There are a number of ways that a homeowner or a condo owner could find themselves in need of a lawyer to resolve a dispute with their homeowner’s association or condo association. These are some of the most common problems.
Denial of Plans for Home Modifications
Since the start of the COVID pandemic, HOAs have seen an increase in requests to build an addition onto an existing home. It’s not surprising given the increase in people working or attending school from home. Some HOAs deny plans for home modifications because the home would look different from others in the development or they worry the addition will fail to meet the aesthetic guidelines of the HOA.
Another reason homeowners request home modifications is to accommodate a disability. The homeowner may be asking for a ramp or to move walls to make rooms more accessible. Some HOAs have denied requests for modifications (particularly those outside) as unsightly or as failing to comply with HOA codes.
Denial of architectural plans or denial of accessibility modifications by a HOA can be fought in court.
The decisions of an HOA board can have a significant financial impact on homeowners. It’s important that everyone have a voice through the election of board members and approval of amendments.
The Texas legislature has protected homeowners by granting them certain rights, including:
- The right to vote in elections, even if the homeowner is delinquent on HOA payments or is in violation of covenants. (A homeowner’s right to vote is protected by state law even if the HOA founding document says they cannot vote under these conditions.)
- The write to cast a vote by electronic ballot, or by absentee ballot, by email, or fax, or submitted online on a website.
- The right to receive notice of an election or vote at least 10 days prior to the vote.
- The right to request a recount of election votes by an authorized or agreed-upon party. The request must be made within 15 days of the election and the recount must be performed within 30 days of receipt of the request.
If you have a concern about the integrity of your HOA election, talk to a lawyer with experience handling HOA disputes.
Disputes Over or Failure to Enforce Restrictive Covenants in CC&Rs
A Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions is the document that sets forth the rules that govern all of the homeowners within an HOA. Homeowners’ associations can find themselves in hot water over CC&Rs for:
- Failing to enforce a restrictive covenant
- Allowing so many waivers to the enforcement of a covenant that the covenant has been abandoned
- Unreasonably delaying enforcement of the rules to the detriment of the violating homeowner (for example, failing to tell a homeowner that they can’t make a certain home modification until it is complete and will be costly to undo)
- Attempting to enforce a correction to a violation after the statute of limitations has run out
Homeowners can sue the homeowners’ association for failing to enforce the provisions of the CC&R, including unrecorded restrictions. But talk to an attorney before taking action. HOA boards are allowed to act with some discretion so it’s not always a clear-cut matter.
There are several ways HOAs can end up in hot water over pets, including:
- Switching from a pet ban to permitting pets
- Switching from permitting pets to banning them
- Failing to resolve problems of unruly and destructive pets
- Accommodation of (or failure to accommodate) emotional support animals
Don’t Assume Nothing Can Be Done. Talk to a Lawyer
The Fell Law Firm has experience representing homeowners in Dallas-Richardson-Plano HOA and condo association cases. Mr. Fell can review the facts of your case and advise on the best option to move forward. Call 972-450-1418 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation.