The first thing you need to know when an HOA member moves away is that your HOA board needs to prepare for the move in advance, A.K.A. before the new member moves in. If you have no HOA regulations set in place, then you have no legal right to enforce anything on the member who is moving away.
Failure to establish the rules when a home or condo owner moves in, gives you zero legal leverage. Not establishing written and clearly-defined rules are why most HOAs do not win legal battles.
Therefore, it is essential that a new HOA member understand what is expected of them when they move once they sign the new member HOA papers. Board members can work with their property management company to establish a clear set of guidelines for all members.
Common Conflicts Between HOAs & Members Who Move Away
Take note: most conflicts between HOAs & members who are moving little to do with the move and more to do with the relationship between the two entities leading up to the move—specifically, a misunderstanding of the regulations or failed communication.
Although it may be tempting to point the finger at an unruly homeowner, the burden of establishing clear guidelines and ongoing communication falls on your board members. Some issues where your board may fall short include:
● An announcement of board meetings
● Disclosure of financial records
● Disciplinary action procedures
● Serving on the board
● What a homeowner is allowed to put in their yard
● Landscaping issues
● Pet laws
● Moving requirements including any fees or associated costs
What Homeowners Should Expect From the HOA
Upon joining an HOA, homeowners should expect a certain quality of treatment from their association. These expectations are based on rights established in the law, or on basic standards of decency and respect.
Homeowners should expect the following while they are members or when they plan to move away:
● A response to a reasonable inquiry
● Full disclosure of regulations regarding moving away
● A checklist of mover responsibilities and any associated fees or costs
● Notice of disciplinary action and procedure if mover fails to adhere to moving regulations
● Consistent and fair treatment in enforcing the rules when the member moves out
Consulting Legal Counsel for Rule Violations
Before you take serious action against the HOA member who is breaking the rules when moving out, you may want to consult an attorney that has experience working with homeowners associations.
By consulting an attorney, you’ll have a better idea what your legal options and how to proceed with a claim against the homeowner or how to file a lawsuit in court. An attorney may be able to take care of your case on your behalf so that your organization doesn’t have to bear the burden.
Your property management company may also provide some insight. As experts who have experienced these situations time and again, your management company may be able to recommend the do’s and don’ts of handling legal matters with HOA members.
Deal With All Legal Matters Privately
Legal matters between HOAs and members can get downright nasty. Inevitably someone within the organization feels the need to escalate the situation and turn it into a public spectacle. Once this occurs, it doesn’t matter who wins the battle. Your HOAs reputation is scarred, and it will take an uphill climb to repair it.
Regardless of who wins the legal battle, your board’s ability to practice discretion while maintaining the integrity of both side of the disagreement will garner respect from your HOA members and keep your organization’s reputation intact.
Property Management Services in Minneapolis, Minnesota
RowCal is a property management company in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We are committed to helping HOAs and property with all of their accounting and property management needs.
If you would like to know more about the products and services we provide, call us at 651-233-1307. You can also message us on our contact page.