A community association does much more for homeowners than perform lawn maintenance and collect rent checks. Members of associations governing condominiums, neighborhoods, cooperatives, or other communities have a number of fiduciary duties and responsibilities set forth by the law.
No matter what kind of community association you belong to, you should have qualified legal counsel to represent your interests.
How Attorneys Protect Homeowners’ and Community Associations
A homeowners’ association allows members to take an active role in maintaining a high standard for the community.
Associations are required to comply with construction standards and laws governing the soundness of the buildings and structures in the community, thus ensuring the safety of owners and children who live on the property. In addition to taking part in the community development process, associations must set forth the governing principles of the community and clearly outline the duties of both the association and the homeowner.
The contract between homeowners and associations can provide protection to each party, but it can also give rise to disagreements. An experienced homeowners’ association attorney can perform a number of services that both solve and prevent problems in the community, including:
- Document drafting. Your association is built on the enforceability of its contracts, and we ensure that all documentation is legally sound and drafted in a language that leaves little room for interpretation to minimize potential problems. Our attorneys take a personal approach to the creation of association rules and bylaws, allowing clients to implement regulations and restrictions that establish the character of the community without encroaching on the legal rights of the owners.
- Assessment collection. If an owner fails to make payment, an association has to enforce its rights to impose fines carefully in order to avoid liability for legal action. Under Florida law, there are specific procedures that must be followed before an association can take action against a homeowner. An attorney can guide the association through this process without exposing the association to litigation.
- Statutory interpretation. Association statutes and bylaws that were created decades ago may contain vague or ambiguous language, making it difficult to know when and how they can be enforced. Our attorneys can help interpret the language in governing documents to help each party understand its rights, as well as prepare amendments to governing documents to avoid future confusion.
- Protection and enforcement. Some associations may require occasional legal advice for disputes, while others rely regularly on counsel for day-to-day operations. Our law firm provides as much assistance as each client requires, advising association members on the use of their enforcement options—including fines, evictions, and suspension of voting rights; reviewing governing documents and articles of incorporation for potential errors or liability; or preparing to resolve a matter in court. We also take over the responsibility of informing owners of alleged violations, requesting payment or response from an owner who has committed a violation, and assume the duty of securing the owner’s corrective action.
- Dispute resolution. As the trusted legal representation for nearly 100 different homeowners' associations, we know that it's not always possible to avoid disputes among association members. Our attorneys work to resolve these conflicts with a minimum of interruption in the community while ensuring that the association’s guiding principles are respected.
- Litigation and mediation. If a conflict arises and an owner is threatening legal action, our attorneys can step in to provide mediation and arbitration services to avoid the necessity of going to court. If an owner has already filed a lawsuit against the association, our law firm can aggressively represent the association during settlement negotiations and in the courtroom.
If you belong to a homeowner's association or a condominium association and have questions about contracts, association by-laws, or compliance issues, please give us a call today. Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience representing homeowners and their associations through all aspects of their business operations. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation.