Homeowners associations have a set of rules that every household-member must strictly follow. Failure to do so could result in penalties or in worst-case scenarios, expulsion from the community, which means you could be evicted from your house. In general, the HOA is legally allowed to make such a decision. A homeowner could be evicted if it has been proven that they have put (or are putting) the safety of the community or a neighbor at risk. Disagreements between neighbors are one of the most common causes of a situation getting out of hand, thus endangering the safety of another.
How do HOAs handle disputes between neighbors? Here are the initial steps they take to prevent the situation from escalating:
1. Request for a formal complaint in writing
Here’s the thing, the HOA cannot immediately intervene in a dispute between neighbors. Everything must be handled professionally, which means the HOA will have to request for a formal complaint from one of the parties involved. If the complaint was made verbally, a formal written complaint will still be requested by the HOA. This is so everything is on record, for safety and legal purposes, among others.
Understand that the HOA may choose not to intervene in a dispute related to personal matters like dating and relationships, whether romantic or family related. They can only intervene if the situation has put others in danger (including one of the parties involved).
2. An HOA Board member will be assigned to investigate
For homeowners associations that have an HOA management company helping them out, the HOA manager will be the one to do the investigating. If there is no HOA manager, the HOA Board will assign one of their Board members to the case to investigate.
The HOA, through their HOA manager or Board member, will look into the situation to find out all the facts. Understanding that the dispute could very well end up in a lawsuit, they will be thorough about the entire process, making sure not to leave out or overlook important details. Those involved should expect to be interviewed.
Based on all evidence and information gathered from the investigation, the HOA will then decide whether or not the situation is something they could or should intervene with. This decision will be made by all HOA Board members. Having a lawyer present during discussions on whether or not to intervene will be helpful since they can provide a legal insight or give their legal advise.
These are but the initial steps to how an HOA handles disputes between neighbors. For HOA disputes between the association and a homeowner, the process starts with
Internal Dispute Resolution.