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HOA Rights, Laws and Guidelines

A homeowner association is a corporation formed by a real estate developer for the purpose of marketing, managing, and selling of homes and lots in a residential subdivision.

Suppose an HOA has put a $5,000 lien on a condo. I am going to buy the house at a Sheriff's sale. Does the HOA lien survive the Sheriff's sale? I know the lien will not survive foreclosure. Do all liens survive if I buy the condo at a Sheriff's sale?

Whether or not the lien would survive depends on what the sheriff is selling. Example: a writ of execution sale against a property would not extinguish a previously recorded HOA lien, unless the abstract of judgment supporting the writ is filed before the HOA lien; the difference with a property tax sale, which has priority over every other lien, including an IRS federal income tax lien, and thus wipes out everything at sale.

A tree was planted in our back yard that wasn't on our original plans, at the time wasn't on approved/prohibited list. It is now on the prohibited list. Do you recommend fighting this, if so how?

It depends upon how much the person would want to keep the tree. Since the tree was not on the prohibited list even though not specifically approved and nothing done at the time when planted...then later when prohibited, it would have been required to have been grandfathered. If a person wants to keep the tree, it is a option to take legal pursuit against the HOA on this by sending the board members a letter detailing the above and demanding they drop this effort. Inform them that otherwise, a suit will be filed against the HOA and each member individually.

The HOA Board's lawyer said "The board will have clear guidelines and will promulgate an official proxy form to be posted on the website. I emailed the Secretary and requested a ballot. The board has not done what its own lawyer stated it would do. My question: Is the board within its rights to do what it has done?

The Board may not be following its own bylaws. This issue may not be strong enough to deal with in a court of law. The person is expected to work this out within the HOA.

Now, if the HOA does not allow to use the drafted proxy in a vote (even though they have never provided one per their own directions), and essentially deny the right to vote, then perhaps this may be enough; but at the moment, no injury has been sustained by anyone, ergo, no litigation is possible.

Can I file an "open ended" lien? A property has no current liens. They now owe $800. Is there some type of lien that I can file for the $800 plus any new amounts that may be owed in the future? Or do I have to file a new lien if the amount owed increases?

Liens cannot be open-ended typically, but must state the amount owed by the debtor/homeowner. One would not normally release a lien until the obligation is satisfied since the date of filing the lien establishes priority over other creditors who may later file liens. So the original lien that was filed should normally remain on the property and an additional lien would be filed for the additional amount now owed to the HOA. While it is possible for a creditor to release a lien at any time, if there have been any subsequent liens filed against the property, the HOA would lose its place in lien, so it is normally a better practice to file a new lien for additional amounts owed since the original lien was filed.

My HOA wants me to take down a new Shed on my property. There is another property that has an identical shed in their yard and multiple setups which are visible from the street. Can I fight this bylaw.

The HOA board can make and enforce such a rule. They are organized by charter (the HOA bylaws) and have the power to make and enforce rules within the HOA. So long as the rules are not illegal they can enforce the rules. HOA's rules can range from what color to paint the fence to if the person can have pets to how many cars can park in the driveway.

So it is certainly possible to have an HOA rule that prohibits sheds or other outbuildings in certain locations within the HOA. Now, if they (the HOA) are not enforcing the rule fairly, that can be grounds to have the rule declared void. It is to be mentioned that at least one other member has a shed. If there is evidence that the HOA is forcing the rules, that can be grounds to go into court and ask a court to void the rule.

Having the right information about the HOA laws can help individuals deal with difficult situations and make the right decisions. Ask Experts about HOA laws and other related topics.

Ask a Real Estate Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
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Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
4460311
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Recent HOA Questions

  • I own a home in Michigan that is governed by an HOA. I have

    I own a home in Michigan that is governed by an HOA. I have made 11 straight years of HOA dues ontime. I am in the miltary and was placed on orders to move to Phoenix last year. This year, the HOA dues where due in February 2014. While tryinging to close a re-finance on this home last week, the title company noified me that a lien is placed on the property for this years HOA dues in the amount of $500.00. I was unable to pay the dues because all the HOA board members contact information has changed, there is no web sight, no yellow pages, no way to coordinate with anyone on where to send the payment. Today, the HOA directed me to their attorney to make the paymnent and have the lien removed. The attorney told me the payoff is $950.00. I asked why so much and he stated the other 450 was for his attorney's fees. Then he told me that the actual bill has now gone up to over 1,000 due ot the phone call that I was having with him real time. I asked for an accounting letter for records and then he stated the payoff is now an additional $150.00. This seems like extortion to me. The HOA attorney stated he sent me notification letters, however I have never seen them, he stated that he sent them to my previous address in Michigan. I told him, I placed a change of address with the post office and I know the HOA had the correct address to send notices by evidence of a news letter that arrived at my home for the HOA last year. He stated that is not his problem. In summary, I do not dispute I owe the HOA $500 in dues. I do however dispute the process and what I consider exhorbinat charges to have the lien removed. Any advice on poteial actions I may employ to deal with this issue are greratly appreciated. thanks
    jc
  • If HOA rules state that trailer must be at rear of home - does

    If HOA rules state that trailer must be at rear of home - does this mean behind the home
  • I own one of two units in a condomimium (recently converted,

    I own one of two units in a condomimium (recently converted, was previously a legal two-family house). The owner of the other unit is about to put his unit on the market and wants to amend the by-laws to specify monthly HOA fees, as nothing formal exists. The by-laws do state that changes can be made and the other owner doesn't want to have an attorney write this change but instead is asking me to write it (he's too lazy to do it himself and I'd like to expedite the process). I need some advice on the language, I've looked on line and can't find anything helpful.
    In addition, I have paid out-of pocket expenses (which will count towards the HOA fund but I should be reimbursed for half) since the other owner vacated his unit, including one year of blanket insurance, snow removal, etc., and since he has to date not contributed to the HOA account, I'd like to know what interest rate the condo association can charge him for these late fees (it's been about nine month)?
    Thank you.
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