For all the pain points that a homeowners' association (HOA) might alleviate, disputes can arise when residents and the association disagree. In these situations, it can be wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible as there are numerous benefits to resolving the matter quickly.
One situation in another state illustrates the various consequences of failing to reach a timely agreement. That case, which can be read in detail in this article, involves a couple who recently purchased their home and an HOA which refused to mitigate their concerns over a noisy access gate.
The dispute has gone on for well over a year and is still making its way through the court system. It illustrates some of the main problems that occur when a dispute drags on.
- Lengthy legal battles can be costly. In this case, the couple has spent thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to get the HOA to act. On the other side, the HOA missed out on an offer to split the cost of construction with the couple when it failed to respond to their complaints. It could also be liable for damages, should the court rule in favor of the couple.
- They can disrupt people's lives. Fights with an HOA can be stressful and affect people's enjoyment of their home. In the case with the noisy gate, the couple says they have even delayed starting a family out of concerns that the sound would be too disruptive for a baby.
- They can strain community relationships. In cases where multiple residents have an issue with the HOA, there can be a sense of solidarity and support. However, when it is only one resident in a battle with the association, that person can be ostracized by the others. This is especially true when a dispute lingers on.
Some HOA disputes cannot be resolved easily or quickly. However, it can be beneficial to make a concerted effort from the beginning to identify a swift resolution. As such, Florida residents who are involved in an argument with an HOA would be wise to consult an attorney as soon as possible. You do not need to wait for an issue to escalate. Also,note that Florida does have some mediation and arbitration alternatives.