Homeowners Associations, or HOAs, are corporations formed by real estate developers for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling of homes and lots in a residential subdivision. HOAs can provide many unique and advantageous benefits to any resident living within its jurisdiction over non HOA subdivisions; these benefits can include security, community areas, general maintenance, and community upkeep. In order to fund these benefits HOA’s generally charge a fee, commonly known as assessments, to its residents.
More and more frequently, HOAs are becoming the go to model that real estate developers are choosing when developing new residential areas. If you live within Houston, San Antonio, or the Rio Grande Valley, it’s likely you either already live within an HOA subdivision or will with your next home purchase.
All HOA’s are governed by their own set of bylaws. These homeowners association bylaws are rules created by the HOAs that all residents within their jurisdiction have agreed to follow. Most HOAs bylaws are similar but each has its own unique rules. If a resident breaks these bylaws, an HOA will usually punish violators with fines.
Additionally, HOAs benefits come with restrictions to the homeowner in the form of restrictive covenants. Restrictive covenants are a part of the bylaws which seek to restrict the homeowner in certain ways from use and enjoyment of their property. Examples of these restrictive covenants can include refraining from painting homes certain colors, planting certain trees, or placing political signs in a homeowners yard.
Restrictive covenants and bylaws are generally created by the developer of the HOA however, it’s important to note that all restrictive covenants and bylaws must conform to the standards set forth in the Texas Property Code.
Disputes arising between neighbors is an all too common occurrence. If you are living within an HOA the procedures for handling these disputes are set by the bylaws. A hearing in front of the HOA board will occur in which the disputing parties will appear to plead their case. The board will then make a binding decision regarding how to handle the dispute.
If the board comes to a decision you feel is improper and is affecting the use and enjoyment of your property, contact the Guerra | Days Law Group. Our experience dealing with HOAs could be what you need to resolve your neighbor dispute or have the HOA board reevaluate a previous binding decision.
If you find yourself behind in assessments or unpaid fines, HOAs will not hesitate to use aggressive measures to seek repayment. When a homeowner fails to pay assessments, a lien is automatically placed by the HOA onto the offenders home. The HOA can then record the lien in the county property records and place a cloud on the title of the property making it difficult to sell. Furthermore, the HOA can seek to foreclose your property with or without judicial intervention.
In the event this situation occurs to you, it’s important to not deal with the HOA alone. All HOA’s have legal teams that handle these matters on a daily basis. These specialists can and will push the boundaries of what they can get away with including forcing improper attorneys fees on homeowners.
In order for an HOA to be able to charge a homeowner with its attorneys fees, there are very particular laws that an HOA must follow. Texas has made significant changes in the law to defend homeowners from wrongfully paying an HOA’s attorneys fees. The Guerra | Days Law Group and its team of highly knowledgeable attorneys has the experience you need to represent you if your HOA has taken legal or improper action against you.