Beneifts to HOAs:

  • Unify community
  • Create thriving community government
  • Effective risk management tool
  • Reduce HOA legal fees
  • Protect community reputation
  • Keep disputes discreet and private
  • Reduce homeowner anger and frustration
  • Make HOA Board service more enjoyable

Many communities throughout the United States get involved in heated and prolonged litigation with their community members. Litigation drains community funds that could otherwise be used to benefit and beautify the community and increase home values. It also increases the community’s insurance premiums. But the toll litigation takes on a community goes beyond financial. It creates division and discord within the community. Litigation often takes two years or more to resolve. So, for two years, the division worsens and deepens. Community members often take to social media to vent their frustrations. It is not uncommon for homeowners to begin to collect signatures in an effort for force a recall election of some or all of the board members. This type of environment can make service as a board member unpleasant and stressful. After all, board members still live, interact and socialize with their neighbors.

Being a board member can be difficult because you have to make decisions for the community and inevitably your decisions are going to be unpopular with some people. You are never going to make everyone happy. The HLS Dispute Resolution program can make serving on the board more enjoyable. For example, if the board makes a decision that is unpopular, the community members have quick and easy access to mediation services. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement they can have the dispute heard by a qualified retired judge. The parties have 60 days to appeal the decision. But if there is no appeal, the parties accept the decision and everyone can move forward knowing they had a fair opportunity to be heard. There is no reason for animosity and division to develop in the community. If the retired judge rules against the HOA, the board can make the adjustment and move forward. If, on the other hand, the HOA board wins, the retired judge can explain the law or the community documents to the homeowner so they have a better understanding of what their responsibilities are when living in an HOA community.

HOA boards often struggle to budget for legal fees because the total amount depends on how aggressive and tenacious homeowners are in pursuing litigation, even if the homeowners claims are not legally sound. A bad lawsuit can cost an HOA $50,000 to $75,000 or more in legal fees. The fees associated with a quick mediation or neutral evaluation will only be a small fraction of the attorney’s fees the HOA Board would otherwise incur in a two year court battle.

Finally, you work hard to maintain the look and feel of your community and you strive to maintain property values. But prolonged litigation in the community can damage the reputation of the community and prospective buyers may steer clear of the community if it is embroiled in nasty disputes. It is in the best interest of the community for disputes to be resolved quickly and efficiently.