Is a $2,000 legal dispute worth 11 years of litigation and $220,000 in legal fees? Is standing to principle more important than letting a Homeowners Association (HOA) get its way?
Apparently for a Florida couple, 11 years in litigation and $220,000 in legal fees were worth winning the legal battle against the HOA. More than a decade ago Ed and Billye Simmons got into a dispute with the Pebble Creek Homeowners Association over a $2,212 bill for lawn re-sodding. Eleven years later a state-court judge in Hillsborough County held that the HOA “didn't follow its own governing documents when charging the couple for the lawn work.” Although the couple was awarded $85,000 in damages, this amount does not even cover half of the amount they had to spend on attorney’s fees.
How to Fight a Dispute with Your Homeowner Association?
- If you get cited for breaking an HOA rule, you should immediately refer to your HOA bylaws to make sure that the citation is valid.
- If the citation is valid, the bylaws will indicate the process you must follow to dispute your citation.
- Make sure to keep a record of everything.
- If the HOA treats each homeowner differently when enforcing its rules, you can argue that the rule itself is unfair.
- If the HOA rules are not consistent with your state laws, the homeowners may have grounds to sue the HOA.
- You can speed up the process by hiring a property law attorney to guide you through the process.
You can learn more about fighting your homeowner’s association by watching an informational video at our home page. Simply type the word “homeowners association” in the search area provided on the upper right-hand corner of the page. You can find experienced attorneys by searching under practice area within your state.
Have any of you had a similar experience with a homeowners association?
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