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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.
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