Dispute Resolution

Lawsuits, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Preventing Disputes

Association Pays $125,000 to Settle Case Over $500 Fine for Owner’s Allegedly Abusive Behavior

After numerous allegations of abusive behavior, a Chicago condo association imposed a $500 fine on an owner. It led to years of costly litigation, a $125,000 payment to the owner, and a court ruling that could haunt associations for years to come (Boucher v. 111 East Chestnut Street Condominium Ass’n, Inc., Ill. App. June 14,…

Owners’ Individual Security Lighting: Yay or Nay?

The desire for security lighting by owners with security concerns can put associations and boards in a difficult position, especially when their CC&Rs prohibit exterior or high-intensity lighting. What should your clients do when owners request permission to install lights that can be both protective and disruptive? The Balancing Act “Lighting is said to be…

Self-Help Enforcement: When and How?

From fines and suspended use of amenities to liens and lawsuits, community associations have a variety of remedies available when owners violate governing documents. The most controversial, though, may be self-help enforcement. A board's decision to take matters into its own hands can result in in lengthy litigation, liability, bruised feelings, threats, and even violence.…

What Happens When an Owner Refuses To Rehome a Dog That Bites?

In the summer of 2019, an owner in the Parkview at Orion Commons Condominium Association chatted with his neighbor about the owner’s concerns regarding the long grass in the common area behind their properties. The owner and his wife worried that it was hospitable to snakes, rodents, and ticks that might enter their yard where…

When Can an Association Require Removal of a ‘Dangerous’ Dog?

Disputes over pet restrictions in community associations often are among the most contentious — perhaps never more so than when the association goes to court to get an animal removed after a biting incident. A recent case in Michigan illustrates how courts might tackle such disputes and how you can help your clients prepare to…

Boards’ Defamation Lawsuits Meet Mixed Results

When community association boards of directors get frustrated with “bad owners,” some turn to defamation lawsuits to rein them in. But is that an effective strategy? Our experts and two recent court cases — one out of Texas and the other New York — shed some light. Trouble in Texas The Texas case stemmed from…

Florida Court Expands Debt Collection Law to Assessments

A Florida Court of Appeals has rejected its own holding from more than 20 years ago, and the change isn’t good news for community associations and their managers. The court concluded that association assessments are consumer debts under the state law that imposes restrictions on debt collection practices — and therefore allowed a class action…

“Deadbeat” List Lands Association in Class Action Lawsuit

A condominium complex in Florida — and its manager — are facing a class action lawsuit after publishing a so-called “deadbeat” list of owners who were behind on their assessments (Williams v. Salt Springs Resort Ass’n (Fla. App. 2020). The state Court of Appeals that allowed the class action to proceed reversed both a lower…

Court Finds HOA Liable for Familial Discrimination — Before Trial

A federal district court recently found that an HOA’s age-based rules regarding its recreational facilities were so obviously discriminatory that no trial on liability was even necessary. Do your associations know how to avoid getting themselves into a similar position? Brian and Anne Hill bought a single-family home in the 333-unit River Run HOA. They…

Age-Based Rules Spell Trouble for HOAs

A recent case out of Idaho serves as a strong reminder that your clients must tread carefully when devising age-based rules and regulations. (Hill v. River Run Homeowners Ass'n (D. Idaho 2020)). Recreation Rules Brian and Anne Hill bought a single-family home in the 333-unit River Run HOA. They and their children — ages 1,…