A class-action lawsuit against Solivita Developer Avatar Properties is the most successful homeowner wins lawsuit against HOA. It was a class-action lawsuit between homeowners in Solivita development in Poinciana, Florida, and their HOA, where the Judge ruled in favor of the homeowners and awarded them $34.8 million
Homeowners Association (HOA) can sometimes be a pain in the a*s. The association is however there for the goodness of the whole neighborhood. At least, to ensure that the whole neighborhood is properly managed.
However, HOAs can sometimes be unbearable. When an HOA becomes unbearable, what can the homeowners do? Can they sue the HOA or should they just ignore it?
Even if these homeowners sue the HOA, how possible it is for them to win the case? How many times have you heard that a homeowner wins a lawsuit against HOA?
Success Cases where Homeowners Wins Lawsuit Against their HOA
1. A Class Action Lawsuit Against Solivita Developer Avatar Properties
This lawsuit is one of the most successful homeowner wins lawsuit against HOA case in history. It was a class-action lawsuit between the homeowners in Solivita development in Poinciana, Florida, and their HOA.
The homeowners accused their HOA to have allegedly collected HOA fees improperly from them.
However, on November 2, 2017, Wayne Durden, a Polk County, Florida, Circuit Judge ruled the case in favor of the homeowners and awarded them $34.8 million which is the biggest win ever in any HOA lawsuit ever.
2. The Magnolia Trace Homeowners Association Lawsuit
This was a case that happened in 2006 when a residence in Magnolia Trace painted his sidewalk.
The Magnolia Trace Homeowners Association however sued the resident for painting his sidewalk.
Luckily for the resident and unfortunately for the Magnolia Trace Homeowners Association, the resident won the case.
3. The Pebble Creek Homeowners Association Lawsuit
In January 2002, Pebble Creek Homeowners Association sent out a lawn crew to Retired Police Captain Ed Simmons and his wife Billye’s property to replace sod that had died during a record drought.
Afterward, the Pebble Creek Homeowners Association billed the homeowners for the job done by the lawn crew.
However, Ed Simmons and his wife Billye refused to pay the HOA and when the case was brought to the court, the Judge ruled in favor of Ed Simmons.
The judge agreed that the association did not follow its own governing documents and failed to properly authorize the charge and subsequent lien it had placed on the house.
Moreover, it is important to note that for more that 11 years, this case was in court which cost Ed Simmons and his wife Billye a lot.
In the end, Hillsborough Circuit Judge James Barton granted the couple about $145,000 in damages which were later ruled out as his order was seen to have had a mathematical error. A motion was later filed to correct the error to $85,000.
The point to note from these success stories of homeowner wins lawsuit against HOA is that they did not just win the case because they had good lawyers, rather, they won the cases because they had enough evidence to back up their claims coupled with good lawyers.
How Can a Homeowner Win a Lawsuit Against HOA?
To win a lawsuit against an HOA, the homeowner must:
1. Have Concrete Evidence to Backup their Claims
For a homeowner to win a lawsuit against HOA, the first thing you should do is to have enough evidence to back up your claims. Very important.
You know how strong HOA is and how popular they are. If you don’t have enough evidence to back up your claims, even if you carry the best lawyer in the real estate world, you will still not win the case. The evidence should be something that everyone can see.
Moreover, while having real-life evidence or someone that was there when the whole incident occurred is not a bad idea, it is also important to have other physical evidence such as having receipts or audio/video coverage of the incident.
Having an audio/video coverage of the whole incident will boost the chances you have of winning the case.
For example, if you are suing your HOA for harassment, having someone comes into court to testify on your behalf may not be enough. However, you need audio or video coverage to prove to the court that indeed, your HOA harassed you.
If you paid your HOA fees and you were told that you did not make any payment, as long as you are sure you made the payment to the right place, it’s important to keep the receipts of the payment to back up your claims.
2. Talk to a Real Property Lawyer/Real-Estate Lawyer
Do not sue your HOA without talking to a real property lawyer first. This is as important as having concrete evidence to back up your claims.
There are several law firms that focus on HOA cases such as the National Homeowners Advocate Group based in Texas.
These law firms are very much aware of what homeowners pass through in the hands of their HOAs, so they are there to ensure you get the justice you deserve. They are the best to consult.
The reason why it is important to consult a lawyer that is into HOA is that they know how HOA works. They are also very familiar with the HOA documents, including the Codes Covenants and Restrictions (CCRs).
As a homeowner who owns a building in an area managed by HOA, you need not be reminded of what HOA documents are.
The lawyers you have consulted will look into these documents which include the CCRs for the procedure stipulated to have a chance of winning a lawsuit.
Because the lawyer is very experienced in the area, he or she will look into the HOA documents, look into your case with the evidence you have, and then give you legal advice.
If it is a case that is worth suing for or not, the lawyer will tell you. If it is also something that needs more evidence to ensure winning, he will inform you before taking the matter to the court.
Whenever you hear that a homeowner wins lawsuit against HOA, just know that such homeowner followed the procedures explained in this article. Check out what HOA covers for townhouse here.
The first procedure is to have enough evidence, while the second is to employ a real estate lawyer, or other law firms that enjoy HOA cases, and have them give you legal advice before proceeding with the lawsuit. Once you meet the lawyers, they will take it from there ad tell you what to do.