In the News

Unhappy Trails for HOA and Local Equestrian at Land Use Impasse

A Santa Fe homeowners association hopes that mediation will lead to a settlement that would exclude horse riders from using the association’s network of trails. A local ranch owner who has used the trails for 25 years—long before the community was built—is arguing that a so-called “word of mouth” prescriptive easement from a county official allowed her to ride in the area regardless of future development.

Board Member Accused of Racial Profiling After Asking to See Resident’s ID

A white man who challenged a black family’s use of a gated pool in a North Carolina planned community resigned from the homeowner’s association board. After the board member, who also was the community pool chairman, asked a mother and her son to produce identification verifying that they were residents of the community, a verbal altercation began. The board member called the police, who diffused the situation.

Members Sue New York Association for Religious Discrimination

A New York community association is facing a discrimination lawsuit brought in federal court by Jewish members of the community who say that the association is hostile to their religious practices. According to the members, the association has adopted rules that are “expressly designed to harass Hasidic Jews.”

New Association Board Demands Removal of Playground Equipment

A family who has installed a playground in the backyard of their home in a planned community is embroiled in a fight with the association over the structure, which was installed as a gift for their daughter who had a kidney transplant and will be returning home soon. The family moved to the community to be closer to medical care.

Association Hatches Plan for Removing Pet Chickens from Community

A Michigan family has been told by their homeowners association that they can’t raise chickens at their home in a planned community. In a letter to the family, the association demanded that the family comply with “applicable covenants” and remove the chickens they were keeping in their backyard as pets. But a lawyer for the family clarified that there was no regulation in the homeowners’ association rules prohibiting them from keeping chickens. However, the association changed its bylaws shortly thereafter; its rules now prohibit chickens.

Homeowners Concerned After $20M Jury Verdict for Playground Tragedy

A homeowners association in Las Vegas is facing not just a staggering jury verdict in favor of the family of a teenager who was injured by playground equipment in the community, but also questions from confused members, some of whom feel misled.

In 2015, a swing set crossbar in the community’s common area fell on the 15-year-old boy’s head, causing permanent brain damage that will worsen over time. Court records show the association did not have a maintenance and inspection plan on their playground equipment.

Association Avoids Open Dialogue for ‘Open House’ Signage

An Arizona realtor has had to confront a homeowners association for disposing of his “open house” signs advertising properties he has listed for sale in the community. After discovering a worker from the association’s landscaping company driving away with the signs that had apparently been slated for the garbage, the realtor took video footage of their conversation during which the landscaper cited rules that the signs must comply with.

Security Concerns for HOA’s Open-Garage-Door Mandate

A California homeowners association is requiring members to keep their garage doors open most of the day on weekdays. The new rule is in response to the association learning that so-called squatters—people living in a home illegally—were inhabiting the garage of at least one home in the area.

While squatting can present its own problems for an association, members are complaining that the move is putting them at risk in a different way: Security is compromised.

Law That Hastens Foreclosure Causes Controversy

Under current law, Arizona homeowners associations can foreclose on owners if they fail to pay their dues for a year or get behind by $1,200—whichever comes first. A bill introduced by one of Arizona’s Republican senators would allow HOA foreclosures after six months, with no minimum debt, such as the $1,200 figure that applies now.

Fight Over Scenic Neighborhood Photo Shoots Turns Ugly

Neighborhoods that are governed by a homeowners association have a tendency to be attractive and well manicured. After all, that’s a major reason why members pay dues and want to live in such a community. But a photogenic Houston community is trying to block photo shoots from its streets. The association placed signs around the perimeters of the neighborhood advising photographers they could not shoot in the park and esplanades on the property.