A Homeowners Association (HOA) is a group of volunteers from a planned community or development, including townhouses or condominiums, that work together for the benefit of that community. The HOA’s primary responsibility is to enforce the rules set forth by the community. It can be a thankless job, as many HOA rules can be detailed and arduous to enforce.
Members of the HOA are doing the best they can, and often do not have the proper background to interpret all the legal matters they will encounter. That is when it might become necessary hire an experienced HOA lawyer who you can consult with on any complex legal matters.
How Can an HOA Lawyer Be Helpful?
An HOA lawyer has experience with community associations and working with any legal documents that the HOA needs to consider including covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). The lawyer will also help when the HOA needs to collect on any fees or enforce violations.
A lawyer will collaborate with the HOA if it decides it wants to make any alterations to the existing rules. They will be able to work with the association throughout the process to ensure it does it in the proper way.
What Are Specific Benefits of Hiring an HOA Lawyer?
There are a variety of benefits when you bring an HOA lawyer on board. Those include:
- Specific knowledge base: While there might be members of the HOA who have been involved for years and have institutional knowledge, they will not have the same legal background that a lawyer will have to help interpret important documents and rules.
- Preparing governing documents: As an HOA you not only need CC&Rs, but you must also have bylaws, rules and regulations which are essential to managing your association. All of those documents are subject to federal, state, and local ordinances. These can be difficult documents to prepare without the proper legal knowledge.
- Protection and legal representation: Not every decision made by an HOA will be a popular one and in those situations a person may choose to take legal action against the HOA. A lawyer can defend the association on all legal matters.
- Legal consultation: While handling documents is one thing, addressing certain delicate situations is another. When accusations of racism and sexual harassment occur, the HOA must make sure it manages the situation properly to avoid any liability.
- Rule enforcement/assessment collection: The larger the community, the more difficult it can be to enforce your rules and collect on any fees. An HOA lawyer will help with this process and make it more effective and efficient.
At Oliveri & Larsen, our team can address these and any other unforeseen problems that may arise. It can be difficult to maintain order for an entire community, and the HOA should not have to worry about the legal aspects of their job as well.
A unique aspect of dealing with an HOA for an incorporated community is the combination of business and real estate law. They also fall under the Maryland Condominium Act, the Homeowners Association Act, real estate law and applicable corporate law.
Having a lawyer who possess knowledges of both areas will help tremendously when dealing with whatever situation may arise.
What Should I Consider in Hiring an HOA Lawyer?
When deciding on the right HOA lawyer for your association, there are a few factors that you need to consider before taking that critical step. These include:
- Your needs: First, determine what you are going to need help with and how frequently you will need to speak with your lawyer. Gauge the size of your HOA to determine how much work a lawyer will need to do.
- Your location: You will want a local lawyer who can address your needs directly. An Annapolis HOA lawyer will know the local state laws and local ordinances that will directly impact your association.
- Budget: Determine the amount of money that you are wiling to spend and find out what the costs will be for a lawyer to provides the services you want at the level you are interested in.
- Trustworthiness: You need to develop a certain level of trust between your association and your lawyer. They will be overseeing several sensitive documents and situations and you want to be assured that your confidential information is in good hands.
It is imperative that your association hire a lawyer who can address all the legal matters that may arise. Your HOA can encounter problems if you attempt to maneuver legal matters without experienced counsel.
Annapolis HOA Lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen Handle All Legal Matters for Your HOA
HOAs have a hard enough job without having to deal with the numerous legal matters that come along. Our Annapolis HOA lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen can help your association manage those legal matters and any other circumstances that arise. Call 410-295-3000 or contact us online to schedule your initial meeting. Our offices are located in Annapolis, Maryland, and we serve clients in Ocean City, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County, Kent County, and Eastern Shore, Maryland.