Reader’s choice 2017: HOA LAWSUITS: A REALITY CHECK


It’s that time of the year. For the rest of the year, I’ll be reposting the 10 most read articles here on IAC.

Thanks for following, reading, and sharing. Special thanks to readers who have provided inspiration for blog topics, and for those who have been willing to share their personal HOA stories.

Public awareness is the first step on the road to justice for housing consumers.

Best wishes for a peaceful holiday season and happier, healthier neighborhoods in 2018.


Thinking of suing your HOA? Has your HOA filed a lawsuit against you?

Read this page for important information, and personal accounts from homeowners and residents who have lived through the ordeal.

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

I’m not an attorney. However, over the past 5 years, I have been reading legal complaints, case summaries, and generally following the progress of legal disputes in Association-Governed Housing. I read and analyze pages and pages of dry, verbose information, including legal opinions, to gain a better understanding of exactly how current laws work for or against housing consumers.

In other words, I look for patterns of dysfunction and injustice through the lens of consumer protection.

Here’s what consumers need to know:

Homeowners, condominium, cooperative, and property owners associations are collective legal entities – usually incorporated. Governing documents of HOAs – which include Declarations of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), By Laws, and Articles of Incorporation – are legally binding on both individual members and their Association, with U.S. courts generally viewing the relationship as contractual between and among the parties.

But that contract is usually written by and for developers, making it one-sided in favor of the HOA. In addition, governing documents are not subject to state or federal review, and state laws impose very few restrictions on the terms of HOA contracts. A buyer or heir to HOA property must agree to all terms without any opportunity for negotiation before taking title to that property. Take it or leave it.

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