Homeowner associations are increasingly finding themselves in the middle of legal controversies. The issues are all too familiar. Contract disputes with landscapers, lawsuits from people injured on the common property, fights over the meaning of poorly worded legal documents, actions to enforce rules and regulations, and disagreements over the legality of special assessments and annual meeting procedures are just a few of the types of legal disputes regularly confronting homeowner associations.
While the number of lawsuits in the community association field continues to rise, lawyers continue to be used largely to react to legal problems. In other words, they are brought in after the fact to defend lawsuits or actions already taken by the homeowner association.
We believe there is a better way. Homeowner associations can use their lawyers to try to prevent legal problems from arising. More specifically, the lawyer can be used to evaluate an association’s legal documentation and operations and procedures and make specific recommendations on how areas of legal risk can be reduced.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the benefits of a preventive law approach and explain the types of issues an association should focus on in implementing a preventive law program.