Cherry Hill, NJ Attorney Helps Residents Fight Homeowners’ Associations throughout South Jersey
There are many popular reasons to buy a home in a community governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA) in New Jersey. The HOA fees you pay will cover things like ground maintenance, snow and garbage removal, recreational assets such as pools, playgrounds, sports fields and tennis courts. However, in return for these benefits, being part of an HOA means adhering to guidelines and bylaws. These legal governing documents often seem arbitrary to residents because they sometimes appear to encroach on a homeowner’s right to make decisions about his or her property. What’s worse, these associations are often governed by a group of over-zealous residents, making any attempt to “fight city hall” incredibly difficult.
Joel R. Spivack, Esq. is a knowledgeable real estate attorney who has been helping residents of HOAs deal with association boards and bylaws for more than 25 years in Cherry Hill, Mt. Laurel, Medford and throughout Camden County, NJ. He understands how frustrating it can be for a homeowner who either doesn’t understand the HOA guidelines or believes the bylaws are not in accord with state or municipal law. Contact Mr. Spivack today for a consultation about your real estate situation. He will protect your interests and fight for your rights.
Savvy Real Estate Lawyer Advises HOA Homeowners about their Rights in Medford, Voorhees, Marlton and across Camden County, NJ
HOA boards are very quick to point to important legal documents known as covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs). These are the legal guidelines that govern your community. However, the very same board members are often less quick to point out homeowners’ individual rights. Here are some things to know about your rights and responsibilities as a resident of an HOA.
You bought there, now you have to follow the rules. When you purchase a home in a community run by an association, you automatically agree to follow the rules of the CC&R. These rules cover anything and everything involved in living in the community – the fees you must pay, what they cover, assessments, guidelines regarding parking, rules about pets and loud music or parties, and more. The bylaws can get very granular. For example, if a community wants to make sure all homes have the same look at feel, the CC&R can state that only certain paint colors can be used on the exterior of the home. Items such as sheds, swing sets, and trampolines may be prohibited.
If you feel your HOA board is being arbitrary about enforcing these laws – they are fining you for erecting a shed while your neighbor has had one for a year – you have a right to fight back. Also, if you and/or other homeowners want to change the rules, there are appropriate steps to take to do this. You’ll need a good real estate lawyer; contact Mr. Spivack for advice about this.
You have voting rights as a member of the HOA. You have a right to vote on every decision being considered by the HOA board. You have a right to all documents pertaining to the issue that is coming up for vote. You have a right to review minutes of all meetings and certainly be notified of all meeting should you choose to attend. If at any time you feel that the board is making illegal decisions or looking to draft new rules that are against municipal and state laws, you need to contact a lawyer to put a stop to the activity. Often, waiting until the issue comes up for vote creates more problems.
You have to pay HOA fees and assessments, but you also have a right to understand – and question! – how the money is being spent. Often residents believe the HOA fees are high, but they are a necessary part of running the business of the community. The fees are used to cover maintenance and repairs of common grounds. Assessments are collected so there is money in reserve in case of an emergency. For example, if the clubhouse roof caves in, usual and customary HOA fees won’t cover the unexpected cost of the repair. That’s where an assessment comes into play.
If you feel the fees you are paying are out of line with what the HOA is paying for (let’s say the pools are in disrepair and not being opened this summer or all the common planting areas are not being maintained), you have every right to question the HOA board and review all documentation. If you feel the charges are unreasonable, you have a right to get a real estate lawyer involved in the situation. Mr. Spivack can assist you and your fellow homeowners in this regard.
NOTE: Do not just stop paying your HOA fees before you take legal action. In some cases, your HOA may be able to put a lien on your property if you fail to pay your fees.
Even though the CC&R generally lists the rights and responsibilities of the homeowners in the community, that doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to question and even dispute those documents and the actions of the HOA board. Don’t go it alone; have a knowledgeable HOA lawyer on your side. You can rely on the experience and expertise Mr. Spivack brings to each and every real estate transaction.
Talk to Knowledgeable Homeowners’ Association Lawyer Joel Spivack about Your Real Estate Rights
You may be the king or queen of your castle, but when you live in a community with a homeowners’ association, you are bound by the rules and regulations there. That doesn’t mean you have no rights; on the contrary, residents of condo associations and communities with HOAs have significant rights. Unfortunately, however, sometimes it takes an attorney who knows these laws to fight the condo board or homeowners’ association leaders.
Contact Joel R. Spivack, Esq. for a consultation about your personal situation. He will explain your rights and determine how he can help you get what you need and want from your community association.