Recent changes in the law finally give Texas homeowners a stick to fight back against abusive practices by Texas homeowners associations. If you are reading this, you’ve no doubt heard of HOA horror stories. Perhaps you’ve been a victim of HOA harassment or bullying. HOAs are not regulated by the state or federal government. They are often formed as “non-profit” corporations and claim to be “self-governing entities,” but all too often they act more like private governments, claiming the power to tax, have a police force, impose regulations, and dictate zoning. They’ve often treated their members unfairly and even illegally and gotten away with it. Common examples include:
- Arbitrary or personally motivated enforcement actions;
- Making serious decisions outside of an open meeting;
- Assessing fines or sanctions without due process;
- Failure to provide proper notices;
- Failure to permit inspection of books and records;
- Breaches of fiduciary duty by Board members;
- Wrongful foreclosure actions;
- Filing lawsuits to cover their wrongful actions;
- Attempts to restrict the display of flags or religious items
Because of the disparity in financial resources available to support legal actions, individual homeowners have always been at a serious disadvantage in disputes with their HOA. Essentially, the Board members are never required to use their personal funds in legal disputes with individual homeowners. The HOA uses your dues to fund their actions against you. Homeowners, on the other hand, must use personal funds to pay their own legal expenses. Faced with this economic reality, homeowners, as a practical matter, often have no way to fight back. In that regard, the HOA laws have historically failed, and failed miserably.
Fortunately for Texas homeowners, things have gotten much better. The Texas legislature has begun to level the playing field by making changes to the HOA laws, some of which only went into effect on September 1, 2015. While not perfect, the HOA laws now give homeowners more rights which will often enable them to stop HOA abuse.
If you believe your HOA has treated you unfairly or not acted properly in any manner, you owe it to yourself to contact an attorney with experience in this area to discuss your specific situation. With the changes in the law, it is now much more likely that something can be done to change your situation for the better.
Saunders, Walsh & Beard is a business and litigation law firm in McKinney, Texas. Formed in 2012, today SWB has more than 16 attorneys. The firm assists individuals and businesses with commercial, business and tort litigation, construction law, corporate and partnership formation and expansion, employment law, insurance disputes, judgment collection, personal jurisdiction, and real estate. We believe the client’s “experience” is of paramount importance. Explore our practice areas and see why the attorneys of Saunders, Walsh & Beard are ranked by their clients and peers as among the best in their fields.