HOA Experts working for consumers

As a service to readers, Independent American Communities provides the following list for information and educational purposes only. Some of the experts listed below are attorneys. Consumers are advised to use good judgment and discretion when selecting legal representation. 

Legislative information provided by individual experts may be specific to certain states, and is subject to change as new laws are enacted or existing laws are amended. 

Have a suggested addition to the list? Use the E-mail Contact form at this site.

Experts are listed alphabetically by last name.

Shu Bartholomew, host of On the Commons, OTC Multimedia Productions, broadcast on WEBR Fairfax Radio. Weekly radio program, guest interviews, discussions of issues involving all forms of association-governed, common interest housing in the U.S.

Current and recent podcasts:

http://onthecommons.net/

Full archive available here:

http://onthecommons.us/

John Colby Cowherd, Attorney (VA and DC), represents homeowners and business owners in matters related to real estate and community association disputes

Selected HOA-related articles:

Stop Explaining Community Associations Law the Wrong Way

Condo Owner Prevails on Her Request for Attorney Fees

Overcoming Delay Tactics in Arbitration

The Surface Water Diversion Blame Game

Bill Davis, Attorney (TX), representing homeowners in matters of Real Estate law, Consumer Protection

Podcasts featuring Bill Davis can be found at On The Commons

Jonathan Dessaules, Attorney (AZ), representing home and business owners in Real Estate disputes

Legal blog about various HOA and real estate topics

On the Commons podcast

David Kahne, Attorney (TX), advocate for HOA reform legislation.

On the Commons podcast

Shelly Marshall, advocate and author. Both books include specific tips and suggestions for homeowners to oust an over-controlling HOA board, and bring peace and democracy back to the community.

HOA Warrior: Battle Tactics for Fighting your HOA, all the way to court if necessary Kindle Edition  

HOA WARRIOR II: Responding to Pets, Paint, & Parking in Your HOA: (templates, forms, letters, and philosophy to use when dealing with your board or when you become the board) Kindle Edition  

Marjorie Murray, Center for California HOA Law

The CCHAL website is a SELF-HELP website.  It is best used with the research you do at the County Law Library.  EVERY California county has a FREE law library and reference librarians to help you research association law..  Here’s the link showing the location(s) of county public law libraries: http://www.library.ca.gov/Content/pdf/services/additionalResources/CaliforniaCountyLawLibraries.pdf

The California courts website [ http://www.courts.ca.gov/] also has free resources including all the forms that homeowners need for preparing a lawsuit in small claims court. See http://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm?filter=SC   There is no special form for a claim involving an association.

The CCHAL website itself has training videos on preparing a small claims suit and – MOST important – examples of successful suits filed by homeowners

  • to get access to records
  • to challenge elections
  • to recover monies paid under protest
  • to force compliance with laws governing property upkeep
  • to protest defamation and slander by board members.

To be successful in small claims, a homeowner has to be her/his own lawyer, and  that means (1) understanding the laws governing the issue (2) preparing the documents correctly for the court (3) understanding court procedures and rules (4) understanding the steps for enforcing/collecting a successful judgment.

Also on the CCHAL website:

“Special documents” including:  a folder comprising a complaint filed with the Attorney General’s office showing (1)  how to prepare a complaint; (2) the association’s response to the AG’s office; (3) the homeowner’s counter-arguments to the association; (4) Attorney General opinion letters.  The site map of Contributing Member files and documents is here:  http://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=1179.  The AG’s office has jurisdiction over SPECIFIC topics listed here: https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/general/homeowner_assn

Superior court and California Appellate court cases on assessment collection, elections, association records, defamation and other topics.  Use the SEARCH box and those KEYWORDS to find them.

TIPS for using the Center’s SELF-HELP website:

• REGISTER only ONCE on the website; if you have duplicate records in the database, you won’t be able to log on.  Can’t remember if you’re registered? Use http://www.calhomelaw.org/memberedit.asp  to find out.

• ENLARGE the website text by using the (+) sign found at the bottom of the GREEN menu (left-hand side); keep clicking on (+) until the text is LARGE enough for you to read comfortably.

• TRANSLATE the text (into Spanish, Vietnamese, Filipino, etc) using  the Google TRANSLATE bar, top right, every page of the website.  (We have hundreds of members whose first language isn’t English.)

• Use the SEARCH box to search topics using the KEYWORD LIST at the bottom of the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS page at this link:  http://www.calhomelaw.org/doc.asp?id=1153

• SEARCH topics using your own keywords, e.g. foreclosure, elections, defamation, special assessments.

• To find out what’s going on in other associations in your county use the SEARCH box to find articles by California county, e.g. ORANGE, SOLANO, MONTEREY, MODOC, SAN BENITO.

• CHANGE your email address, password, contact information,  and email preferences at the new MANAGE YOUR MEMBERSHIP link: http://www.calhomelaw.org/memberedit.asp

• UPGRADE or RENEW your membership or MAKE A DONATION at this link: http://www.calhomelaw.org/memberedit.asp

Still have questions about how to use the CCHAL website? Email us at info@calhomelaw.org

George Staropoli, Arizona advocate and founder of Citizens for Constitutional Local Government. Author of e-book series, HOA Common Sense: Rejecting private government.

CAI 2016 Factbook: looking into the ‘facts’ (perphaps CAI’s statistical facts are a bit too consistent?)

Ryan Torrens, Attorney (FL), foreclosure defense. Also advocates for consumer protection legislation.

On the Commons podcast

HOA reformers grow in number, and here are a few

(Kansas City Star)

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