Private property rights can be violated if you move into a community with a homeowners' association. The color of your home, your landscaping and even vehicle parking can all be affected by HOA rules. HOAs can harass, fine and sue you. Although the rules are supposed to increase property values and a sense of community, they often create division and violate individual rights.
Before you purchase a home in a HOA community, read through all of the association rules and procedures. Review the association's management practices, who the board members are, and how often meetings are held. Question the homeowners to determine if they are satisfied with the HOA and how it enforces the rules. Ask homeowners if they attend meetings and ask the board how many residents actually attend the meetings. Identify whether the board promotes resident attendance and suggestions. Stay informed about changes in your association rules, and learn the state and federal laws that may affect your property rights.
HOA rules are not set in stone. You have the right to petition to amend the rights. Review the Declaration for the HOA. You can limit HOA power or remove the HOA entirely. Review state laws, because some of them limit HOA power, and your HOA may be in violation. Changing rules that do not violate the law can be difficult, because you need between 50 and 100 percent of the residents' approval to implement the change.
Board Member Removal
Attend board meetings. You have the right to ask for a board member to be removed if he is not acting in the residents' best interest or not managing the association properly. Create a petition for a special meeting to remove the member. You must have between 10 and 25 percent of the residents' signatures, according to the Bainbridge Law Firm. A hearing will be held within 30 days, and a simple majority vote can remove the board member. If the board fights the removal, you will have to seek the advice of an attorney.
You can sue your HOA for breach of fiduciary duties. They must manage HOA dues and income appropriately and fairly for all of the homeowners in the community. If the HOA violates its own covenants and restrictions, the homeowner can sue to force the HOA to abide by the rules. Finally, if the HOA is negligent with the care and maintenance of the common property, the HOA can be sued. If a resident is hurt or a home is damaged because of negligence, the HOA could be liable for the injuries.
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