Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) are usually made up of volunteers from a community. These associations exist to help the neighborhood set and enforce community rules, bylaws, and standards. Most, if not all, HOAs charge fees for this service.
Many HOA rules are backed by legal agreements or state laws, such as Chapter 720 of the 2019 Florida Statutes. This statute outlines general provisions that pertain to HOAs in Florida. Unfortunately, civil disputes, payment issues, construction issues, and other conflicts can arise between owners, renters, and property managers, as well as construction companies or other service providers within a community. This is where an attorney may be able to help.
For assistance with these or similar HOA issues, please contact a Gainesville homeowners’ association lawyer with Bogin, Munns & Munns today. You can reach our team at (352) 332-7688.
HOA Attorney Services
HOA lawyers can offer a variety of services for your organization. Here are some of the services we can provide based on the various challenges and issues that your homeowners’ association faces.
To consult with an experienced homeowners association lawyer serving Gainesville, call 855-780-9986
Drafting and Interpreting Legal Documents
Housing communities are made up of property owners and renters, and they are often cared for and managed by third-party service providers. As is true for other industries, specific rules and laws apply to how these different groups can interact with each other. There may also be many community-specific rules and laws that you will need to outline and enforce.
An attorney can help an HOA draft comprehensive community bylaws and standards, as well as covenants, conditions, and restrictions—also known as CCRs. An attorney can also draw up other governing documents that allow the community to comply with local, state, and federal housing and zoning laws, while regulating the internal management and operations of the community.
Examples of some of the documents that your HOA may need an attorney for include the number of people expected to serve on the community board and rules pertaining to:
- Pets and penalties
- How the HOA will handle infringements.
- How the community will allocate resources.
Since all homeowners, renters, tenants, and residents must abide by these rules—and since the rules do not typically change frequently—it is a good idea to have an attorney draft, review, and finalize them.
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Representing the Interests of Homeowners
The establishment of a housing community is the last step in a long, mandatory process to set up, zone, and build a community. Many different parties play a role in the process along the way. One construction team may be responsible for level grading, another team may be responsible for soil testing, and another may handle excavation, building, and removal of construction waste.
It is only after-the-fact that a homeowner may identify a construction or land issue that is not up to quality standards agreed upon by the builder, the housing community, or the final buyer. Examples of these issues include:
- Improper grading, leading to moisture accumulation in the basement.
- Substandard construction leading to structural cracks.
- Poor interior finishing.
These are serious issues, but because of the costs involved in remedying them, the at-fault party may not accept responsibility. A homeowner may have no choice but to file a complaint or a civil liability claim against the party responsible for poor construction, incomplete work, or negligent recklessness in providing or completing important services.
An attorney may be able to pressure the at-fault party into remedying the problem, so that the victim does not have to suffer the costs of these reckless, incompetent, or dangerous actions.
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Operations and Management
Although the rules and bylaws of HOA agreements and other governing documents are meant to be easy for everyone to understand, they often include a substantial amount of legal language that can be ambiguous or easily misinterpreted. Furthermore, these documents may include concepts or rules that are open to multiple interpretations. This can lead to disputes concerning:
- The community’s relevant fees and penalties.
- The roles of the HOA.
- Expectations from residents.
- Acceptable service levels from vendors.
- Professional determinations concerning issues such as discrimination.
This is where an attorney can help, by examining your HOA documents, determining the right interpretation and application of relevant laws, and guiding the HOA and community residents to conflict resolution.
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Enforcing the Law
When all else fails, an HOA may need to take legal action against a non-compliant or unresponsive resident, homeowner, or service provider. This may require drawing up a formal civil complaint, filing a complaint in court, or seeking law enforcement assistance for problems such as domestic disputes, harassment, or theft.
An attorney who understands the legal requirements for these types of procedures and knows where to submit the paperwork and evidence needed to back your claims can streamline the process for you. That way, you can take action to potentially resolve HOA and other tenant or resident issues.
Please contact the Gainesville homeowners’ association lawyer with Bogin, Munns & Munns today if you require assistance with these or similar issues. We are just a call away—you can reach our firm at (352) 332-7688.
Contact Bogin Munns & Munns Today
The legal team at Bogin, Munns & Munns can help you:
- Develop rules, regulations, and operational agreements for your homeowners’ association.
- Interpret existing rules and governing documents for your community.
- Work toward resolving civil disputes, filing claims, and identifying relevant laws.
- Understand the evidentiary requirements for various claims.
- Collect fees and assessments.
- Issue warnings, obtain court judgments, or enforce agreed-upon rules, standards, or laws.
Your community can collectively suffer if your HOA is unable to perform its function of serving the interests of owners and residents. Over the long run, this can seriously affect local property values.
A Gainesville homeowners’ association lawyer with Bogin, Munns & Munns may be able to assist you with HOA issues. Please contact us today at (352) 332-7688 to learn more about our services and to see if we may be able to help with your case.