Dealing with Homeowner Association Issues in the Lower Keys

Practically everyone has heard horror stories about homeowners’ associations and as the saying goes, it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the reputation of all the other apples. However, these stories represent only a small percentage of all the associations in the country. Still, it’s enough to make a homebuyer wonder whether or not to purchase a property governed by it’s own bylaws

Of course, there are some big advantages, such as having little to no maintenance, being able to enjoy resort style amenities, and, the fact your neighbor can’t devalue your property. On the other side, you too, have to live by the association rules; and, in some instances, the association itself can become a problem. If something does go awry, it’s essential to know what to do.

Taking Precautions

One of the ways to avoid potential problems is to abide by the board’s rules. Acting in accordance with the bylaws instead of trying to get around them or have them redefined will save you a lot of time and frustration. Another sage piece of advice, although obvious, is to pay your dues on time every time.

For those who really want to understand how the entity works, it’s best to become directly involved and get elected to sit on the board. This is a great way to not only learn how it operates, but the challenges it must deal with.

Dealing with Homeowner Association Issues

If an issue does arise, and you find yourself at odds with the board, here are some helpful tips to try and resolve the problem:

  • Understand your rights. Just because you are subject to them doesn’t mean you have no rights as a property owner. Read over the governing documents and get in the know about state laws about HOAs.
  • Be respectful. Making threats and spewing angry rhetoric won’t serve you well, attract more flies with honey and mind your manners.
  • Be patient with the process. An unfortunate reality of homeowners associations is they, like the court system, move at a slow pace. Understand that and you’ll save yourself a lot of stress.
  • Think outside the box. Instead of trying to argue against a rule, lobby to have it changed among the board members and community.
  • Pay any fines. If you don’t pay these, you are not only racking-up fees, but are leading your way into a foreclosure action.
  • Keep records. Don’t let anything go undocumented.
  • Try alternative dispute resolution. Venues such as mediation can work wonders if you and the HOA can’t come to an agreement.
  • Seek legal counsel. If the problem can’t be resolved, then speak with an attorney.
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