Homeowner’s Association Attorney
Our Homeowner’s Association Attorneys Handle a Range of Legal Matters
If you are a representative of a homeowner’s association or are a homeowner-member of the association and have a legal issue, call an experienced homeowner’s association attorney at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess at 206-535-1831 (Seattle) or 253-358-8876 (Tacoma). We provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your issues.
Homeowners’ associations (HOAs) exist to help protect the rights of homeowners in a particular community. However, HOAs often encounter many legal issues that must be handled properly and efficiently. HOA law is very specific and can be complicated, so an HOA in Washington should always have the assistance and advice of a skilled attorney familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to the situation.
Read this guide to learn about HOAs in Washington, HOA legalities, and how our knowledgeable HOA lawyers can help you if you are facing a contentious situation.
Homeowners Associations (HOAs)
Washington law allows developers and groups of real estate homeowners to form neighborhood associations or “homeowners associations.”
In many planned communities, the developer creates an HOA to implement and enforce various rules and regulations. By implementing a blanket set of rules, these HOAs can promote a certain lifestyle for each member within the development and entice potential buyers to buy within the community. Recorded instruments make these covenants court-enforceable, and the covenants generally run with the ownership of a home.
Thus, a homeowner who consents to the formation and affiliation of an association generally binds individuals who later purchase the residence. These associations normally have articles and bylaws which outline their governing structure and establish certain constraints on what a person can or cannot do with his or her home.
While those living in the community are members of the association and enjoy the benefits of the community, each member is bound by the rules and regulations. The HOA and its board members are the enforcing arm of the association and can enforce the governing rules by bringing legal actions against violators. An HOA also has the power to charge violators for actions it has taken against them and can place a lien against the property of a person who fails to pay.
An experienced real estate law firm is needed to provide counsel during these disputes. If you have a homeowner association dispute, call Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess to discuss your rights under the law. With over 100 years of experience, our attorneys are the trusted local experts in all types of real estate law, including HOA issues.
HOAs are created to assure a certain quality of life within a community, preserving the value of the properties and enticing potential buyers. HOAs are responsible for implementing and enforcing certain rules and regulations that all members must adhere to for the good of the group. Recorded documents make these regulations enforceable by law if necessary. Membership in an HOA generally transfers with the sale of the property, making new owners legally bound by the association’s rules and regulations, even though they were not the original members.
HOA regulations can restrict what a homeowner is allowed to do with his home and often contain rules regarding everything from day-to-day maintenance to the types of pets a homeowner may have. Disputes often arise when members are unaware of – or disagree with – the interpretation of certain rules and refuse to comply. This can lead to legal actions by the board of the HOA against the members not in compliance.
Both homeowners and HOA entities may need legal assistance in cases where there are disputes regarding HOA rules and by-laws. The HOA may take legal action against violators and even pursue a lien against the property in some cases. On both sides of the dispute, legal representation is essential if the law is to be upheld.
Types Of Services Our HOA Lawyer Provides
Problems with HOAs range from issues with a board of directors misspending funds to homeowners not paying their dues or following rules. An HOA lawyer can assist homeowners and their associations with numerous issues, including the following:
Our Seattle HOA Lawyer Can Help Draft Legal Documents
HOAs require numerous documents. To make sure documents are legally binding and enforceable, you should always enlist the help of an attorney to draft and negotiate them. Documents include:
- Association bylaws – These describe how the association is run, how the board of directors will be constructed, the voting rights and procedures, and meeting rules. The bylaws may also describe the association’s rights and responsibilities, such as enforcing the rules and regulations and collecting assessments, and procedures for creating the annual budget and determining assessments
- Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) – This is a lengthy document that sets up the general structure of the development, including the common areas owned by the association. The CC&Rs also state the restrictions on homeowners’ properties and the common areas and lays out the rights and responsibilities of owners.
- Restrictions, Rules, and Regulations – HOAs also have separate restrictions and rules that cover specific issues that affect the common good and value of the development. Examples may be parking and fencing restrictions and collecting delinquent HOA fees.
Seattle Homeowner’s Association Attorney Can Help with the Collection of Assessments and Fees
Sometimes an HOA may have a homeowner that refuses to pay their required assessments and fees. If this is the case, an attorney can help an HOA collect assessments and fees by:
- Sending a demand notice with interest and late fee amounts due and consequences if not paid
- Filing lawsuits and getting court judgments
- Placing liens on homes if necessary.
HOA Lawyer Representing the Interests of Homeowners
At times, an HOA will not act in the best interests of all homeowners, such as by paying overly inflated fees to employees or favoring some homeowners over others. HOAs may ask homeowners to do something or keep you from doing something not officially covered in the CC&Rs.
In such cases, homeowners may want to take legal action against the HOA by filing a lawsuit. Additionally, legal action may be necessary if construction defects, or other issues are discovered later. An HOA lawyer can take your case to court to have the unfair rule or practice removed and to ensure legitimate HOA rules are followed.
HOA Lawyer Representing the Interests of Homeowners
The above are only some ways that an experienced Seattle and Tacoma real estate lawyer can assist a homeowner’s association.
Whether you are an HOA manager or a homeowner facing a legal matter, you should never hesitate to call Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess for help as soon as possible. At Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess, our attorneys are well-versed in all aspects of real estate law, including HOA regulations. We have a stellar reputation in Western Washington as an affordable yet effective law firm for many clients needing assistance with real estate legalities. We have helped many HOAs, and their members overcome disputes with favorable outcomes for our clients.
Interested in seeing how we can help you? Call our Seattle office at 206-533-1831 or our Tacoma office at 253-358-8876 today. You can also contact us by filling in this online form. We offer phone consultations.
I highly recommend Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess and if I ever need a lawyer again they will be my first call.
- Jeremy H.
I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate this firm! These guys helped me through one of the most challenging legal situations I’ve faced in my life. Their skill and expertise literally saved my business. I’ve dealt with other counsel in the past but the Dickson firm was by far the most competent and tactful counsel I’ve ever received. I would recommend this group to anyone!
- Keith D.
It’s a pleasure to work with the guys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess. One of the first things that stood out to me was how down to earth and friendly everyone at the firm is. I would definitely recommend them.