HOA Legal Laws

HOA Legal Laws

When disputes arise, HOA boards need legal counsel, ane of the homeowners association rules. Hiring an experienced HOA lawyer safeguards the association from liability.

The recent case involving a North Carolina woman being foreclosed on by her HOA has highlighted the powers that homeowners associations have over their residents. HOAs must comply with state laws that regulate debt collection practices and prohibit discrimination.

Governing Documents

The governing documents of an HOA are the laws that establish how and by whom the community will be run. They usually fall into four categories: Articles of incorporation; bylaws; covenants, conditions and restrictions, or CC&Rs; and rules and regulations.

CC&Rs lay out the HOA’s power of enforcement, procedures for resolving disputes and a number of internal community association rules, including those that govern how property may be used and restrictions on pet ownership, smoking and garbage disposal. These rules are often created by legal professionals and reviewed by government agencies before a community association is formed.These documents are important for a potential home buyer to examine. They must be able to request and receive copies of these documents after a written request.


HOA bylaws provide the specific rules and regulations of an association. These typically cover things like voting and election procedures, membership requirements, how to run meetings, etc. An association’s bylaws are not required to be recorded with the county register of deeds.

Homeowners have a right to question sudden changes in fees and special assessments. They also have the right to ask for a hearing before a decision is made.

An association’s covenants can help protect property values, but a board must make sure to enforce them consistently. Selective enforcement can be challenged as illegal discrimination.


Unless specifically prohibited by the association’s governing documents, homeowners have a right to attend board meetings. They can also request access to financial reports, vendor contracts, board meeting agendas and minutes. However, they should be prepared to pay for copying and postage fees.

In addition to a right to attend, homeowners have a right to be heard when their association takes disciplinary action against them or otherwise questions their actions. For example, a homeowner can challenge the authority to place a lien on their property for unpaid assessments or noncompliance with the CC&Rs.

Similarly, a homeowner can sue the association to recover assessments in district or small claims court (depending on the amount involved). The suit must comply with state and federal law, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and North Carolina’s consumer protection laws.


A homeowners association may have the right to enforce rules on a property by placing a lien on it. This is a process similar to a mortgage foreclosure.

If the HOA board is going to place a lien, it must give proper notice to the owner. In addition, the law requires that a claim of lien not be secured by any fee that does not expressly appear in the association’s declaration. Additionally, the governing documents must provide the owners with a reasonable estimate of the fees for the service, collection, or consultation.

Homeowners also have the right to be heard by a judge before the association can foreclose on their home. This is to ensure fairness and avoid any misunderstandings. They must also have the right to access HOA documents, including financial reports, vendor contracts, and meeting minutes.


The rules and regulations of HOAs are different from those of local law, meaning that local police won’t respond to a homeowner if he or she is breaking the HOA’s own by-laws. Instead, any violation hearings take place in civil court and can result in monetary penalties.

Covenant enforcement is a vital part of keeping an association orderly, and it’s the board’s duty to carry out this responsibility. However, it can be tricky for board members to enforce these covenants without crossing legal boundaries.

It’s also important to note that, by law, all board members must carry Director and Officer’s insurance. This can protect them against claims of wrongful conduct while serving on the board. The governing documents of any HOA should also include indemnification provisions.

How to Fix a Leaking Toilet

How to Fix a Leaking ToiletA constantly running toilet isn’t just annoying—it wastes water and adds to your utility bill. Shut off the water supply valve and drain the toilet tank and bowl.Plumbers | MJFRICK teaches how to work in a bathroom, and why I require the use of rubber gloves and eye protection.This is especially true if you are trying to fix a bathroom leak.1. Check the Water LevelIf your toilet bowl doesn’t fill properly, it could be caused by a number of problems, but the first thing to check is whether or not your water level is too low. To do this, remove the tank lid and set it aside on a stable surface. Be careful, since most toilet tank lids are made of ceramic and can break easily.Depending on your toilet, you may have a line printed or etched on the inside of the tank that indicates where the water should be. If not, you can usually determine the correct water level by examining the float arm or float height.Some metal or plastic float arms have a release clip that can be squeezed to raise or lower the float. Others have an adjustment dial at the top of the float that can be turned clockwise to raise the water level or counterclockwise to lower it.2. Check the Fill ValveIf the tank is leaking but your flapper or tank ball are okay, it could be that your fill valve is faulty. Like the float arm, it’s responsible for refilling the toilet between flushes to keep water levels in the bowl consistent.To check for a broken fill valve, shut off your toilet’s water supply using the isolation valve on the water line. Then, remove the lid and drain what little water is in there by putting it in a bucket (if you don’t have a bucket, use the sink’s overflow tube).Next, unscrew and remove your old fill valve, making sure to disconnect the fill tube from the float arm or float column (depending on your model). Turn the screw that connects the water line to the new fill valve counterclockwise until it’s tight enough to hear a click or snap. This ensures it won’t leak in the future. You may also need to shorten the tube that attaches to the overflow tube if it’s too long—it should make a smooth bend without any kinks in it when connected to the valve nipple.3. Check the FloatYour toilet’s float, a plastic ball attached to an arm at the top of the fill valve, determines how much water the tank retains. If the float is too high, it can prevent the fill valve from shutting off. This can cause the flush valve to stay on, resulting in a constant flow of water from the tank into your toilet bowl.Fortunately, this problem is easy to fix. First, examine your float to make sure it’s not broken or leaking. If the float is too low, lower it by pinching a release clip on the cylinder. Some floats have an adjustment dial near the top of the rod that connects to the fill valve; raising this dial will raise your float’s height.If your float isn’t adjusting correctly, check the screw on top of the fill valve. Turning this screw clockwise will raise the float’s height, and counterclockwise will lower it. If the float doesn’t seem to be working, it may need to be replaced.4. Check the FlapperIf your toilet has a leaky flapper, it could waste hundreds of gallons of water a day. The good news is that fixing it is usually pretty simple.First, shut off your water supply and flush the tank to drain it. Next, disconnect the chain from the handle lever (a small metal bar that runs across the tank). Then remove the flapper from the overflow tube by either unscrewing it or removing the side ears on the overflow tube’s pegs, depending on its design.Before replacing the flapper, you should clean it. Mineral buildup can cause a poor seal and prevent the flapper from sealing correctly. Once you’ve cleaned it, screw in the new flapper and hook its chain to the handle lever. If you’re using a tabbed flapper, make sure the chains are the correct length. Otherwise, the chain may get stuck between the flapper and opening in the handle. It’s best to use factory-made parts when replacing them.https://youtu.be/48BrbtCMbTk