Can I Sue My HOA Management Company?

Your HOA management company exists to make life better for residents, to assist the Board of Directors in running the community smoothly, and to preserve property values throughout the Association.

What happens if your management company isn’t living up to these lofty ideals? Are there any measures that homeowners can take to hold their management company accountable? And is it ever possible to take legal action against the HOA management team?

The short answer is that yes, in rare cases, homeowners do have the option of turning their complaint into a full-fledged lawsuit. However, there are a number of preliminary steps that should be exhausted first, with the hope of addressing the dispute without the need to get attorneys involved.

At Kuester Management Group, we have a proven track record of putting homeowner needs first. We are proud to be a leading HOA management company in Charlotte NC and Huntersville NC. We also serve communities in Myrtle Beach SC and provide HOA management in Fort Mill SC. We are happy to offer some tips on resolving disputes with your HOA management company.

When Can Homeowners Sue Their HOA Management Company?

There are a few common reasons why homeowners consider bringing a lawsuit against their HOA management company. Some of these reasons include:

  • Breach of contract.
  • Failure to keep up with property maintenance as per the written agreement.
  • Negligence of grounds and common properties.

If you do seek damages against your HOA management company, the dispute will be litigated in small claims court. Depending on the state you’re in, there will be a limit on how much compensation you can seek, typically capped at $10,000 or so. (In South Carolina it’s $7,500.)

If you do plan to file a suit against your HOA management company, it’s usually best to do so before too much time passes since the initial infraction. Additionally, it is crucial to get a lawyer who has some experience representing tenants or residents against landlords and property management teams.

However, it is also important to note that, due to the small dollar amount of these cases, many attorneys will refuse to take them. It is also worth noting that the success rate of homeowners suing HOA management companies is fairly low. As such, it is usually best to exhaust all other options before attempting legal action.

What are Some Other Ways to Resolve a Dispute with an HOA Management Company?

As you look for ways to resolve an issue you have with your HOA management company, here are a few considerations to keep top-of-mind.

Start with Your Board

Ultimately, it’s not up to owners to maintain relationships with their management company. That job belongs to the Board. If you have evidence that the management company has failed in their duty of care, take it to the Board and request their intervention. It may be a matter of miscommunication, unclear expectations, or something similar. Also note that the Board can dismiss the management company and hire someone else if they concur with your complaints.

Check the Bylaws

Also bear in mind that property owners have many resources in the HOA governing documents. For example, your bylaws may indicate a process for conflict resolution, mediation, or arbitration, not only with other homeowners but with the Board itself or with the management company. It’s always best to check these documents before seeking any kind of legal counsel.

Communicate Early and Often

Communication can also go a long way. If you believe the management team is failing to provide the promised services, or that they are in violation of their contract, send an email letting them know your concerns. Include photographs or other evidence if possible. Maintain all correspondence for your records, as this might be valuable evidence should you take legal action down the road.

Attend HOA Meetings

We also recommend that you participate in HOA meetings to voice concerns and discuss issues with the Board as well as other homeowners. This can provide an opportunity to address grievances and seek resolution collectively, and it also conveys the urgency of the situation to members of the Board.

Choose the Right Procedures for Addressing HOA Conflict

Conflict can happen in any community, and in some cases that might involve the management team. If you’ve experienced issues with HOA management, consider some of these methods for alternative dispute resolution. And if you do end up seeking a small claims court hearing, be sure to get the right legal advice first.

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Bryan Kuester

Bryan Kuester

Bryan is the CEO of Kuester Management Group. He has over 15 years of managing community associations throughout North and South Carolina.

His specialties include Community Association Management - maintenance, budgeting for operational and reserve funding, long-range planning, covenant enforcement, amenity management, onsite management, large scale management.