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9 issues that often spark HOA legal disputes

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2024 | HOA Law |

If you manage a Utah Homeowners Association (HOA), you may, at some point, encounter complaints from one or more members of the community. It is critical that you be well-versed in the bylaws, policies and rules of conduct that govern your community’s HOA. It is also wise to have a support network in place in case legal issues arise that your board does not feel equipped to handle on their own.  

There are several issues that are often at the heart of an HOA complaint. Each of these issues may affect the quality of life for one or more residents of the community. As an HOA member, your goal should always be to resolve complaints in as fair, swift and economically feasible a fashion as possible. Reaching out for additional legal support is often the key to achieving these goals.  

Most HOA complaints involve these types of legal disputes 

While every case is unique, it’s not uncommon for most HOA complaints to involve one or more of the issues included in the following list:  

  • Alleged HOA board member misconduct
  • Excessive fees
  • Home modification approval
  • Pet policies
  • Holiday decorations
  • Parking issues
  • Perceived overreach of aesthetic controls by HOA
  • Noise ordinances
  • Inconsistent rule enforcement

You may face a complaint regarding one or several of these issues from an individual in the community or a collective group of people who have joined forces to file a complaint. It is best to remain calm, to treat all members of the community respectfully and to rely on HOA bylaws, CC&Rs and other written documents to help resolve the issue.  

Inconsistent rule enforcement breeds discontent among community members 

If your HOA board enforces a rule that prohibits pickup trucks or other specific vehicles from being visible in a driveway, but then overlooks the rule for another member of the community, you shouldn’t be surprised when word spreads and tempers begin to rise among residents. This issue is what’s known as “inconsistent rule enforcement.” Not only does it breed contention among community members, but it is also illegal.  

All members of an HOA community are responsible for reading and abiding by their contracts, and all HOA board members must enforce the rules in an equitable fashion throughout the community. There can be no favoritism, or perhaps even worse, discrimination. If you are faced with a complaint as a Utah HOA board member, you’ll want to rely on experienced guidance and support to help resolve the issue, especially if litigation is needed to achieve a solution.