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Reasons homeowners' associations sue and how to settle with them

A 2017 Community Associations Institute study revealed that nearly 70 million Americans resided within homeowners, cooperative or condo associations. A 2015 Coalition for Community Housing Policy in the Public Interest study revealed that 72% of those who lived in these communities were previously involved in a dispute with them. There are common matters that residents and associations fight over. There are also cost-effective ways of settling them.

Home or condo owners are often accused of violating parking rules, making unapproved modifications to their homes and not making timely association payments. Their bylaws often allow for residents to be assessed fines for violating covenants. If they don't pay, then they may be sued.

One of the worst things that you can do as a homeowner is to receive a letter notifying you of a community violation and to ignore it. You should call to schedule an in-person meeting immediately after you receive such a notification instead. Once there, you should explain your actions (or lack thereof). You should let them know that you're sorry and that you'll make sure not to repeat the mistake.

If the rule that you're being accused of having violated doesn't exist in the bylaws, then you should request that they put the violation in writing. You should make sure that any responses that you provide are in writing as well.

The best thing that you can hope for if you violate community rules is that they'll accept your apology and allow you to move on. If they don't seem willing to do so, then you may want to consult with a real estate litigation attorney. They may be able to negotiate a deal with them on your behalf.

You should keep in mind that it's in both your and the community association's best interests not to allow a relatively minor dispute get out of hand. If either of you makes too large of a fuss about the situation and end up in court, then things are liable to get costly for both of you.

Florida homeowners open themselves up to being sued or having their homes foreclosed on if they don't resolve lingering rules violations and other issues with their community associations. The best thing you can do is to address matters as soon as they arise. A real estate litigation attorney can work to help you keep things from spiraling out of control.

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