If you live in Maryland and you are on the board of a homeowner association, you have certain responsibilities to homeowners and to the community at large. It is important to follow the association’s procedures carefully. Failing to do so or to hold all homeowners to the same standards can jeopardize an association’s ability to maintain the rules and function effectively.
Responsibilities of a HOA
A homeowner needs to maintain all common areas on behalf of homeowners. This may include sidewalks and walkways as well as any buildings that the entire community uses, such as a clubhouse. Another important HOA duty is mediation between homeowners when there is conflict about issues such as noise. A homeowner who is found to be in violation of noise rules could be warned or even fined. These rules can be changed but only if homeowners agree to the change and present a successful petition for changing them to the association.
When conflict occurs
HOAs are also required to manage community funds responsibly as well as keep records of meetings and communicate effectively with homeowners. Ideally, issues with homeowners can be worked out at these meetings, but this is not always possible. While HOAs exist for the benefit of homeowners, there may be times when they come into conflict with homeowners as well, and when this cannot be resolved, sometimes legal action is necessary. Understanding community association law can be helpful, but the law is not always clear or may have changed since the last time the HOA addressed a particular issue.
When HOA members are involved in a dispute with homeowners, they may want to consult an attorney to ensure that they understand their rights and responsibilities as well as how they should proceed in any given situation. Attorneys can also be helpful in forming a HOA or in writing or revising contracts or other documents related to the HOA.