Featured News 2012 What your Homeowner’s Association Won’t tell You

What your Homeowner’s Association Won’t tell You

Sometimes, having a homeowner’s association to take care of details in your community can be a great benefit. Yet the men and women who work in these associations can sometimes wreak more havoc than you would expect. When you move into a community with a homeowner’s association, you should remember that they often come with strict policies. If you don’t follow these policies, you may find notices in your mail box for fines you didn’t even know were possible. Most homeowner’s associations create a handbook or pamphlet with a list of rules.

You should try and follow any paraphernalia you can obtain as best as you can in order to avoid ending up in a financial fiasco. According to Yahoo! Finance, one Rancho Sante Fe homeowner’s association was vigilant in regulating the landscaping codes. When one man recently planted too many roses on his four acre piece of property, they sent a fine in the mail. The homeowner refused to pay the price, and the association fined him monthly for leaving his roses in the yard. Eventually, the association brandished their authority by placing a lien on his property and threatening to foreclose his home.

Shocked, the homeowner took the issue to court. Sadly, he lost on the grounds that he hadn’t obeyed their gardening codes and architectural design rules. This man ended up with $70,000 in legal fees and lost his home to the association. While this may seem like a dramatic example, the fact is that your homeowner’s association as a lot of power in regards to your property. If you refuse to obey their rules, they will send fines. You may also have bills that are a natural part of being in the association.

If you fall behind on these, then you may end up being fined for a late payment. When you are 90 days behind, the homeowners association has a right to place a lien on your home and threaten to foreclose. Because you probably handed over your right of property trustee to the association in accordance to their bylaws, you may not even have the right to take the issue to court. Your best defense may be to save up and pay off your fees before you lose your home to the association.

Homeowner’s associations have a tendency to head to court frequently with issues, so be prepared. In some cases, you may need a real estate attorney by your side to battle a disagreement with the association. While most Homeowner’s boards will say that the last thing they want to do is go to court, they often end up in litigating circumstances. For example, 60 percent of all condo boards and homeowner’s associations in Illinois are in some sort of lawsuit. When a member of the community does something that the board doesn’t like, chances are that the issue could go to court. In the past, homeowner’s have been taken before a judge for installing satellite dishes, solar panels, or a picket fence on their property.

Boards also have the right to change their rules as often as they want. If a homeowner commits an offense that isn’t in the rule book, boards can often create that offense on the spot. While a majority of association members needs to be involved in the establishment of any new bylaws, the rules can be just as binding and subject to fines. If you end up in a confrontation with your homeowner’s association or condo board, have a real estate attorney there to help. Talk to someone in your area today to secure a reliable lawyer for any conflicts that arise.

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