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Attyadvisor
Attyadvisor, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5662
Experience:  28 years of experience in General Practice, Real Estate Law and Estate Law.
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My primary home in GA. I own a single family home. My Home

Customer Question

My primary home in GA. I own a single family home. My Home owner association sent me a notice stating that I need to fix the side yard which doesn't have any grass. Builder put sod, and due to the lack of sunlight the grass died and now there is a little
bit of grass and for the most part there is bare dirt. I am telling them that if I put sod again the grass will die. They suggest installing a bed of rocks like a few other neighbors installed. But i do not want to install that, I just don't like the looks
as well as I need to maintain it (constantly add more to maintain the fresh color). The area they are talking about is a common area between me and my neighbor. He didn't receive any communication until last week. However they have been fining me $25/day for
several weeks before he even got notified. What are my obligations and how do I protect myself ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

The governing laws of the association should set out the obligations of both the owner and the association. This a link that provides all of the laws that govern homeowner associations in Georgia http://www.hoa-usa.com/statelaws/ga.aspx. We would need to check your governing documents to see what is actually required with regard to this area of the property. The association cannot fine you or order you to do something that is not specifically set out in your bylaws and other governing documents. I would be curious to know if rocks are an alternative stated in the bylaws or just an opinion of the board. Further enforcement of rules must not be selective. In other words you should not be asked to do anything your neighbor is not required to do under the same set of circumstances. Do you have a copy of your governing documents? We would to see what is required and the procedures the board must follow to impose a fine.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Let me reach out to the HOA and get a copy of the bylaw.. Please standby.
Thanks
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

I would be curious to see what they say. There also needs to be a dispute resolution process of some kind for you to contest a fine.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Attached is the community bylaws. I assume these documents will not be shared with everyone?
thanks
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

This is a public domain. I have a copy of the documents you attached and will ask the site to remove the link. Thank you.

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

The question shows closed did you want me to continue to assist you?

Fining procedures can be found under 3.21

I do not see any rules or regulations in the document that you attached. The HOA needs to tell you the rule number/section that you violated so we can see what is stated.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When I called support earlier to secure the document, they must have accidentally closed this.
Yes. I am still looking for an answer to my original question. Thanks for moving the document to the private area.Is there a way for me to upload it directly to a private area?
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the clarification. I read through your document and only the Fining Procedures and Hearings are set out under Fining procedures under 3.21. They MUST provide with the rule or regulation that you are allegedly violating so we can look it up and make sure the HOA has the authority to levy a fine. Do you have any other documents such as rules and regulations?

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

The only thing showing up in the documents you attached is the procedure the HOA must follow to fine an owner. Further the HOA is prohibited from selective enforcement of rules and regulations/CC&R's (covenants conditions and restrictions) They cannot fine you if another owner has the same circumstances and they fail to fine the other owner. http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/can-i-sue-my-hoa-for-selective-enforcement--1663047.html

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the information. In my situation, they sent me the first notice sometime last fall. I spoke to the 3rd party property management company explaining him that this is common area between 2 properties that only I can't be sent the violation letter (unfortunately it was a phone conversation). There was no progress and after a few months they sent a few follow up letters (I lost their communication for about 6 months due to an issue with USPS mail forwarding, some of the mails were returned to them). Since there was no response from me, they started fining $25/day from this spring.. In addition they also had 2 other minor violations for which they started charging me $25/day.. Currently my account show about $10000+ in fines for 3 violations (adding mulch in the shrub area + covering a tree stump with mulch + bare dirt on the side). After I started receiving the communication again, I reached out to them letting them know that I didn't receive any of their prior communications and I also went ahead fixed the first 2 violations the same week. Now HOA says: they can waive the daily fines for the first 2 violations except $50 per each violation ($100 in total) and they can waive it only after I fix the bare dirt issue. Even after I fixed the first 2 issues they continue to charge my account for $25/day x 3. They sent a violation letter on the bare dirt issue to my neighbor only this week.
1. Can the HOA continue to hold hostage that they can't decouple the issues and continue to charge me on the first 2 violations even though they have been resolved?
2. I sent an email this morning asking him for the covenant rule under which I am being fined. From looking at the bylaws there is nothing specified about how the lawn needs to be maintained? How much wiggle room do I have to have them back off?
If I want to put fresh sod in that area, I want to do it in spring so the grass grows better.Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
For my communication reaching out to the board explaining about the USPS issue and fixing the 2 violations, the reply I received was this: "The Board reviewed your request and decided to reduce the fine amount to $50 per violation contingent the bare dirt violation is remedied by November 1st.".
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

Without seeing the actual rules and regulations I am not certain if the HOA has a legitimate position with regard to the violations. You are entitled to a copy of all of the governing documents for the HOA. If we could see the actual

rules we could determine whether you have a legitimate violation. I would suggest getting together all of your governing documents and sitting down with a local attorney that provides free consultations If you would like to provide a link for attorneys please let me know. Please do not hesitate to ask me any additional questions that you may have with regard to this matter. If you would be kind enough to rate my service positively so I may receive credit for my work I would appreciate it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have sent an email to the property management company and waiting for the information. How long can we keep this thread open? I am hoping I should hear from them in a day or two..thanks
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

Once you rate my service you can return to this question at any time with additional information at no additional cost. The question times out and the site requests additional service payments that I am not requesting. It I auto generated. I will be checking your question for updates. Thank you.

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

Your question is still showing as closed did you want to continue?

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