A question I got over the weekend:
With homes falling into foreclosure...HOAs [condominium homeowner associations] are also suffering. Is it possible to sue your HOA for not abiding by the covenant?
The quick answer: of course!
This happens all the time and my guess is that HOA's are being sued left and right given the state of the housing market and the economy broadly. If you don't know what an HOA is, pretty much its like the property management group that you pay when you buy a condo. Homeowner associations are just that: run by the owners of all the properties in a building or community and set up as a legal entity so they can collect fees and provide services.
HOAs are great if they deliver on all the things they promise, which can range from high-speed Internet service to trash pickup to landscaping. The problem is that groups of homeowners all with their individual wants and needs don't always make for great management. Last year I lived in a condo that I leased from its owner. it took 11 months for the HOA to decide it was OK for me to get DirecTV, even though there were already three dishes on the building. It also took about a month to get the lock on my mailbox fixed and water damage to the solarium was there when I moved in and still there when I left.
Which brings me back to the question: can you sue your association if they're not delivering the goods? Yes, you absolutely can. Your agreement to pay fees to the HOA when you buy is typically legally-binding and if one side breaks the agreement, it can be remedied in court. You may want to check your association's bylaws, though, since they may require any disputes go before an arbitrator rather than actually going to court.