The dues in my HOA have been increasing exponentially almost every year going from just $300 a month 3 years ago and is now currently at $700 a month!
Our HOA board has consistently violated our CC&Rs which clearly states that they can’t charge dues over a certain amount. The board has justified their decision to raise dues on the basis that our CC&Rs are “outdated” and that the HOA “needs the budget.”
This has been going on for years and years, decades even and I have pointed out this mistake several times. The board feels that they can ignore the CC&Rs because “that’s how every board has done it.”
I successfully ran for the board so that I could help make a change but I have been voted out of my position (largely because of a particularly aggressive board member whose name shall remain unknown). Now I plan to sue the board because that’s the only solution I can think of at this point. I don’t even care if I have to represent myself since I don’t have the money for an attorney anyway.
If your state has a law saying your board can’t increase dues by a certain amount or percentage and your board has violated that, then I think you’ve got a pretty strong case. Best of luck to you, Connor.
It is not unreasonable to think that your CC&R’s may in fact be outdated, especially if it was written a long time ago. I think the problem here is that your board failed to follow proper procedures and instead took a shortcut. If they want to go against the CC&R’s, then they should take the proper steps to amend them first.
I’m not exactly sure what you want to get out of this. What are you suing your board for? Do you want the board to follow the CC&Rs or do you want the HOA to pay back the amount you supposedly overpaid?
I advise against suing your board because it doesn’t really benefit anyone in the end. You will only hurt the HOA and your fellow owners. Even if you win the case, the HOA will probably need to charge special assessments to cover the cost of legal fees and damages owed to you. This will anger everyone else in your community and may even push a few others to follow suit (i.e. take the HOA to small claims court).
If the OP is the only one with complaints and everyone else paid the amount, I don’t see how he has a case. The cost of maintaining an HOA is not the same as it was 40 years ago. A judge could rule in favor of the board and agree that the CCR’s are in fact outdated. It can be argued that the board was simply doing their fiduciary duty of doing what’s in the best interests of the community. You can’t possibly think you can pay for all the community’s expenses and maintain the standard of living you’ve grown accustomed to on a small budget. We’re not in the 80s anymore.
“I think the problem here is that your board failed to follow proper procedures and instead took a shortcut. If they want to go against the CC&R’s, then they should take the proper steps to amend them first.”
I disagree that it is the board’s responsibility to amend the CC&Rs. If homeowners are having problems with the covenants and restrictions, they should initiate the change themselves. Most associations won’t allow amendments without approval from a majority of members.
Have you tried appealing to the state? There should be a department that oversees HOAs to which you could report your experience. You might still decide to sue but it could help your case to show you tried other means of resolution before filing a suit.