A host of legal issues come up concerning condominiums, townhomes, or other property that involves partial common ownership and governance by a homeowners’ or community association. Whether you are buying, selling, or renting such a property, or are and owner, board member, or developer involved in any sort of dispute involving the property consulting a real estate attorney can help you understand and protect your rights and reach a satisfying resolution.
The ownership structure involved in buying into a community like this offers many advantages, but also comes with many rules. Prospective buyers can expect to have to wade through and make sure they can live under the associations bylaws, rules, and or Covenants, Conditions, & Restrictions (CC&Rs). And disputes can arise in any sort of ownership matter, whether they involve an unexpected special assessment on top of monthly dues, some unit owners’ failure to pay these assessments, unfair actions by the volunteer board, objections to enforcement or a neighbor’s use of common areas, and more.
An experienced homeowners’ association lawyer will be able to analyze your community’s various governing documents, explain the relevant law and how it applies to your situation, and strategize appropriate follow-up actions. If your matter might require litigation, an attorney will be able to offer insight as to local court procedures and the tendencies of prosecutors and judges. As your purchase or sale transaction or legal case moves forward, you’ll want representation you’re confident in.
At Lawyers.com, you’ll find a user-friendly search tool that allows you to tailor results by area of law and geography. You can also search for attorneys by name. Attorney profiles prominently display contact information, list topics of expertise, and show ratings—by both clients and other legal professionals.
Before hiring a lawyer or law firm, make sure to speak directly—preferably in person—to the attorney who will be primarily responsible for handling your homeowners’ association-related matter. Consider bringing to the conversation a list of questions and any documentation relevant to your case. Remember that you don’t need to hire the first lawyer you consult and that, first and foremost, you want a lawyer you trust.
When gathering your thoughts and documents, think about what you’ll want to ask the lawyer. Consider including on your list questions about:
- the lawyer’s experience with transactional matters or cases like yours
- the lawyer’s familiarity with the relevant administrative offices or court system
- who else will work on your case
- attorneys’ fees and other expenses related to the case
- how long the case might take, and
- the lawyer’s initial impressions of your situation and your options.