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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33708
Experience:  15 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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I live in a owner-occupied townhome community. Some

Customer Question

I live in a owner-occupied townhome community. Some homeowners started renting, claiming they had to due to the recession. So they took over the HOA board, so they could rent their units with out any limitiations, however they bylaws still states they can't and the previous board through an HOA attorney established some criteria to help those in violation get their units sold while renting. None of the bylaws have been enforced. In addition, the board members do not live in the community, the closest is an hour away. So they haven't been enforcing other bylaws, like having broken cars in the driveway. Last but not least, they don't respond to homeowners letters. The past board sent out yearly financial statements to let us know where and how the money was spent. This board won't respond to any request. Do I have a case to sue them?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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Yes, you definitely have a case against them for breach of contract for failing to perform their duties under the contract between the HOA and the members. So you can sue the Board in their official capacity and seek an injunction to force them to comply with and enforce the rules for the development.
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If they haven't properly passed any new rules or amended their Bylaws to allow the rentals, then it is still a violation.
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If your Bylaws are like virtually all the other ones I have seen, then there will be a clause that states "the prevailing party" is entitled to their legal costs and reasonable attorney fees. So since they are clearly in violation, if you filed suit and won, you would be able to force them to pay the costs of the suit and any attorney fees.
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was wondering what my next steps might be and how suing the HOA may affect the few homeowners that remain? If I sue, they can still let people rent?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Basically the first thing to do would be to read over your Bylaws to make sure that it has the language about the prevailing party being able to recover their costs of any legal action. Then if it does state this, you can contact a local real estate or civil litigation attorney to discuss how to proceed. But without getting an actual judge issued injunction against the Board ordering them to perform their duties in enforcing the Bylaws.

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Another option you could also consider is actually suing all the owners who are renting their units. Any owner can sue any other owner if they are violating the Bylaws because the members and the Board both have the power to enforce them.

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And yet another option, which might serve to end the problem long term, would be to get enough owner occupants together to vote them out and take control of the Board. Then you could enforce the Bylaws as written and presumably issue fines to the renting owners for their noncompliance.

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thanks

Barrister

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