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Subject: Member's Right to information
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Author Messages
PatD3
(Louisiana)

Posts:1


11/05/2017 3:53 AM  
Our HOA has just been turned over to us by developer. Developer appointed board for first year which was his right to do stated in restrictions. When we were given Budget copies at first and only meeting thus far, on itemized sheet, there isn't an attorney mentioned as an expense. An issue came up where a board member mentioned attorney. When member asked for name of attorney, was told they won't release his/her name by request of attorney. Should this information be kept from its members? There are only 53 homes in this small development and I'm pretty sure the attorney in question won't be getting 53 calls. I believe there is no attorney on staff because attorneys don't work for free, but perhaps the word attorney is used to push an agenda and this is a scare tactic to keep member from checking to be sure the agenda is indeed a fact stated by an attorney. I guess my question is....can board members keep attorney's name a secret from HOA membership? I'm not implying the board is fabricating a story of having a fake attorney but I just want to know.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:6788


11/05/2017 5:28 AM  
Your going to have to get your own attorney. The attorney your asking about is the Developer's. It's NOT your current HOA's. Plus legal expense is an option and varies for each HOA. We only used a lawyer for filing liens or foreclosures. Which is the only thing we needed them for. Everything else would have been "Advice or writing letters". Which we did not do. However, other HOA's do want that comfort of running to an attorney for every threat or worry about a lawsuit.

We also limited that legal expense by having only ONE board member dedicated to communicating to the lawyer after an agreement by the board to contact. Otherwise, your HOA is going to run the legal bill through the roof. Lawyers do charge for each phone call, email, or any other form of communication. So know how your lawyer charges before hiring. I would never leave our number but wait till he was in office. A call back may be a charge.

Make sure you know the scope of what you want/need your lawyer for. HOA's have to be represented by a lawyer in court or assign someone from the board to represent them in court. Would you trust a board member to do that? Most likely no. Plus filing of liens/foreclosures in some states/county require an attorney. You may need one to file your new changes in your CC&R's and Articles of Corporation at your change over. (By-laws are HOA's documents that may or may not need filed with the CC&R's).

Otherwise, I wouldn't keep an attorney on retainer. It's an additional expense your HOA may not need. Hiring a legal service or just on an "as needed" basis may work better.

Never knee jerk react to a threat of a lawsuit. Your always going to be threatened when someone doesn't get their way. I tell people I will wait on the paperwork. No need to run to a lawyer for every little tantrum. Plus when hiring a lawyer question if they ever say to you "I will do whatever you tell me to do". That is a HUGE Red flag! That means there could be other options out there. Especially some don't take a lawyer.

This is just some advice on the lawyer thing. Lessons I learned with dealing with many. Don't hire a Real Estate lawyer. Your HOA doesn't deal with Real Estate. It's a corporation. It's best to hire a HOA expert if can afford or a general attorney familiar with contractual law.

Former HOA President
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7010


11/05/2017 5:45 AM  
Pat

I do not know about keeping the name secret and it sounds childish but the attorney is the BOD's attorney and not your attorney nor your HOA's attorney thus unless on the BOD, you have no right to contact them.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Member's Right to information



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