HOA Obligation to Combat Nuisances?

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*Asked & Answeredhoa attorney

AskedIn response to a complaint by a homeowner that her noisy neighbor is causing a nuisance, is her homeowners association obligated to take legal action to remedy the problem?

Answered – Maybe. A homeowners association’s (HOA’s) governing documents often contain use restrictions which prohibit homeowners from conducting activities that unreasonably interfere with other homeowners’ use and enjoyment of their units. However, HOA Boards are granted discretion in determining whether they should take legal action in enforcing such use restrictions. A nuisance which is minor (e.g., only impacts one homeowner) may not ultimately justify the expense the HOA will incur in taking action to remedy the problem. However, a more significant nuisance which impacts multiple homeowners (e.g., constantly throwing loud parties) is likely a situation where the HOA should step in.

That is not to say that an individual homeowner suffering from a minor nuisance is without recourse. HOA governing documents typically contain provisions which permit homeowners to take action themselves to enforce the governing documents. Additionally, unless the governing documents state otherwise, that right is also codified at Civil Code ยง 1354(a).

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Homeowners suffering from nuisances should attend Board meetings to present their case to the Board. While the Board has discretion in determining the propriety of legal action, the homeowner can suggest that the Board employ less serious enforcement measures such as violation notices, imposing fines or suspension of privileges.

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