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We live in townhouses that were severely damaged by Harvey.

Hi, we live in townhouses...
Hi, we live in townhouses that were severely damaged by Harvey. We own in fee simple and are responsible for our own units, walls, roofs, etc. The HOA has basically dissolved. Some of our neighbors are not taking steps to secure their property (replace and lock entry doors and garage doors, replace and lock windows), and several have not remediated to stop and prevent mold. Our state does have nuisance laws, but do they apply to townhomes? Thanks.
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state the association is in?
Customer: Yes, sorry. It is in Texas.
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: No.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Only that the HOA has basically disbanded. Board members now live out of state. It looks like it will be up to individual owners to make sure our neighbors are doing what they should, and I thought nuisance laws would be a great place to start, if they apply.
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
10/6/2017
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,091
Experience: 17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
Verified

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help with your situation. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I type out an answer or reply.

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You have a HOA, so do you have Bylaws and CCRs that control the conduct of the owners and set out their responsibilities regarding repairs and maintenance of their properties?

.

.

thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Hi Barrister, we do have a Declaration and Bylaws that look good on paper, but they have never been enforced. The HOA has not done anything to enforce them for years and has even let people fall way behind on assessments. With the hurricane, the board has pretty much disbanded. I was hoping there would be another approach, outside the declaration and bylaws and HOA, to get neighbors to secure and clean up their property. Thanks, Sara

Ok, you can go both routes... but enforcing the Bylaws and CCRs is easier legally because the other owners already agreed to be bound by them when they purchased.

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In a HOA,. there are 3 entities who can enforce Bylaws and CCRs...the developer, the HOA Board, and any individual owner.

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So you as an owner could sue any other owner for violating the rules and hold them liable. Further, if your Bylaws are like every other set I have seen, the loser pays the winner's attorney fees. So you sue to enforce rules that the other owners already agreed to abide by and are violating, you win, and you get to have them pay your attorney fees as well as be ordered to comply with the rules..

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Going with a nuisance lawsuit is tougher because you have to prove that their actions are a nuisance, and you may not get your legal fees back even if you win..

.

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thanks

Barrister

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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Thank you Barrister. Just two clarifying questions. First, would the Declaration and Bylaws give the individual owners that right to enforce, or is that established by Texas law? And with regard to the nuisance laws, could I at least file a report and get authorities involved, even if a civil suit would be difficult to won? For many of these folks, a visit from authorities would be more effective than a threat of a lawsuit, unfortunately. Thanks, Sara

First, would the Declaration and Bylaws give the individual owners that right to enforce, or is that established by Texas law?

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That is a matter of contract law as all those 3 entitles enter into a contractual relationship when a buyer buys into the development and agrees specifically to be bound by the rules. The enforcement section of the Bylaws or CCRs will typically set out these rights.

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And with regard to the nuisance laws, could I at least file a report and get authorities involved, even if a civil suit would be difficult to won?

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Sure, you would want to contact an Code Enforcement or Housing Inspector's office to file a complaint. But realistically, they may be weeks or months from getting around to pursuing something simply due to the amount of devastation and other problems they are dealing with.

.

.

thanks

Barrister

Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,091
Experience: 17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
Verified
Barrister and 87 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 2 months ago
Thank you!
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Barrister
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 39,091
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Experience: 17 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years

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