Dispute Resolution

Lawsuits, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Preventing Disputes

Are Community Associations Responsible for Lot Erosion?

A Kentucky couple claimed that they shouldn’t have to pay assessments on their two lots because, as a result of erosion, one had “ceased to exist as a recognizable land mass.” The state court of appeals disagreed (Thompson v. Lake Cumberland Resort Cmty. Ass’n). William and Theresa Thompson own two lots in the Lake Cumberland…

Lot Erosion Doesn’t Erode Obligation to Pay Assessments

A Kentucky couple claimed that they shouldn’t have to pay assessments on their two lots because, as a result of erosion, one had “ceased to exist as a recognizable land mass.” The state court of appeals disagreed (Thompson v. Lake Cumberland Resort Cmty. Ass’n*). The Lay of the Land William and Theresa Thompson own two…

Fence Variation Lawsuit Is a Question of Authority

A neighbor’s lawsuit over the construction of a fence that violated CC&R restrictions recently fell flat in Washington state. Although the court found the restrictions ambiguous — never a good situation for your clients — the association was protected by the authority the documents granted the board and the Architectural Control Committee (ACC). The fence…

Court OKs ‘After-the-Fact’ Fence Variance

A neighbor’s lawsuit over the construction of a fence that violated CC&R restrictions recently fell flat in Washington state. Although the court found the restrictions ambiguous — never a good situation for your clients — the association was protected by the authority the documents granted the board and the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) (Mullor v.…

Owner Gambles and Loses with Building Unapproved Outdoor Wall

A recent court ruling in California provides some useful guidance on how you and your clients can deal with those owners who just won’t take no for an answer when it comes to architectural guidelines (Orangecrest Country Community Ass’n v. Burns*). “It’s a very empowering decision,” says Sandra Gottlieb, a founding partner of California community…

Enforcement Overexuberance: Help Your Association Clients Avoid Blowback

Associations are making headlines across the country — and not in a good way. Stories about the overly aggressive pursuit of fines, fees, and foreclosures are going viral on a regular basis. This enforcement overexuberance has many implications for community associations. In July 2022, the Washington Post reported that a Texas couple put their house…

Plat Doesn’t Give Owners Easement Over Adjacent Golf Course: Redevelopment OK’d

The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled that original plat maps depicting a golf course didn’t give an adjacent HOA or its members a right to block redevelopment of the property (Cape Homeowners Ass’n, Inc. v. Southern Destiny, LLC*). This is the third recent case where the court considered whether property owners held easements…

The Risks of Enforcement Overexuberance at Your Community Association

Associations are making headlines across the country — and not in a good way. Stories about the overly aggressive pursuit of fines, fees, and foreclosures are going viral on a regular basis. “You want responsible patrolling to maintain property values,” says Alan Garfinkel, founding partner of Garfinkel Law, a full-service community association law firm in…

What Can Your Association Do When Owners Build Structures That Violate Covenants?

When owners go ahead with new construction that’s prohibited by restrictive covenants, it can leave association boards at a loss. Often, they’re skeptical that a court will go as far as to order the destruction of an offending structure. But a recent case out of Michigan proves otherwise, and our experts say it’s happening in…

Court OKs Demolition of Construction That Violated Covenants

When owners go ahead with new construction that’s prohibited by restrictive covenants, boards can be at a loss. Often, they’re skeptical that a court will order the destruction of an offending structure. A recent case out of Michigan proves otherwise (Sgriccia v. Walsh*). Deconstructing the Case “Lately, there seemingly is a whole undercurrent of people…