Why Should I Hire An Attorney Who Is Experienced In HOA Matters To Represent Me In My Case?
Like most areas in the law, it’s good to have an attorney that specializes in the area where the client needs help. In Condo & HOA, it’s even more important, given the fact that it’s kind of a stubbed branch or a subtopic of real estate. So there are many real estate practitioners that don’t handle condominium association law or homeowner association law. So you really need to have someone that is familiar with how those associations operate and you need to be familiar with the pre-litigation requirements that are designated by statutes such as arbitration and mediation, in which cases can be arbitrated or mediated and there are also a number of, especially with condominium associations, a number of arbitration decisions. So if you are an attorney who is not familiar with that area, you may not even know where to look to find the answers in order to best represent your client.
It may be something that can be handled without going to a mediation or an arbitration and it may be something that can be worked out with the association, with their board of directors or through their property management company where you get that result without having to litigate which saves time and money but if you are not familiar with those areas. If you are not familiar with how governing documents for condominiums and homeowner’s associations work then you are not going to be able really to represent your client to the standard that the client deserves. One other thing too is that even if an attorney is aware that these documents exist and that these statutes exist, they may and especially if they are billing by the hour, spend a great deal of time researching an issue where an experienced condominium or HOA attorney such as myself would be able to find what they are looking for in the documents in a very short amount of time because you understand that the Declaration of Covenants and Declaration of Condominiums typically are hundreds of pages long.
So if you don’t know where to look, it could cost your client money as well. So, from an experience standpoint and from a monetary standpoint, it’s best if you have someone experienced in condominium and homeowner association law.
Can I Take Legal Action Against My Condominium Association If They Refuse To Perform Maintenance Works Required In My Condo?
That depends. The association could be correct in denying their responsibility for such and where the termination is going to be made is whether or not the problem with the leak or a pipe is a common element or a limited common element or part of the owner’s unit itself. So if it’s a common element, then certainly the association is responsible for it. They are responsible for carrying insurance. So whether or not they want to pay out of pocket or they want to make an insurance claim, then they would be responsible for the leak and for the damages that have occurred because of the leaks in a common area. If, however, it’s within the unit owner’s actual unit then it is the unit owner’s obligations to make repairs and they are kind of stuck with any damages that they have with insurance as well.
In Condominiums, the issue is whether or not condominium owners are required to carry any insurance and that question is a little bit gray. There was an amendment that was passed years ago that took out the requirement that a unit owner is required to carry insurance but the legislature didn’t take all of the perks of the statute out that either explicitly stated or implied that unit owners are required to carry insurance. But getting back to the substance of the question, it would necessarily depend on whose responsibility it is if it’s the common area. If it’s the association’s responsibility, if it’s the unit owner’s problem, if there is a pipe within that unit as defined by the declaration, then the unit owner is responsible.
The other gray area is whether or not if it’s a limited common element. Typically, with limited common elements, the responsibility lies with the homeowner but there are exceptions. There is a case that talks about balconies or railings or awnings that says those are limited common elements and that the association is responsible for those but in most instances, limited common elements are the responsibility of the unit owner as well. So it’s a tricky question and again, that’s where you need someone who is experienced to take a look at the documents and actually find out from whatever expert has found a leak or could find a leak and find out where the source of that is and determine whose obligation it is to repair it and whose obligation it is to pay for any damages that occurred because of the leak.
For more information on Attorneys Experienced In HOA & Condo Matters, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (772) 242-3600 today.
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