Community Associations in the News
Just this week, the family of an autistic child filed a lawsuit in federal district court against their homeowners association in
In Pagosa Springs, the homeowner and association resolved their differences without litigation--after the news story circled the globe and prompted at least two of the board members to change their home telephone numbers to unlisted numbers due to the inundation of calls. The situation in
We don't know all of the facts and circumstances that led to the news coverage of these two associations here in
Communicate. In most cases, the association and homeowner should attempt to discuss their perspectives and resolve their differences before a situation gets to the point that one party files a lawsuit or goes to the local press. Communication does not necessarily dissolve differences, but it may lead to an agreeable outcome that the individual parties could not have imagined on their own.
Designate a Spokesperson. Community associations may benefit from designating a spokesperson for communications with homeowners, legal counsel, and local media. A single voice can serve as a united voice of the association and can help minimize mixed messages that undercut formal decision-making processes. In any case, board members, or architectural committee members, should not each take it upon themselves to negotiate individually with another homeowner who is at odds with a committee or board decision.
Seek Legal Counsel. Lawyers do not always advocate for litigation. While some covenant enforcement actions warrant legal proceedings, other covenant enforcement issues may not carry facts that align sufficiently with the law to support a decision to initiate a lawsuit. Sometimes, a contentious issue does not turn upon strict legal issues but "equity." Effective attorneys can help clients identify the equitable considerations that may influence a court's decision.Of course, some headlines proclaim good news. If your community association recently made the news in a positive light, we would love to hear about the story. If you send us a link to the news story, we will highlight it on our website.