Retaining an attorney for your HOA is an important step towards ensuring the health of your community. The complicated relationship between the governing documents, local ordinances, and state laws, means that there are many intricacies that only a professional lawyer can navigate effectively. Having a lawyer that you trust on hand for every situation can keep your HOA board calm and collected during a crisis. They can help handle even smaller issues to promote peace within the association. Here are a few reasons that your HOA should retain an attorney, as well as tips for how to choose the right professional for your community.
Why You Should Retain an Attorney
They Have a Specific Knowledge Base
Although it is possible to have individuals on your board who are experts in HOAs, the more likely scenario is that you will have a group of volunteers who are passionate, but not professionally trained. Navigating the intricate web of Rules and Regulations, CC&Rs, and local laws can be daunting. Hiring a lawyer with a specific knowledge base can take the load off of the shoulders of the board.
A Buffer Between the Board and Residents
Because the board is make up of other residents in the community, it is a great idea to have an attorney to provide a buffer between the board and residents. This helps to keep tensions from become too strong between homeowners in the case of a dispute which promotes a happier community.
Protection from Homeowners
It is important for the HOA to have protection in the event that a homeowner seeks legal action against the homeowner. This is a real possibility which should be anticipated in advance by the association.
Help With Enforcement
It can sometimes be difficult to effectively enforce the rules and regulations of your community. An attorney can help with these enforcement issues as well as with collecting overdue payments.
How to Choose the Right Attorney
Finding an attorney that specializes in assisting homeowners associations can be difficult. Here are a few tips that you can try.
Talk To Your Management Company
Most management companies will have a list of attorneys who will take on HOAs as clients and who specialize in this type of service. Talk to your management company first to see who they recommend.
Search the Local Directory
You can also check the local Community Associations Institute directory to find a list of lawyers in your area who are looking for new clients.
Use Criteria to Narrow Your Search
Once you have found a few candidates, it is time to conduct interviews to determine who best fits your community. When conducting interviews, search for someone who has more than five years of experience in handling disputes within HOAs. The candidate should have a thorough knowledge of the specific financial needs of HOAs as well as the dedication to become a long-standing part of the community.
Finding the right attorney can be difficult, but it is extremely important to find someone who will help keep the peace in your community, protect the association, and be a valuable part of your HOA.