How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 30382
Experience:  JA Mentor
Type Your Real Estate Law Question Here...
Lucy, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have an issue with a townhouse property association never

Customer Question

hello i have an issue with a townhouse property association
never ending harassment, monetary threats,general rude behavior, negative public display, over charging association fees and under performing service and poorly handling and crediting collected payments so as to negatively impact me at their benefit. i am just having a terrible time with them. is there anything that can be done to stop them or to made their pranks less of a finacial burden to me?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this is happening.

What do you mean by "negative public display"? Are other people in the community suffering the same issues, or is it just you? (That doesn't change your rights, but could give you more options.) And what state are you located in?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
negative public display...graffi on the parking spaces in front of my townhouse. others do have the graffi on their spaces as what i believe to be a tactic to apply public shame... i don't know what other issues others maybe expriencing. virginia
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

if you can catch them doing the graffiti or have evidence that it's the association, call the police. That's vandalism. There unfortunately aren't any laws that prohibit rudeness unless someone is actually threatening you or your family with violence. Harassment is actually a term with a very specific legal meaning which, unfortunately, is not the meaning most laypeople ascribe to it. Harassment is basically a form of stalking - it involves engaging in a course of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose and is done solely to scare or intimidate someone. If that's happening, again, call the police. It's a misdemeanor.

You can sue for a refund of any amounts they make you overpay if they won't apply them to later payments. The same is true if they're crediting your payments in a way that's resulting in late fees or other financial penalties when you paid online. BUT, you do have some other options, and it'll take me a couple of minutes to type them all out.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You may actually be able to have the members of the board removed - that's why I was asking about your neighbors. If you have their support, or can get it, it's much easier to have members of the board removed. Check the by-laws for the community. They should state under what circumstances board members can be removed. It's sometimes as easy as a majority vote, but sometimes you need a 2/3 vote or something more. It might help to talk to a few people near you to see if they're having similar issues. (There's even an app called Nextdoor if you want to reach out to multiple people in your area at once, although how well it works will depend on how many people use it.)

It's also possible to sue the member of the board for breach of their fiduciary obligation to the community. They have a duty to always act in the best interests of everyone who lives there. That doesn't always mean benefiting just one person, but graffiti drags down everyone's property values, no matter where it is. Not providing the services they're obligated to provide affects everyone. Poor handling of payments to cost homeowners money affects everyone. So it may be possible to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the entire community, to compel the HOA to comply with their obligations under the bylaws. The more neighbors who will join you in a lawsuit, the better, because it helps the judge see how their actions are affecting everyone.

The remaining option is to wait for the next election and encourage your neighbors to vote for other people, run for the board, or even run for a position yourself. All of those things may help if you can get the problem board members off the board.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
sounds like this situation is hopeless for me...i would like to have some kind of favorable action via legal system. .. i don't want to spend any of my time organizing others to action.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i don't know which of the board memembers is a group they are very rude.
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You can sue them all as a group if they're not upholding the bylaws. A judge can order them to take action or even remove them all.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

The thing is, EVERYONE on the board has an obligation to make sure that the bylaws are being followed. So they're really all responsible if things aren't getting done.