The Association Attorney:
Our community association retains an attorney who specializes in community association law. Attorneys serve associations in several important ways that protect and enhance each member’s assets.
- Provide legal opinions: Advise the board in all matters pertaining to the association.
- Review documents: Review governing documents, rules proposed by the board, and contracts with service providers.
- Educate: Attend meetings to answer questions, explain concepts or documents, and provide information to homeowners or board members.
- Collect delinquent assessments: Write and send routine demand letters, file liens, process foreclosures, litigate if necessary.
- Enforce deed restrictions: Write and send routine demand letters, file lawsuits, litigate if necessary.
- Litigate: For collections, to enforce deed restrictions, to defend the board.
The Association’s Attorney is:
Tom L. Newton, Jr.
Allen, Stein & Durbin, P.C.
Are our Rules Reasonable?
The association has a number of rules and regulations that we ask you to observe so we can all maintain our property values and quality of life. Rules should not be confused with our recorded Covenants and Bylaws which can only be amended by a 2/3 affirmative vote of the entire membership. We always try to be reasonable with our rules by following the guidelines below. If you believe a rule fails the “reasonable” test, let the board know at the next meeting. We’ll consider how we can improve it.
- We make every effort to enforce rules uniformly, taking into account the consequences.
- We think developing rules for the sake of having rules is unnecessary. The association develops rules only if they’re really necessary.
- All our rules are based on proper authority – either our governing documents or state or local law.
- We don’t make rules to limit your activities. We’re trying to ensure that each resident can enjoy the community free from the disruptive or harmful behavior of others.
- We really don’t want to punish anyone. We try to make rules that encourage understanding and compliance.
The Essentials of Due Process:
Inevitably, from time to time, community rules are broken. When this happens, the association informs the residents about the problem and follows what is known as the due process procedure.
Simply stated, this means that the association always notifies residents of alleged violations before taking any action. We send written notice describing the possible rule violation and ask the residents to correct the problem voluntarily by a specific date. These notices also explain any action the association may take if the violation isn’t corrected.
The association understands that things aren’t always as they seem. So, any time we send notices to residents, the board wants to hear the resident’s point of view. We can arrange for residents to meet with the board before imposing any type of penalty. In fact, imposing penalties isn’t the goal at all! It’s more important that residents comply with the association’s rules for the good of everyone in the community. These meetings give residents and the board an opportunity to discuss rule violations informally and arrive at a solution.
Residents of the Community should not expect overnight remedies regarding the failure of some homeowners to cure their Covenant Violations. The following is a “typical scenario” of the “Due Process”:
1. A covenant violation is either spotted during a routine community drive or a homeowner calls and reports a violation to the office. A courtesy letter is always issued on the first occurrence of any violation when not witnessed by the HOA Manager or Board of Directors. This is an attempt to discover possible reasons for the violation; not home due to illness or vacation, unaware of the Covenant, repairs pending insurance claims, etc.
2. Either 10 days or during the next routine drive, if violation persists, a 2nd Notice is issued. In some severe cases, this action is skipped to next step.
3. During the next routine drive, if violation remains and all courtesy letters have been ignored, an official Violation Letter is issued giving homeowner xx number of days to cure and 30-days to request a hearing before the Board of Directors to present their case regarding the cited violation. Regardless of our Bylaws and Covenants, the Texas Property Code statutes take precedent at this point and we must allow 30-days notice before any legal action(s) can be taken. In addition, either the HOA Manager or a Member of the Board of Directors must visually witness the violation before a Violation Letter is issued.
4. If after the required 30-day notice the violation has not been cured, the Board of Directors must vote to take any further action(s). If the Board agrees to take the matter to litigation the HOA will have to pay attorney fees and court costs and attempt to recover these costs from the Homeowner if allowed by law.
To bottom line, most violations can take a minimum of two weeks and if the Homeowner is defiant and the violation goes to litigation can take 3 to 6+ months to be resolved.