Skilled HOA Lawyers in Florida
Serving You and The State of Florida
Homeowners associations in Florida are some of the most complex and difficult to manage in the country. Due to the complexity of the bylaws and requirements for neighborhoods in most of Florida, it can be very difficult to manage the processes that an HOA must engage in each month. It is also not uncommon for HOAs in Florida to be empowered to bring legal action against homeowners in the neighborhood who are not in compliance with neighborhood rules and regulations.
Due to the complex nature of this kind of board membership or appointment, legal support can be key to the process of managing an HOA. Without legal advice, there might be issues with residents of the neighborhood or problems within the board itself that cannot be resolved without representation. Working with the team at Lopez Law Group can make all the difference when it comes to managing HOA-related duties and taking care of disputes with homeowners in the community.
Common Legal Issues That Can Arise Related to HOA Actions
There are some common disputes that can arise with homeowners in a community, as well as some standard issues that can crop up within the HOA board or membership itself. All of these issues can necessitate the support of a legal professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations that are related to HOA operation and function in the state of Florida. HOA requirements can involve a lot of fine print, and both the HOA itself and the homeowners might need to secure legal support if there are issues related to the interpretation of the expectations laid out in the HOA contract.
1. Breaches of Contract
The homeowners who live in an HOA-managed neighborhood sign a contract when they move into their home that state that they will abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the HOA. This might be things like caring for the yard, putting away garbage cans out of sight, and keeping cars parked near the home operational and registered to be driven.
The HOA can make the requirements that are expected of people living in the community as stringent or as lenient as they wish. The contract that was signed by a homeowner when they moved in is considered to be legally binding. This means that homeowners can be compelled to follow the guidelines of the HOA’s rules through legal action, fines, and even foreclosure.
When the board or the HOA membership has to take action against someone who is not compliant with HOA rules, they will often look to a lawyer to be sure that the actions that are being taken against the homeowners are legally correct. This is essential when it comes to things like liens and foreclosures. A skilled HOA attorney like the team at Lopez Law Group can help you to take these actions and ensure that you are not out of compliance with the HOA guidelines or the law when you do so.
2. HOA Board Member Noncompliance
When a member of the HOA board is acting outside of the actions that are allowed within the scope of their duties, the board or the residents might take legal action against this person. There can be legal consequences for these kinds of breaches of contract and service. An experienced HOA lawyer will be able to represent either party needing to take action against the board member who is in violation of their duties.
No matter which group is taking action against the board member, there are legal steps that must be followed to take this kind of action and remove the board member from the HOA. These steps must be done correctly, or the HOA can open itself up to legal problems related to incorrect handling of the removal of a board member or an HOA officer. Avoiding legal wrangling is always the goal of every action that the HOA takes. Working with a supportive and experienced lawyer can make it much less likely that the HOA will be embroiled in legal proceedings for years at a time.
3. Financial and Tax Issues
When the HOA in question is not paying the correct taxes or is not providing the services that they are being paid for, legal action is often needed to address the issue. There are various other legal concerns, such as embezzlement from the HOA accounts, that can also necessitate that a lawyer gets involved in the situation and represents the board or the homeowners themselves. These kinds of financial actions might be done intentionally, or they could be an accident, but they will still almost always require that legal action be taken.
These kinds of problems are some of the most common issues that require that a lawyer be involved. The team at Lopez Law Group knows how to support the homeowners or the HOA itself when there are problems to do with financial issues or illegal actions that have been taken by a board member or an HOA officer. Financial and tax issues can be very complicated, and there is no reason to try and handle this kind of issue on your own.
What Kinds of Actions Can the HOA Take Against Homeowners?
Homeowners often do not read the fine print on their HOA agreement when they move in. This means that homeowners in a community can be really surprised at the actions that can be taken against them when they are in violation of their contract with the HOA itself. There are also instances where the HOA is not correct in the action that it has tried to take against a homeowner and could be in violation of the rules and regulations of the HOA agreement.
These are the most common actions that HOAs can take against the residents that they govern:
Fines are the most common way that homeowners are compelled to pay attention to HOA rules. There are often very specific guidelines that must be followed when leveling fines against residents, and the HOA has to follow all the guidelines for giving notice and taking action against this person. When the HOA acts outside of the scope of the HOA contract or outside the scope of the law, even a fine can lead to the need for a homeowner to secure a lawyer.
Fines might range from a small amount of money into the thousands, and all of this information needs to be in the HOA contract for the fines to be enforceable. Fines are often the first line of defense that the HOA has to work with, but the HOA cannot level fines against people who have not been properly communicated with or allowed the change to resolve the issue.
· Voting Rights
The HOA can take away a resident’s voting rights if they feel that the resident is delinquent in the areas that lead to this consequence. There is usually a provision in the HOA contract that outlines what kinds of infractions lead to this outcome, and the HOA will need to be able to follow the guidelines in this part of the HOA documentation before they can take away someone’s voting rights. This is also usually not a permanent restriction, and the voting rights will be returned when the issue has been corrected.
This is one of the more complex things that an HOA can do to try and compel a homeowner to take the action that they have requested. A lien is not usually placed for minor infractions like a few weeds in the yard or painting the home a color that was not approved in advance. This action is usually only taken when there have been multiple serious infractions, such as yard cars being in the yard, damage to the property that has not been repaired, and any action that risks public safety.
This is the kind of action that necessitates that the HOA secure legal representation in nearly every case. Protecting the HOA from legal action in retaliation is critical and being sure that the lien was placed correctly and legally is also a key benefit to this kind of legal support. When a lien needs to be placed on a property, this can eventually lead to foreclosure, and this is a complex process to undertake as an HOA.
The team at Lopez Law Group can help HOAs to take these actions against a homeowner and to be sure that they are acting within the scope of their contract with the resident. There are many limitations on these kinds of actions that must be considered and legal requirements that must be met before a lien can lawfully be placed on a property. You will need to have skilled legal support for this process to avoid issues down the road.
When residents in the community do not pay their dues or are not compliant with some other financial requirement, collections proceedings might need to be initiated. There are various steps that have to be taken to notify a homeowner of their missed payments or other financial arrears. If the HOA does not take these steps correctly, it might not be possible to pursue the debt through collections.
Having a skilled lawyer working on the notification and the later steps that need to be taken care of to transfer the debt to collections can help greatly. HOA board members and officers need to be careful about following the legal steps when notifying residents that they owe money and are going to be sent to collections, or they could open themselves up to legal action in return.
HOA Management and Governance Can be Complex in the State of Florida
If you live in a community that is governed by an HOA or you are a member of the HOA board in Florida, you might need to secure the support of a skilled lawyer. There are various kinds of disputes or processes that can lead to the need for someone with experience in this area of law. Even simple processes, such as notification of missed HOA dues, can lead to legal altercations with homeowners, which is why skilled legal professionals can be so helpful both to residents and HOA board members.
The team at Lopez Law Group has years of experience working on issues related to HOA governance and resident disputes. Working with a lawyer who is familiar with the complexities of HOA law in Florida can be the reason for a successful outcome for your HOA-related case. There is no reason to try and go it alone when it comes to HOA governance issues or laws. The team at Lopez Law Group is always eager to help you with your HOA-related case. Contact us today and get the legal support that you need for your homeowner’s association dispute.
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