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Attorney 1
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Category: Real Estate Law
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We entered into a lease and at the contract signing the

Customer Question

We entered into a lease and at the contract signing the Homeowner and agent did NOT disclose that we were living within and HOA. Upon finding this news out we began to have issues with the HOA Board due to physical improvements we made to the property (with the Homeowners approval). We worked to resolve the problems amicably by providing the proper city permits and architectural drawings, at that time the HOA Board President APPROVED the upgrades and accepted all city documentation. THREE YEARS have passed and the HOA has stated that they told our Homeowner that the CC & R's had been revised and our upgrades were no longer compliant and that we had to put ALL work back to the original state or be penalized. We offered to return ALL upgraded work upon our exiting the lease and the property - 1 to 2 years - the HOA refused our offer stating that the Homeowner had committed "us" to returning the property to the original state. Our homeowner has never givin us notice that there was a compliance issue and until today we were under the impression that we were in compliance and within all of the expected CC & R's. We need to know what our rights are within this given circumstance - we have decided to move however, we are not willing to put ourselves into another precarious situation with our new residense by rushing to leave this one. We have asked for 6 months to make arrangements to leave the residence as well as to return the property to the original state and the HOA President (the same one that authorized the upgrades 3 years ago) has said NO - this Homeowner has shown his character to be less than stellar and he is holding $9850 in Deposit money from our moving in and we want to ensure that we are reimbursed 100% of our funds without incident - especially if we are going to incur further costs to put the brick wall back. PLEASE HELP!!!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Attorney 1 replied 1 year ago.

Hello, and welcome. I am a licensed attorney and happy to assist.

I'm sorry to hear about what has rightly been termed a fiasco, but happy to say that you do have recourse. Under the circumstances, I expect you will be able to move from the property when your lease expires, regain the amount paid for the security deposit, and have no liability in this, whatsoever. That includes financial responsibility in restoring the property to its original condition. Here's why:

First, while the Association controls what may or may not be done to the property, that is between the owner and the Board, only. The only potential involvement you would have could only stem from a situation in which you were actually provided with a copy of the governing documents before moving in, and ignored those documents to make changes not approved by the owner or Board. In that case, the owner would have recourse against you, but the Board would not. It's recourse would be and is against the homeowner, only. Add to that that the homeowner approved all of the changes and you have no legal security deposit issues, whatsoever. That is the case no matter how much the Board ultimately fines the owner for the changes that were made. Again, the owner made a decision as the owner of the property and all consequences that flow from that decision are between the Association and the owner, without regard to you.

You are not bound by an agreement to which you are not a party and of which youu were not aware, even if the CCRs originally prohibited the changes made, which it seems they did not. Again, all negative consequences in these circumstances fall 100% on the homeowner. If the owner refuses to give you back the entirety of the security deposit to which you are due upon moving, you can bring an action in court for wrongful retention of security deposit. The owner can be ordered not only to return the amount owed, but triple the amount of the unlawfully retained deposit as punitive damages.

Expert:  Attorney 1 replied 1 year ago.

Is there anything else I can do for you tonight? I'm here to help.

Expert:  Attorney 1 replied 1 year ago.

I hope this helps. If you need additional information or clarification, please let me know and I will continue providing assistance. If I have addressed your concerns or pointed you in a positive direction, please remember to leave a positive rating when prompted, as that is how attorneys on this site are credited for the help we provide.

Good luck!

Best,

Attorney 1

Expert:  Attorney 1 replied 1 year ago.

Just checking in to find out how your situation is progressing. Please let me know if there's anything else I can do for you. I'm here to help.

Best,

Attorney 1

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