Are you in an HOA community and you’re wondering about the homeowners rights against HOA. Wonder no more, in this article, you will see the 11 legal homeowners’ rights against HOA including how and when to utilize these rights.
Homeowners have the right to sue HOA Board Members, right to question HOA fees, right to amend HOA rules and regulations, rights to access HOA financial reports and HOA documents, right to disciplinary hearings, right to be treated fairly, right to complain to the Board Member, and right to use their property as they please.
As a homeowner in a community that has a Homeowners Association, the HOA has immense rights just as you (as a homeowner) have rights. Know your rights, and know when and how to use them.
Table of Contents
Homeowners Rights Against HOA
Homeowners rights against HOA are:
1. Right to sue HOA or Board Members
A homeowner has the right to sue an HOA and its Board Members for breach of its duties. If the HOA is acting way behind and refuses to heed your complaints, you can go ahead and sue them. The HOA is not above the law and can be sued as long as you have the evidence to prove your claims.
The reason for the HOA and the reason why you pay huge HOA fees is to ensure they use these funds to manage the community as stated in the document. However, in a situation where it seems the HOA is acting otherwise and acting almighty, you can bring a lawsuit against them.
Be that as it may, before bringing any lawsuit against an HOA and its Board Members, be sure that they are responsible for the duty for which they breached.
It will be weird to sue an HOA and its Board Members for breach of duty only to get to court to figure out that they are not responsible for such duty.
It will be very bad considering that these Board Members are still homeowners like you in the same community with you. People you’re likely to see every day.
The best way to find out if the HOA indeed has to do the duty is through the HOA document. The document contains all the information about the HOA such as their duties, fees to pay, and many more.
As a homeowner in a community or condominium managed by an HOA, you will be given the HOA documents once it’s certain you have completed the necessary payments and you are indeed the owner of a house. Peradventure you were not given this document. You can request it. You have the right to access the document.
Please note that as a homeowner, you may also have the right to sue an individual Board Member for breach of duty. This however depends on your state or your community.
Since Board Members are mandated to always exhibit tangible diligence in performing their duties. Since they are expected to be reasonably informed and knowledgeable about the governing documents, and participate in HOA meetings, if any board member fails to fulfill his duty, he or she can be sued.
Before you proceed with legal action against an individual Board Member, ensure that the governing documents allow you to do so. You cannot sue a Board Member if the HOA documents did not give you the right to do so. But you can sue HOA Board Members as a whole for their failures to carry out their duties effectively.
2. Right to Amend HOA Rules and Regulation
Another homeowners rights against HOA are the right to amend HOA rules and regulation. A homeowner has the right to seek the change or amendment of the HOA rules if it’s not beneficial to the community.
A homeowner also has the right to request for the amendment of the HOA rules and regulations if it’s affecting the HOA functions. If you notice that a particular HOA rule is preventing the Association from carryout a beneficial duty for the whole community, you can request for the rules to be amended.
Please note that this amendment right cannot work if you want to use it for selfish reasons. It can only work if it is for the benefit of the whole community.
For example, if you request for the HOA to provide lights in the gym house and they could not because they don’t have the power to do so. As the HOA document does not give them the power to provide lights in the gym.
As a homeowner who doesn’t own a gym house in the community. You have the right to request for the amendment of the rules to give the HOA power to provide lights in the gym house.
The point you should note here is, HOA document is not very easy to amend. Please take note of that. It requires the vote of the Board Members to successfully amend the rules and this can take time.
Also, some HOA documents house the procedure for the changing or the amending of its rules. You can check the document for more information on that. Remember, do not act selfishly. Let it be for your good and the good of the whole community.
3. Right to Question HOA Fees and Special Assessment
A homeowner has legal rights to question HOA fees if the Association keeps increasing the fees without any tangible reason for the increment. You can question the fees if you can’t find anything good the HOA is doing with the money.
Once the money is involved, homeowners have the right to question it. You cannot keep paying fees you don’t know what it is meant for or what it will be used for. You can’t keep paying dues and some homeowners are using it for their selfish interest. The HOA cannot keep increasing the fees without any tangible reasons to do so. When this happens, you have the right to question the fees.
However, the fact that you have the right to question the HOA fees doesn’t mean you have the right to stop paying the fees. While question the fees, you are urged to pay up to avoid stories that touch.
If you don’t fully understand why you’re asked to pay some fees, do not keep quiet. You can go ahead and ask them why the fees and why you are paying them. You have the legal right to do that.
4. Right to Access HOA Financial Report
As a homeowner under HOA, you have the legal right to request the financial report of the HOA. You have the right to inspect the financial document to see how the Association is managing the fees paid.
To get these financial reports, you need to request them. Every HOA has different ways by which they do this. Inquire how your HOA gets theirs.
In some HOA, you may need to write a notice and even pay some money for posting costs. However, you need to inquire how your HOA goes about it and do it with them.
5. Right to Access HOA Governing Documents
As reiterated earlier, you have the legal right to access HOA governing documents. The HOA governing document contains the duty/function of the Board Members and HOA at large. It contains the rules and regulations. Therefore, the only way to know about these laws is if you have access to the documents.
Once you completed building the house or buying a house in an HOA community or condominium and finish paying the necessary payments. You have the legal right to have the governing documents. It is supposed to be given to you. Peradventure the document was not given to you, you have the right to request for it. Stand your ground and get the document.
6. Right to Disciplinary Hearings
A homeowner has a right to disciplinary hearings; meaning that the HOA cannot just impose a fine against you without first hearing from you. They can write a letter to you requesting your availability for the hearing. Everyone has the right to a fair hearing and the HOA should not take that away from you.
7. Right to Complain to the Board Members
HOA Board Members are not almighty. They are not the law. They are homeowners like you in the community. So you don’t need to fear them. However, you have the right to complain to any Board Member or Board Members what have been going on, or what they promised to do which they have not done. You keep complaining until you see them taking action.
8. Right to Remove one or More Members of the HOA Board of Directors
If any member of the Board of Directors is acting otherwise, doing what he is not supposed to do and neglecting his duty to the community. Homeowners have the right to remove that board member. As long as it is obvious of the poor management or the nonchalant behavior of the member, the person can be removed by the homeowners.
9. Right to be Treated Fairly
Just because you are a member of HOA doesn’t mean they can treat you anyhow they like. You still have the right to be treated fairly. Don’t allow anybody to intimidate you and when you are sure you are being treated unfairly or unequally to others. You can complain. If after complaining and nothing is done about it, you can sue them.
The Fair Housing Act covers you from being discriminated against because of your race, color, s*x, religion, national origin, familial status, or disability. Before suing the HOA, ensure you have enough evidence to back up your claim.
10. Rights to Reasonable Accommodation
This is for the disabled. Those with disabilities have the right to reasonable accommodation. The Fair Housing Act requires that homeowners with disabilities can request a reasonable accommodation. This is to ensure that homeowner is comfortable like others and able to live his life like other homeowners in the community.
Other Homeowners Rights are:
The right of possession
The right of enjoyment
The right of control
The right of exclusion
The right of disposition
Right to use the US Flag or display US flag
Right to solar installations and satellite dishes
Right to solar drying, and
Right to native plants
As a homeowner in an HOA community, you have legal rights to do all the things explained in this article. However, while doing them, be conscious of your actions. Do not do those for selfish reasons to avoid it backfiring back to you. If you want to press charges or sue the HOA for any reason whatsoever, make sure you have enough evidence to back up your claims.