When it comes to neighborhood homeowners associations it seems you either love them or hate them. They are supposed to make and enforce rules for communities better, but sometimes the HOA board just doesn’t see eye to eye with the people who live there. Anytime we do an HOA story, we get your comments (or questions) about what’s going on in your neighborhood. Today Amy is answering those questions!
Concrete HOA fence debate
We told you about Katy homeowners in a fight with their HOA over who is responsible for a concrete perimeter wall around their subdivision. The decision on the expensive project is still up in the air.
Viewer Stevie Ray sent in a question of his own about HOA rights.
Question: “When I moved into my gated neighborhood 18 years ago, the section between the curb and sidewalk belonged to the HOA. In that area is an oak tree. Recently, I got a letter that said I needed to trim that oak tree.” Stevie Ray
He wants to know if they can do that and also mentioned it looks like the roots might be messing up the sidewalk.
Answer: Attorney David Kahn represents homeowners against abusive HOA’s. He says in general the answer is “no,” you cannot be made responsible for areas that you do not own. Some HOA’s disagree about this type of thing, so it may depend on your deed restrictions. Kahn says he’s had a couple of cases about sidewalk area disputes and so far, they’ve settled favorably for the homeowner.
HOA board transparency
Question: How do I get answers from my HOA about how they are spending our dues?
Answer: Yes, you have a right to know what the HOA is doing with your money. Kahn explains - there are special statutes that help homeowners get financial information if the HOA refuses. He advises homeowners to be part of a group when they approach the HOA. This makes it more likely to get the information and less likely you’ll face retaliation, which is too often a risk, and - if they must go to court - more likely to win.