Aerial View of Neighborhood

Can a Homeowner Sue Their HOA?

William B. Hanley Aug. 24, 2020

According to the Community Association Institute, about 25 – 27 percent of the U.S. population reside in private communities governed by condominium, cooperative, and housing associations. Homeowners' Associations (HOA) are established in many communities across the country to set out specific rules and regulations that all residents must abide by.

Unfortunately, homeowners sometimes run into a unique set of issues with their HOA. Such disputes can include mismanagement of HOA funds, maintenance delays, breach of fiduciary duty, or breach of covenant. If you are involved in a dispute and considering filing a lawsuit against your HOA, it is important to consult with an experienced HOA litigation attorney for proper guidance.

William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law, is well-versed in HOA dispute matters and state laws. As your legal counsel, he can advise you regarding your legal rights and responsibilities as a homeowner. Also, he will provide you with the legal guidance and strong representation you need. He is proud to serve clients throughout Irvine, California, and the surrounding communities of Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego, counties.

Rights and Obligations of an HOA

A Homeowners' Association (HOA) is an association that governs planned residential developments, condos, or townhouses. The HOA is responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations that must be followed by fellow residents. On purchasing a property in an area governed by an HOA, the homeowner becomes a member of the association automatically. He or she must pay fees and follow HOA rules and regulations. Here are some of the rights, duties, and obligations of an HOA:

  • Set and approve rules, bylaws, conditions, and covenants

  • Review complaints and make decisions regarding concerns of resident and homeowners

  • Enforce penalties and fines against residents and homeowners for breaching the bylaws or rules

  • Appoint committees and delegate tasks to members

  • Hold meetings for members and the board of directors

  • Set homeowner fees

  • Maintain common areas such as community buildings, amenities, and green spaces

  • Maintain a reserve of funds

  • Carry out home inspection

  • Budget and organize maintenance and repairs

Governing Documents of an HOA

The basic governing documents of an HOA include:

  • Articles of Incorporation

  • Rules and Regulations

  • Bylaws

  • Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs)

Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs)

The CC&Rs include the rules and regulations of your community. They describe the requirements and limitations concerning what you can do with your property. The aim of the CC&Rs is to preserve, protect, and improve property values within the neighborhood.

HOA Declaration

In many states, the HOA may be required to submit a Declaration to the city or county government. The HOA Declaration includes both the legal and physical descriptions of the entire community. Also, the description will include the number of individual units, whether condominiums or houses.

Taking Legal Action

If you believe that your HOA has stepped out of line, you can take legal action against the association in the following dispute issues:

Breach of Fiduciary Duty: The HOA members and board of directors have a fiduciary duty to the corporation. They are required to act on behalf of the association in good faith, and with skill, care, and caution. You may sue the HOA for breach of fiduciary duty for failure to manage the affairs of the HOA sensibly.

Breach of Covenant: The CC&R's rules and regulations of an HOA are legally binding for members of the association. Homeowners may have a basis for a breach of covenant lawsuit against the HOA for not following the CC&R's rules and regulations.

Negligence: Homeowners may also have grounds to sue the HOA for negligent actions such as:

  • Neglected landscaping

  • Financial mismanagement

  • Failure to enforce rules about noise and barking dogs

  • Maintenance or repair delays

  • Discriminatory enforcement of rules against certain residents

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Homeowner association disputes are quite prevalent in the United States but usually resolvable. However, if the dispute is considerably more serious and requires filing a lawsuit against the HOA, it is crucial to consult with an experienced HOA litigation attorney for proper guidance.

William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law, is committed to providing strong representation in matters of HOA disputes and lawsuits. As an experienced California HOA attorney, he will investigate your complaints and act as a mediator. He will attempt to negotiate a fair resolution with your HOA and resolve disputes productively between all parties involved. William B. Hanley can protect your rights and defend you in court if needed. With him on your side, you can anticipate a favorable outcome in your HOA lawsuit.

Hire an Experienced HOA Attorney in Irvine, California

If you are involved in a dispute with your HOA, or if you want to sue your Homeowners' Association, contact William B. Hanley, Attorney at Law today to schedule a one-on-one consultation. He can provide the legal guidance you need and represent you in negotiations with your HOA. He proudly serves clients throughout Irvine, Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego, California.