HOA Blues


Being sued by my HOA. I allowed my son and his wife to live in my home when they fell on hard times from COVID-19. They are under 55 years of age and no one under 55 is allowed to live there under my HOA rules. I didn't know about this rule at the time. The HOA tried to fine my wife and I for letting them live there. I have since moved into the house to avoid this issue, but the HOA has taken us to court and still wants to fine us and collect attorney fees. We cannot afford an attorney as I’m a disabled vet living on SS.I contracted COPD from working at the World Trade Center site. Went to court and the Judge gave us till the 20th of October to answer questions and submit questions to the HOA. I need help on what questions to ask and how and to who I need to submit the questions to. Plus what forms to use and where to get them.


Jim's Reply:

You and many others continue to confirm my belief that I've been wise to avoid purchasing a home in any HOA community. I get an awful lot of email from veterans who run afoul of their HOA rules and regs and those HOA boards can be brutal.

You say you didn't know the HOA rules wouldn't permit your underage son and family to live in your home. That's a real problem. I think you'll have a hard time convincing a court you didn't know.

Every HOA community has very strict rules about who is eligible and under what circumstances any person may use your property. I believe that to be the most common rule of any HOA community and I'll have to assume you signed a binding contract agreeing to that.

Thus, I have no good news for you.

While I empathize with the fix you're in and I deeply appreciate that you've served your country honorably, you need some professional legal help and you'll probably have to pay out of pocket for it.

There aren't any instant breaks or discounts for veterans when you're dealing with civilian problems and your HOA is a civilian problem. If you're a homeowner and your household income is over the federal poverty limit, you'll likely have a challenge ahead of you to find any discounted legal help. Because of the COVID pandemic many agencies that may ordinarily be available to help you aren't.

You need a lawyer to represent you...there's just no getting around that. If you are eligible because of your low income and assets, you can seek help in your community via legal aid programs, law schools that may be nearby and by searching the Stateside Legal site for help in your region. 

If I were you I'd be on the phone right now with local attorneys to choose one who may be willing to help you and also to make fee arrangements. Good luck sir.