Filing a complaint against an HOA is not something new. In fact, it’s fairly common. However, as common as it is, you should know that complaining against a homeowners association isn’t as simple as storming the HOA office to voice out your issues. There are steps you need to take first for your own protection. Simply put, you need to make sure you are proceeding within legal boundaries to prevent a lawsuit.
If you are considering filing a complaint against your HOA, here are the initial steps you need to take:
1. Clearly identify your concerns and issues
What issues do you wish to take up with your HOA? You have to be clear about them. Remember that you are complaining against your association, which means you’re complaining against an entity that was legally put in place to oversee your community. There are laws governing its role in the community, including the role of each member of the board. With that said, you need to be specific about your concerns. Clearly state each issue and have evidence to back it up.
2. Go over your HOA by-laws and CC&Rs
As mentioned above, there are laws governing the HOA, which include rules and regulations that homeowners must abide by as well as rules and mandates that state the role of the HOA Board and its specific members. Carefully go over these by-laws and CC&Rs to ensure that your issues and concerns against the HOA are indeed within their duties and responsibilities. For instance, if your issue is something that concerns a public amenity like a park or community pool, you have to check if the specific issue is indeed the responsibility of the HOA. Sometimes there are specific stipulations that prevent an HOA from taking action.
3. Are you complaining against the HOA or a board member?
Remember that the HOA is managed by its Board of Directors, with each one having a specific role in the organization. You have to determine whether you are complaining against the entire HOA or just a member of the board. How do you determine which is which? Again, you have to go back to the CC&Rs and by-laws. If your complaints are directly related to the general responsibility of the HOA, then you could probably file a complaint against the association.
On the other hand, if your issue is the specific responsibility of one particular board member, then your issue is probably best taken up with the board member in question.
As you can see, filing a complaint against an HOA takes time and effort; but if you truly believe your concerns are legitimate and must be acted upon immediately for the safety of your HOA-managed community, then there’s no reason for you not to pursue it.