Homeowners association (HOA) neighborhoods exist all throughout Louisiana, and often their operations are straightforward and uncomplicated. Still, there are legal implications to every decision made by an HOA, and sometimes actions taken by the HOA can have legal implications for members of the board and local homeowners alike.
When do HOA issues require legal support?
When drafting governing documents
For the HOA board, the declaration, bylaws and other governing documents for the association will be crucial to the growth of the community and how effective the HOA is at promoting positive development.
Partnering with an attorney who understands both federal and Louisiana state laws related to HOAs and housing rights will help HOAs remain in compliance with the law and draft effective governing documents.
When interpreting and enforcing bylaws
Both individual homeowners and the HOA itself may need to bring in legal support when evaluating the bylaws or during enforcement efforts. Little mistakes by the HOA could affect its ability to enforce certain rules, which is why both an HOA attempting to review and enforce rules and homeowners responding to enforcement efforts may require legal support.
When collecting dues or fines or pursuing liens
When homeowners fall behind on making payments of their monthly HOA fees, the HOA may levy additional fees. They may also engage in collection activity to push the homeowner into compliance.
In extreme circumstances, it may be necessary to pursue a lien against someone’s property when they refuse to pay their community association fees or fines levied against them for violations of the community bylaws.
When navigating a dispute
The HOA and a homeowner facing enforcement efforts may intensely disagree about what is fair or what is permissible under the bylaws. Both sides of the dispute may need help navigating the disagreement. Bringing in professional help could lead to a more amicable and faster resolution.
Responding to premises liability claims and other lawsuits
If a visitor of a local resident were to slip and fall while in a community area, they might make a large insurance claim or file a lawsuit against the HOA. Homeowners might file claims alleging discrimination or improper management of the community. HOAs often require legal representation when defending against such claims, just as plaintiffs will usually need legal support when filing such claims.
Knowing when to bring in professional help can help HOAs and homeowners handle and complicated legal issues related to HOAs.