Home Owner's Association Legal Question

Tuesday of this week, I received a letter from my home owner’s association. It basically said I was in violation of the agreement for not doing an adequate job of keeping my yard up. This was a shock to me as many of my neighbors come to me for yard advice because my yard looks immaculate and they want the same for their’s. I assume the only thing I do that could conceivabley piss someone off enough to complain is use a leaf blower to blow grass clippings off the sidewalk and driveway into the road. I’ve done this for years. One day at 85 degrees in the hot Carolina sun, the clippings decompose and are completely gone. I assume someone must have walked by while they were fresh and complained.

I call the association’s president and he doesn’t know anything about it. He is familiar with my yard and can’t understand why someone would complain. The actual letter was sent out by the associaton’s managment company. He advises I should ask them…and I do. They tell me the letter was sent on behalf of the association board…this is odd because the president I just talked to is obviously on that board.

So, last night I’m walking my dog and notice that several people are out doing yard work. People are mowing their lawns, trimming shrubs, planinting flowers, etc. I walk bye two neighbors, one of which had just got home from work. I hear “letter” and “home owner associaton” and “what did I do?” so I stop and say “I got a letter too.” Turns out, the management company sent out letters to probably 75% of the residents saying they were in violation. They did this without notification from the board or a complaint from a resident.

I’m not a lawyer and have no knowledge of home owner’s association laws. But, it would seem to me likely that telling people they are in violation when they are not would be against the law. Anyone know? All of these letters were sent at the home owner’s association expense…I’d like to see that money refunded. Personally, I think the managment company should be fired. Can I file a complain with the State Attorney General or local DA?

Association boards make mistakes… Attend the next meeting and find out what’s up.

I have a neighbor who has a dog that does not “do his business” outside at all. He’s trained to go on these diaper-type things in bins in on each floor of the townhome. The neighbor got a letter about leaving dog droppings in the grass outside and his dog barking too much.

Obviously, it wasn’t his dog that a neighbor was complaining about. He went to an association meeting and everything was straightened out.

Give 'em a chance first. Probably just a mistake.

Yeah, the management co’s can make mistakes. Mr. Schmeese is the president of our HOA :rolleyes: and yes, people get letters without complaints being filed. That’s part of the management co’s job - to keep tabs on what’s wrong in the neighborhood without people having to register complaints. Don’t forget, the management co. probably handles several subdivisions, so it could be a mistake. If the management co. does not respond to you in a timely manner, then that is the time to find a new management co.


I am seventeen kinds of happy that the house I just bought does not have one of those “home owners associations” in it. It’s just an old-fashioned pre-subdivision neighborhood.

Dogface, they have their goods and bads. Some of my neighbors could use some good home association discipline. On the other hand, I hate Nazis. Don’t tell anyone about my neighbors, though – the house is for sale. And I’m looking to avoid a subdivision myself for the next house. They’re just so… gross. 'Course I grew up rurally, so crowded neighborhoods are gross, too. Don’t get me started on NYC… :slight_smile:

First of all, what is your injury? You’ve received a letter that pissed you off. Did the letter threaten any action against you? Was any action actually taken against you?*

Whether you can file a complaint or take other litigation action is a matter of your state and local laws, and while IAAL, I don’t know what they are. Whether you should is a question that I think I can answer – if all that has happened is that you have been annoyed, of course you shouldn’t take legal action.

Try to get them fired. Complain to the board. But sue? Please.


*You mention the cost of the letters. The homeowners association was injured, not you. (The association is a separate legal entity, even if you have an interest in it - you cannot sue on its behalf, except in very limited circumstances). And the cost of the filing fee in small-claims court is likely to be far higher than the cost of the stamps and envelopes).

I agree with what’s been said so far. It looks like the management company is doing its job. They typically patrol the neighborhood, keeping an eye out for violations, and do what they can to rectify them.

If they send you such a letter, they should tell you exactly what provision(s) of the Covenants, Codes/Conditions, & Restrictions (“CC&Rs”) you’ve allegedly violated. If they don’t tell you in the letter, ask them to tell you which provision(s) you’ve allegedly violated, what the provision(s) say, and what facts they have to show you’re in violation of each provision they cite.