If you live in a community that has an HOA, that organization is supposed to add value to your home. Every homeowners’ association has a responsibility to its members to create a safe living environment by enforcing safety regulations within buildings.
If your HOA is intentionally ignoring these safety requirements, you have the right to take action to protect yourself and your family. The first thing you will want to do is document all violations that are being ignored and then use that information to take one or more of the following actions.
Speak to the HOA Manager
In the best-case scenario, the failure of the HOA doesn’t represent intentional malice. Instead, it could just represent ignorance.
Before assuming that the HOA is ignoring problems, you should inform the HOA manager about the safety issues. If the manager wasn’t aware of the problem, your report might be all it takes to get them to take action.
Even if the manager can’t act on their own, by speaking with them, you might be able to get them to support your case in front of the HOA board. Generally, the board trusts the manager and will support their recommendations.
Elect New HOA Members
If the main problem is that the HOA members aren’t doing their job, a possible solution is to elect new members. This works particularly well if there is an upcoming election. Throw your support behind competent new members and convince your neighbors to vote for your candidates.
Often it only takes a few new members to change the nature of the board. Every member of a board is rarely corrupt or incompetent.
Keep in mind that you may need to personally run for a position on the board. That is a pretty hefty responsibility to be taking, so make sure that your cause is worth the effort the position would entail.
If there isn’t an upcoming election, read through your HOA rules to determine whether there is a way to schedule an emergency election or remove someone from the board before their term is complete.
Start Mediation with the Board
Assuming electing new board members isn’t an option, you can try to force the issue with mediation. Many HOA contracts require some form of mediation before you can take more aggressive action.
However, even if mediation isn’t required, it can be a good way to force the HOA board to deal with a problem without permanently burning bridges. Remember that board members are usually your neighbors, and you might find it difficult to live in your home if you have angered them too much.
If you choose mediation, use a professional mediator that both sides agree is acceptable. They will create a safe environment for you and the board to hash out your disagreement.
File a Lawsuit
When all else fails, you can file a lawsuit against your HOA for breach of contract. The evidence you collected at the start of this will be useful if you resort to a lawsuit. Your lawyer can use it to prove that the HOA was willfully ignoring a duty that it had to you.
Once you start a lawsuit, make sure to avoid conversations with anyone on the HOA board. If they want to talk to you for any reason, they can contact you through your attorney. It can be difficult to avoid neighbors, but it is important to winning your lawsuit.
Regardless, before you even consider a lawsuit, if an HOA is ignoring safety requirements in your building in San Diego, CA, you should contact an environmental law attorney at Thompson Injury Law. Reach out today to learn more about your rights.