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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 111679
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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My name is***** have an HOA question. I understand

Customer Question

Hello, my name is***** have an HOA question. I understand the whole concept of the HOA, but what can I do to either get out of it or fight a problem that I am having with the board? I own the property and the house that sits on it. I have followed the guide lines that they have in their paperwork. Let me back up a minute. When I purchased the house I did receive the guidelines of the neghborhood. Which to me is outdated some pages were missing. When I moved in no one greeted me or anything. 2 months into living there I get a straight to the point negative type letter from the board about not paying my garbage bill. I was told in my closing that this was already taken care of for the year. I paid the bill.
Now I just received another letter from the board of somethings that they don't like in my driveway and along my garage. I burn wood for main source of heat in the winter. So I have a wood pile neatly stacked along my tree line by the garage. They say that I have to remove my trailer that I use for hauling things like snowmobiles and what not. It's total weight is 3260#. In their letter t me it states that no trailer or vehicle over 7000# ***** can be on the property.
What I am learning of the board members are that they themselves don't follow all the guidelines but yet they will send letters and expect everyone else to abide by the rules.
My property is very well maintained but yet these egotistic board members like to make it tough for everyone else. They even have all their friends show up for when it comes time to vote in new members. So that way no one else can even get in.
So what I want to know is what can I do legally to fight this? They threaten that they have the right to come on my property and remove my "refuse" pile, is what they called it. Which in the dictionary means a coal pile or some rubish, and remove it at MY expense.
Please give me some insight on my legal rights.
Thanks you!!
Frustrated home OWNER
CHRIS
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
If the HOA is a mandatory HOA, the only way out of it is to sell your home I am afraid. When people buy a home in an HOA, they agree to be bound by the bylaws and rules of the HOA, it is a binding contract under law. MN law allows HOA to set their own rules in their bylaws and this makes an HOA unattractive to a homeowner who wants uncontrolled freedom in what they do with the property they own. If a homeowner does not mind strict regulation and being told what to do with property they own in exchange from all others in the neighborhood doing the same to try to keep their property values high, then that is the benefit.
If your trailer or vehicle does not violate the bylaw, they cannot enforce it and you have a right to appeal to the board and cite the bylaw as well as provide proof that your trailer does not violate that bylaw.
The only way a homeowner can beat the HOA is with the bylaws and covenants because the HOA can only enforce what is in those bylaws and covenants. You as a homeowner can appeal any action that is not prohibited by the bylaws and if the HOA persists, then you can sue for a declaratory judgment in court to get a court order that you are not in violation and for them to cease and desist harassing you on that issue.
If the wood pile is neatly stacked and covered, it is not refuse and would not be within the bylaw prohibitions and if they try to remove it again you would have grounds to sue them for damages for acting contrary to the bylaws and seek damages against them.
The rights of you as a homeowner in the HOA are in your bylaws, so you need to use those bylaws word for word against them and make them adhere to them.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I have heard that If we want out of this HOA that if we as the community get enough households to want out that we can abolish this whole HOA. Is that true? And, can they (board members) legally come into my property whenever they feel like it? Is that not trespassing?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Abolishing an HOA is a very hard thing to do because it requires at least 2/3 of the members to vote to dissolve unless the bylaws specify a different percentage of vote required.
It is trespassing for them to come onto your property, AGAIN, unless the bylaws grant them that right.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
So then the next question, if they have these "board meetings" with president, Vice President, treasurer, and secretary aren't they required to send out the meetings after the meetings to let everyone no of what was discussed? And the monies that the neighborhood pays each year are we not supposed to get some sort of a spreadsheet of the funds?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes, they are supposed to send notice of meetings at least 10 days in advance of the meetings unless the bylaws say a different time.
They are supposed to make an annual accounting available for view to all the members.
These are different issues other than your original issue and they go to operations of the HOA. If you as a member want to examine their books and account records, you can make a written demand to do so and they have to make them available to you to review.
If they are not providing proper meeting notice to the members, then that is a claim you need to file with the Attorney General's office for violating the meetings laws.

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