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Subject: Disbanded HOA; now someone is suing...
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Author Messages
CallyT
(Louisiana)

Posts:2


11/16/2010 8:14 AM  
I live in a neighborhood that had an active HOA about 10 years ago, but in the last ten years, there have been no activities with the HOA. There are violations of the covenants EVERYWHERE, and now, my new neighbors, who are in the process of building a house, have been served with a civil lawsuit from the neighbors across the street. The neighbors who are building have gotten a permit from our parish (we live in LA) to live in their shed while they build. I see no problem with this; we live in an area that was hit hard by the Gulf Oil spill, and these people are doing their best to build their home as quickly as possible.

Do the neighbors across the street have any legal reasons for suing? It seems their only reason is that "they don't like it."

I'm just curious, because I would like to see the new neighbors in their home as soon as possible, and all the "suing neighbors" are doing is slowing down the progress of the new home.

Thanks for your input.
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4890


11/16/2010 8:27 AM  
Cally, The Covenants may run with the land and if so can be enforced by any owner whether there is or is not an active association.
CallyT
(Louisiana)

Posts:2


11/16/2010 8:33 AM  
Thank you so much for your reply.

What about all of the other violations? Do we ignore those? Can HOA's be selective about whom they sue and whom they do not sue?

Personally, I have a problem with a structure that a neighbor behind me put up two years ago, but the Association (that is completely inactive) did nothing about that. Now, these people are being sued. (Keep in mind that the offending structure that also violates the covenants is right behind them).

I feel like these people are being picked on by neighbors who have too much time on their hands and the money to be bullies. It's as if these people are saying, "We like THEM, so they can violate the covenants, but we don't like YOU, so we're taking you to court."

How do we go about making this "fair"?
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4890


11/16/2010 8:52 AM  
Cally asked "How do we go about making this "fair"?" You can reactivate your HOA and they can enforce the Covenants. Otherwise it is up to the individual owners who either ignore violations or else enforce through legal action.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:9289


11/16/2010 8:56 AM  
Posted By CallyT on 11/16/2010 8:33 AM


What about all of the other violations? Do we ignore those?




You stated that the Association was inactive. Therefore, the question becomes who is "we"?

As was stated earlier, you an individual homeowner could file legal action against each and every neighbor to comply with the covenants if the Association is not performing their function.


Posted By CallyT on 11/16/2010 8:33 AM


Can HOA's be selective about whom they sue and whom they do not sue?




Association's may not be selective when they enforce the covenants. However, you may be. That is, if you want to take the time and expense to file legal action in civil court.


Posted By CallyT on 11/16/2010 8:33 AM


How do we go about making this "fair"?




The best way to make it "fair" would be to become involved in the Association.

If there are annual meetings, then volunteer or run for a position on the Board.

If there are no annual meetings, then call one. Solicit signatures from neighbors to call a special meeting of the membership for the purpose of electing a Board of directors. Get a slate of volunteers together and follow the guidelines in your governing documents.


An Association typically becomes inactive due to apathy of the membership. Apathy causes the members to not become involved. This allows those that what to be involved to run everything. If no-one wants to be involved I expect that you get a development similar to the one you are living in now. That is, until someone or a group of members decide that they want to become involved again.

Tim
MaryA1
(Arizona)

Posts:388


11/16/2010 9:05 AM  
Cally,

When there is no HOA, or when the HOA has been inactive as yours has for the past 10 years, each property owner should have the right to enforce the covenants. If yours say "no one can live in a shed or temporary structure" then the neighbors who are suing have that right. When there are deed restrictions on a property, they can be enforced whether there is an HOA or not.

The HOA is not selectively enforcing, enforcement is being carried out by a property owner. If there are other violations in the community that you do not like then you have a right to take the offending property owners to small claims court also. To make certain there is no selective enforcement, get together with your friends and neighbors to take steps to reactivate the HOA. Once a BOD has been elected they can appoint an architectural committee to notice violations and stop the selective enforcement. Regarding the property owner who is living in his shed -- if that's a violation of the covenants then he must move out.
ScottJ4
(Maryland)

Posts:4


11/16/2010 9:23 AM  
Sounds like your HOA needs to get organized to give the residents a voice. We were running into similar problems and created a website with http://hoasitedesign.com for next to nothing a month compared to our other costs. Our new HOA website has helped get our community talking and planning againg, things are slowly starting to turn around--thankfully.
ScottJ4
(Maryland)

Posts:4


11/16/2010 9:23 AM  
Sounds like your HOA needs to get organized to give the residents a voice. We were running into similar problems and created a website with http://hoasitedesign.com for next to nothing a month compared to our other costs. Our new HOA website has helped get our community talking and planning againg, things are slowly starting to turn around--thankfully.
ScottJ4
(Maryland)

Posts:4


11/16/2010 9:23 AM  
Sounds like your HOA needs to get organized to give the residents a voice. We were running into similar problems and created a website with http://hoasitedesign.com for next to nothing a month compared to our other costs. Our new HOA website has helped get our community talking and planning againg, things are slowly starting to turn around--thankfully.
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


11/16/2010 12:49 PM  
How did the homeowners get a permit to live in a shed while their home is being rebuilt?
You said the parish granted permission. What government entity granted permission?
Was the parish aware that there were convenants governing your subdivison?
Was there a time limit set on how long they could live in the shed?

MaryA1
(Arizona)

Posts:388


11/16/2010 1:24 PM  
Regardless of what the parish code allows, the CCRs can be more restrictive. If they say a resident cannot live in a temporary structure then they cannot, regardless of what the parish says! BTW, a parish in LA is the same as a county in any other state.
SusanW1
(Michigan)

Posts:5202


11/16/2010 2:01 PM  
Most likely, due to the very extraordinary circumstances, the parish did issue the permit.

An inactive HOA will have to show it has it together in front of the courts, on this one.
MaryA1
(Arizona)

Posts:388


11/16/2010 2:05 PM  
I don't know that the HOA needs to get involved in the court case. Since the HOA has been inactive for 10 years, any member should have a right to enforce the covenants. This is not unusual at all, but rather is the norm when there is no HOA and the properties have deed restrictions.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:1667


11/16/2010 2:55 PM  
If I were the judge in this matter, I would throw the suit out. This is selective enforcement by ONE owner. I would only hear the case if the owner who brought the suit has been enforcing ALL the covenants for the past ten years since the HOA so called disbanded.
MaryA1
(Arizona)

Posts:388


11/17/2010 7:53 AM  
Richard,

I would hate to see a judge rule as you suggest. For one thing I don't think a judge should deem that the property owners would be avidly looking for violations as an HOA would be doing. This is not selective enforcement, at least not in my opinion, as it is not the resp. of the property owners to enforce the covenants; even though they do have a right to do so.
RogerB
(Colorado)

Posts:4890


11/17/2010 8:36 AM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 11/16/2010 2:55 PM
If I were the judge in this matter, I would throw the suit out. This is selective enforcement by ONE owner. I would only hear the case if the owner who brought the suit has been enforcing ALL the covenants for the past ten years since the HOA so called disbanded.


No one with this attitude is qualified to be a judge since it would in no way be considered selective enforcement.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:1667


11/17/2010 10:15 AM  
If you want to go to the authorities and complain that your neighbors are living in their shed is one thing, filing a suit is quite another. Are you all attorneys desperate for work.

Someone please show me where the poster posted anything that said "living in your shed was against the CCR's". Exactly what covenant was violated?

The facts as presented by the poster are that the HOA was disbanded and the neighbor did the responsible thing in obtaining a permit from the local parish (county).
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:9289


11/17/2010 11:34 AM  
Richard,

The OP stated that a neighbor was suing a neighbor because they were living in a shed. The question bu the OP was: "Do the neighbors across the street have any legal reasons for suing? It seems their only reason is that "they don't like it."

After people replied that it depends on the CC&R's and that individual homeowners have the right to enforce the CC&R's by filing legal action, the question became: "What about all of the other violations? Do we ignore those? "

This is how the thread went into filing legal actions to support the covenants. More of an informational thread vs. advise on what to actually do.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:1667


11/17/2010 12:54 PM  
My point was as you said "It seems their only reason is that "they don't like it.", has nothing to do with enforcing the covenants. If everyone reads the posters second post it refers to a problem with the structure, not about living in the structure.

And the comment "I feel like these people are being picked on by neighbors who have too much time on their hands and the money to be bullies.It's as if these people are saying, "We like THEM, so they can violate the covenants, but we don't like YOU, so we're taking you to court." isn't about selective enforcement?



MaryA1
(Arizona)

Posts:388


11/17/2010 1:58 PM  
Richard,

When there is no HOA or if the HOA is inactive, each property owner has a right to enforce the covenants by filing suit in small claims court. The fact that someone is filing suit against the h/o who is living in a shed leads me to believe there is a CCR restriction against this, which I would not find unusual at all. This is not selective enforcement. The property owners are not resp. for enforcing the CCRs but they have a right to do so if the HOA does not or if there is no HOA. Selective enforcement only comes into play if the HOA is doing the enforcing.

I suggest you re-read the OP's second post. The OP does not have a problem with the shed that is being lived in, he/she has a problem with another property that is behind the shed.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Disbanded HOA; now someone is suing...



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