Our office frequently gets calls from new board members, who have transitioned to power from developer control, asking variants of the following questions:

  • Homeowners in the association have added fences, repainted doors in different colors, installed above ground pools and sheds without getting approval from the Association.
  • Many of these changes do not appear to meet the standards that are part of the association’s documents. How do we go about enforcing the covenants and rules?

These issues concern the governing documents of the association, typically the Declaration, which establishes an architectural standards committee that is empowered to enforce covenant violations in any community association. However, to understand these issues, one needs to understand the structure of community associations – HOAs and Condominiums. Our office provides comprehensive legal support with respect to all areas of community association law:

  • Covenant, bylaw and rule enforcement
  • Contract and commercial disputes
  • Developer warranty claims
  • Premises liability and insurance defense
  • Collections, bankruptcies and foreclosures
  • Insurance coverage disputes
  • Local government disputes
  • Corporate practice and procedure issues
  • Property rights disputes

What Are Homeowners Associations (HOAs)? Property owners’ associations (POAs), sometimes referred to as homeowners’ associations (HOAs), are created by recording a Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions that subjects a parcel or tract of land, which has generally been subdivided into building lots, to a set of restrictive covenants. The primary purpose of an HOA is to provide maintenance to common areas and protect property values within a community. To raise funds to cover the cost of maintenance projects, the association has the power to collect regular assessments from homeowners following the annual budget. All assessments collected must be used for a service provided.

The Virginia Property Owners Association Act and the Condominium Act went into effect on October 1, 2019, and apply to all homeowners’ associations and condominium associations respectively. Although they went into effect in 2019, they retroactively apply to all community associations that have been established since 1959, for developments, and 1974 for condominiums and horizontal property regimes.

The Virginia Property Owners’ Association Act provides the legal framework with respect to the powers of HOAs, the scope of appropriate disclosures with respect to these powers, and the remedies available to homeowners and HOAs in the event of a dispute. A “Development” under the VA POA “means real property located within the Commonwealth subject to a declaration which contains both lots, at least some of which are residential or are occupied for recreational purposes, and common areas with respect to which any person, by virtue of ownership of a lot, is a member of an association and is obligated to pay assessments provided for in a declaration.”

Similarly, under the Virginia Condominium Act, Va Code 55-79.39 et seq., the   condominium unit is a hybrid interest in real estate, entitling an owner both to the exclusive ownership and possession of a unit and an undivided interest as a tenant in common with other unit owners in the common areas. Under the Virginia Condominium Act, Va Code 55-79.39 et seq, a condominium unit purchaser acquires separate, individual ownership of the interior of a unit, and is allocated an undivided, common ownership in the common elements of the condominium complex.

If you are looking for an experienced HOA/Condominium attorney, contact Fox & Moghul today. Our office regularly handles some of the most complex disputes in this area of the law.

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