Your homeowners association (HOA) Board will rely on legal counsel on many occasions for various legal matters. It is imperative that the Board and your attorney maintain a close working relationship to protect the Board's and homeowner's interests in your community association. Competent legal advice and help is of vital importance to any HOA Board.
Since HOA matters can be quite complicated it is best that you select a law firm that is well-versed in community association dealings. A competent law group can save your HOA Board many headaches and generally a lot of money with their knowledge and expertise.
Serving on any HOA Board can be time-consuming, complicated and frustrating. Since you are dealing with people's homes it's best to always have good help close at hand. There will be times when legal assistance will be imperative to your Board.
When Should You Seek Legal Counsel?
Following are a few examples of when you and the Board should seek legal assistance. If you address issues quickly you can save problems down the road.
- If any homeowner or other entity initiates legal action against the Board or community association you will want to seek legal counsel immediately. Don't let matters fester or try to take care of these issues yourself. It will only make things worse.
- If your HOA Board needs to rewrite or amend governing documents an attorney should be called in to help. This would include restating or amending the CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions), the By-laws, or the Articles of Incorporation. You may also need legal assistance in amending your rules and regulations, Violation and Hearing policy and more. Many of these are governed by law and you may need legal guidance.
- The Board may need help when enforcing or interpreting the documents listed above. These may include issues with architectural compliance as well.
- There will often be matters of negotiation that your Board needs to deal with. Even if you are a great negotiator you will still need assistance on the legal aspects of certain matters. Some examples of these are: foreclosures, employment, and possibly when dealing with vendors and contractors.
- Sometimes there may be concerns related to voting and election controversies. A good law firm can resolve and help mediate these instances.
- Money matters and other fiduciary responsibilities carry a lot of weight among an HOA Board and community matters. These obligations concern and affect the entire neighborhood. Good legal assistance is often needed and warranted when questions arise and just to make sure you stay in compliance with all laws and regulations. In these instances, you may also need to consult other professionals in the accounting profession.
- Your attorney may be able to help in negotiating insurance claims. Insurance issues can get very involved and as a Board you probably won't have the knowledge needed to handle these concerns. Your insurance company will also supply legal help in situations that make this necessary.
- Construction defects, land use issues and a whole host of other problems may come up in the running of a community association. This is one of those areas where you want to get your attorney involved early.
Use Your Legal Counsel Wisely
There will be many times when your Board needs to call for legal assistance. After all, you are a member of the HOA Board and probably not an attorney. Don't let these complicated and frustrating concerns get the best of you.
Protect yourself and your Board's interests by calling for legal help before matters get out of hand. Keep your legal counsel close by and keep your sanity!