supporting Your HOA Right To Preserve The Development
Sometimes members violate the CC&Rs. If that happens, it can mean a legal battle. The attorneys at Barsalou & Associates, PLLC, can protect your HOA rights. Call our offices if you need HOA assistance in Houston or the surrounding area at 713-396-3871 or email us.