Disputes involving HOAs, also known as homeowners’ associations, in Maryland are more common than you realize. No matter what type of community you manage, it’s likely that some people may not get along or object to something happening within your borders. Because of this possibility, you should have a strategy to deal with HOA disputes.
When should HOAs intervene in disputes?
If HOA disputes are of a personal nature, meaning that neighbors have disagreements over dating, child-rearing practices, or anything else of a personal nature, then the argument should remain between the parties and not involve the HOA. Once the dispute escalates to the point that it involves someone’s property, then HOA officials should become involved. Examples of common disputes that may need intervention include:
- Excessive noise from music, parties, or pets
- Unruly children
- Visual nuisances, including overgrown vegetation
- Property maintenance issues
- Unpleasant odors
- Disruptive or illegal behavior
Attempt internal resolution first
Whenever legitimate disputes between HOA members arise, you should attempt to solve them internally through your organization’s board. You should have a specific process for the complaint, as well as a hearing, negotiation, or some other type of resolution process. Review your HOA documents to ensure that you are following a specific process to resolve the dispute.
Can an HOA member sue the association?
In short, yes, they can. Community association litigation can be tricky. To avoid being sued by community members, your board needs to ensure that all association documents are drafted properly.
Obtaining the proper advice for your HOA is also essential. When disputes arise, seek advice on how to go about a possible mediation process to avoid going to court. Following the proper channels can ensure the smoother operation of your properties.