Can You Sue an HOA for Selective Enforcement?

February 26, 2023

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are organizations that represent residential communities and its members. They form a board of members, which oversees the governance, management, and maintenance of the community. An HOA needs to ensure that the homeowner associations' voting goes smoothly, as well as take care of many other duties. However, when it fails to properly represent the interests of its members, there can be several ways a homeowner can respond. 

Depending on the situation, legal action may be required in order to ensure that member rights are protected, but this should only happen after other avenues have failed. To start, a complaint should be filed with the board so they are all fully aware of the problem.

More About HOAs

The board is responsible for setting rules, regulations, and policies for all residents as well as managing the finances and collecting dues and assessments. HOAs also have the authority to enforce the rules spelled out in governing documents, and to assess fines or implement other disciplinary actions against a homeowner who does not abide by the rules of the community. 

Board members are required to represent their neighbors by offering guidance as well as listening to and addressing issues with honesty and integrity. By having rules in place, the board helps protect the interests of homeowners while ensuring a suitable living environment for everyone within the community. 

When there is a problem with how the board is managing the community, you will want to know how many board members should your HOA have and be familiar with the rules and bylaws of your community. 

One of the most common reasons why a homeowner decides to pursue legal action is when there is an issue of selective enforcement.

What Is Selective Enforcement?

Selective enforcement is when board members choose to apply certain rules and regulations in a discriminatory manner, giving preferential treatment to some homeowners while ignoring others. This means that the board may be biased when deciding how to act in certain circumstances, leaving residents feeling ignored or discriminated against. 

On the other hand, selective enforcement can also occur when rules and laws established by the board are unfair. In this case, the board members have a responsibility to act fairly and consistently not only when they are drafting and developing the regulations of their community but also when they need to enforce the HOA's bylaws and rules.

What to Do in the Case of Selective Enforcement

When board members fail to behave in a fair and consistent manner, homeowners may be left with few options. In some extreme cases, it might be possible to sue the HOA for selective enforcement, but it is not recommended.

The most sensible course of action is to talk directly with the leaders of the board and discuss the problem. If they are competent in what they do, they should know how to tackle a problem by listening and addressing the issue from all perspectives. 

Another idea worth considering is to encourage more active participation from homeowners. This could create opportunities for people to voice their wishes and concerns at HOA meetings. 

If an issue is serious, there may be a need for some negotiation. Make sure you gather evidence and can clearly articulate what you want. If you think that the leaders might have broken HOA rules with selective enforcement, remember that it's illegal for board members to give preferential treatment or ignore violations of certain homeowners. 

Final Thoughts

The board of a homeowners association is responsible for representing all homeowners and ensuring that their rights are upheld. When board members fail to do this, homeowners can take legal action if selective enforcement was involved. However, it is always better to seek out other solutions, such as encouraging more participation from homeowners who also feel that the board is acting inappropriately.

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