Homeowners’ associations can be a great way to maintain property values and keep neighborhoods in Florida looking their best. However, disputes between homeowners and the HOA board often arise and can quickly escalate, leaving everyone angry and frustrated. If you are experiencing a dispute with your HOA, here are the steps you need to take to resolve it calmly and rationally.
Resolving HOA disputes
- Understand your rights and responsibilities: As a homeowner in an HOA, you need to understand your rights and responsibilities before taking any action. The most important right you have is the right to due process, meaning you have a right to be heard and have a chance to present your case before an impartial judge or jury.
- Gather evidence: Before approaching a homeowners’ association board member or manager, take some time to gather all of the relevant documentation you need to support your claim against them. This could include emails, recorded calls, text messages, pictures and video footage from security cameras, if available.
- Reach out to the HOA board and negotiate a resolution: Reach out to the HOA board members via email or phone call requesting to discuss your disagreements. Negotiation or mediation is often the best way to go because these methods are cheaper, and you can resolve your issues more quickly.
- File a complaint with the state’s attorney general or consumer protection agency: If the homeowners’ association refuses to negotiate a resolution, they could be violating Florida Statute 720. This would allow you to file a complaint against them in court or even go directly through your state’s attorney general office if necessary.
- Take legal action against the HOA: If all else fails and neither the homeowners’ association nor the state’s attorney general will help resolve the dispute, you may need to take legal action. This could involve filing a lawsuit in civil court or seeking an injunction from a judge to stop the HOA from taking some specific action, like fining you for violating their rules).
Disputes will often arise when living in an HOA community; it may not be with the board itself but with other homeowners. Whichever the case, it is important to understand your rights so that you can take the proper steps during conflict resolution.