An HOA lawyer for homeowners is an attorney who represents the entire association as a single entity, rather than a particular member or an individual. The professional acts as a legal counsel for the homeowner association.
The following blog highlights the significance of an HOA lawyer for homeowners and other related details.
What Do You Mean by a Homeowner Association (HOA)?
A homeowner association is an entity that enforces rules for living in a particular community that chooses to remain governed. HOAs are common in planned developments. Most individuals join the associations after agreeing to the terms and fees by becoming a part of the community.
The homeowner association acts as a self-governing organization in communities with common interests where the residents collectively pay the fees to maintain the neighborhood.
Unpaid volunteers or resident homeowners run the HOAs and get elected among the board of directors that oversee the community management.
The HOAs exist for the benefit of the residents of a planned community, condominium, or townhome.
What Do You Mean by an HOA Lawyer for Homeowners?
The HOA lawyer for homeowners is the legal counsel for the association who legally advises the board members on the governing laws of the United States that may impact the organization. The attorney also assists the members in amending the required documents for the HOA and reviewing them to ensure they comply with local, state, or federal laws.
An HOA lawyer also has the right to evaluate the decisions the board members make to ensure it is in the best interest of the particular community.
In a few cases, the lawyer acts as a third party to ensure that the proposed terms and conditions related to an increase in fees, or board member compensation are fair and in the best interest of all the people associated with the community or organization.
The HOA lawyer is well-versed in US laws and remains up-to-date about the changes made in the rules and regulations. It allows the professional attorney to inform the HOA members about the new laws that may apply to the association’s regulations.
What Are the Responsibilities of an HOA Lawyer for Homeowners?
An HOA lawyer is an important professional who plays a significant role in the management of a homeowner association.
Here is a breakdown of the responsibilities of an HOA lawyer for homeowners in the United States.
The Lawyer Helps Draft All Founding and Governing Documents
When an HOA is formed, the members need to draft multiple legal documents to comply with state laws. They also need separate documents to set the guidelines for all the ongoing operations and management of the community.
Some of the most important HOA documents include the articles of incorporation, covenants, bylaws, conditions, restrictions, and other formal rules and regulations.
Many of these documents may be lengthy and complicated. The HOA lawyer helps draft and review such documents keeping in mind that the terms and conditions are legally bound and adhere to the government’s regulations.
The Attorney Represents Homeowners’ Interests
The HOA lawyer helps homeowners represent their interests and provide significant pieces of evidence in the case of a dispute or a legal complication. The professional ensures that the respective parties remain liable for any defects, discrepancies, or other untoward incidents in the community and recognize their responsibilities and actions.
An attorney can also assist the homeowners in taking strict legal actions against the other parties if they do not comply with the community rules and regulations.
The HOA Lawyers Assist in Ongoing Management Issues
An HOA’s documents must be written in simple language, so every member related to the association can understand them. Moreover, situations may arise when the HOA board members need an expert opinion, particularly in cases related to legal disputes, criminal allegations, or unlawful behavior.
The HOA lawyer acts as a neutral third party in such matters and helps solve management issues instantly. The professional can also help decipher the particular language used in the HOA documents and explain the association’s obligations under federal or state laws.
The Attorneys May Collect Assessments and Fees
HOAs may also hire an attorney to collect the outstanding assessments and fees from homeowners who may not be responding to the association’s enforcement efforts. If the HOA attorney enforces collections, it increases the likelihood of all members paying their dues. It is because the lawyer knows all procedures to get court judgments and liens in the case of non-payment.
Key Terms Related to an HOA Lawyer for Homeowners
Homeowner associations may be easy to form but the laws related to them are complicated. That is why it is necessary for individuals to understand a few key terms related to the HOAs as mentioned below.
- Administrative Fee: It is a payment made to the HOA management company for different administrative costs.
- Appreciation: It is an increase in the resale value of a particular property.
- Articles of Incorporation: It identifies a particular association as a nonprofit corporation.
- Association Manager: An individual who advises the association governing body in matters concerning managerial, administrative, and other operational processes.
- Common Area: It is an area of development that covers everything situated within a particular community outside of the individual homeowner units.
- General Liability Insurance: It is insurance that protects the homeowner association from property damage or personal injury.
- Governing Document: It is a document that helps regulate a particular community.
- Quorum: It refers to the minimum number of owners required to hold meetings with legally binding decisions related to homeowner associations.
- Board: It comprises a group of members who act on a particular community’s behalf.
- Board Member: A group of volunteers who serve the HOA board.
Individuals may find it easy to form a homeowner association. However, the laws, rules, and regulations related to the entity are complicated. Moreover, a lot of legal documentation is involved in the formation and management of the association.
That is why it is recommended to approach an HOA lawyer for homeowners to look after the legal processes.
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