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5 Reasons to Potentially Sue Your HOA

By Andrew Lu on April 06, 2013 9:51 AM

If you're not happy with your homeowner's association (HOA) or housing development, you may be able to sue.

When you moved into a condo or housing development, you may have been asked to read and sign an elaborately worded tome called "Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions" (CC&Rs).

Generally, CC&Rs spell out what you can and cannot do in and around your home. If you violate these rules, you could potentially be sued by your HOA, forced to move out, or forced to conform.

However, your relationship with your HOA or housing development is not a one-way street for lawsuits. Just as they can potentially sue you, you can also sue them.

Here are five common reasons you may want to sue your HOA:

  1. Harassment or discrimination. Your HOA/housing development is free to establish a lot of rules. However, if these rules are based on "protected characteristics" like your race, marital status, the number of kids you have, etc., the rules may not be allowed under housing discrimination laws.

  2. Contract violations. The CC&Rs are basically a contract. Just as you are required to follow the rules, your HOA should also follow its own rules. So if the HOA decides to install an expensive swimming pool or wants to add a noisy business as a first-floor tenant, you may be able to sue to enforce your rights if these violate your contract.

  3. Misappropriation of funds. Every month, you pay hundreds of dollars to your HOA. But do you know where this money is going? If you see exorbitant amount of money going to HOA board lunches or attorney's fees, you may be able to take legal action to stop it.

  4. Remodeling disputes. You want to add a bedroom to your condo, but your HOA says you can't. The CC&Rs, however, are silent on the issue. If your HOA is unwilling to bend, you may have to sue to see if you can remodel your home the way you'd like.

  5. Repairs. You are paying your HOA dues for a reason. If your HOA is slow to make necessary repairs, it may take a lawsuit (or the threat of a lawsuit) to light a fire under them.

An HOA of a condo or housing development generally has the duty to represent the best interests of all tenants or homeowners in the association. But if your HOA fails to do its job, it may be time to consult an experienced real estate lawyer near you.

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