Why Should I Hire An Attorney To Handle My HOA or Condo Association Dispute?
If you are the association, you must have counsel to represent you in court because under Florida law, corporations cannot represent themselves and they need to have a counsel. And condominium associations and homeowners associations are non-profit corporations so they have to have attorneys representing them. For individual that reside in HOA or a condominium association, typically the dispute arises and the unit owner or the home owner will contact either the property management company or the property manager or maybe even the board of directors and sometimes that will provide relief to the owner but more often than not, the property manager or the board will indicate that they’re not going to follow what the unit owner is suggesting or enforced a rule or some type of term and the declaration of covenants for condominiums against the owner.
At that point, the owner is kind of stuck, so what the unit owner can do at that point is to retain an attorney that works in that area such as myself. Typically, what I do is I reach out to the property manager or management company and/or to the board of directors and state our position and usually that’s after researching the governing documents and making sure that the owner has a case with merit. Once I determine that, then I reach out to the board and try and resolve it without any type of litigation. If it can’t be resolved through negotiations with the board of directors or their attorney, which usually happens with their attorney in, then there is the alternative dispute resolution such as mediation for home owner’s association and arbitration for condominiums.
If that doesn’t resolve the matter, then there is always litigation. Certainly, most unit owners are not attorneys and even if they are, you shouldn’t really represent yourself as the old saying about a fool representing themselves. It’s pretty apt across the board because you have emotions involved and you may be an attorney but you may not be a condo or an HOA attorney, so you really need to make sure that you have an attorney that knows civil procedure that can litigate cases such as myself and then you also need somebody that’s familiar with the condo and HOA laws and rules.
What Are Some Questions I Should Pose To My Real Estate Agent Or My Attorney?
If you are about to reside either through a purchase or through a tenancy in a home owner’s association or a condominium association, the typical issues that arise are, “Can I have a pet?”, “How many pets can I have?”, “Is there a breed restriction on dogs?”, “Is there any wait restriction?” There are also issues as to what kind of parking is going to be available, is there going to be assigned parking and will that be actually documented or will it just be told by the board, “Hey, you can park there exclusively and then have that taken away at a later date?”, which happened to some of my clients. There are issues that relate to if, as an owner, you’re looking at some point at the property as an investment and you would like to lease the property, you need an attorney to look over the declaration and the rules and regulations to see what restrictions there are on leasing the property out.
Those are the two main thins but it’s not a bad idea to have an attorney just look over the governing documents. It doesn’t take long. There are a lot of issues involving things such as the developer first have the property and easements and typically those don’t affect the average unit owner. So, an experienced attorney can look through the declaration very quickly and find the types of issues that a perspective owner or a tenant in a condominium or HOA association would be concerned about such as like I said, such as parking, pet ownership, tenancy, those kinds of things and it’s really nice to know that before you close on the home and then go, “Oops, I didn’t know about any of this”, because you’re actually put on notice because the governing documents are recorded in the public records.
The courts take the position that you are on notice that these rules and regulations and restrictions are open to you and you have the opportunity to review those before you close on the property and you have the statutes that control condominium associations and homeowner’s associations and it’s unit owner’s obligation to make sure that they are familiar enough with those that when a problem pops up, they can’t go, “I didn’t know that, I didn’t read the statute, I didn’t look up the declaration”. Most people, if they look them up, they probably, not because of any type of level of lack of understanding but they’re probably not going to be able to get through all the legalese and understand exactly how that applies to them. That’s what a competent attorney does, it’s to take those rules, regulations and take those statutes and say, “What kind of issues may come up”, and prepare the purchaser or the tenant prior to them signing any documents and tie them in so they cannot get out of it at a later date if something comes up that they could have prepared for.
For more information on Attorneys Handling HOA & Condo Disputes, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (772) 242-3600 today.
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