When your neighbor ignores HOA rules
In the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” the main character covers his house in holiday lights. He strings up so many lights that the effort makes his electrical output meter go bananas and the effect of the lights basically blinds his neighbors. Just like any other American does, the main character of this film has a right to put up holiday lights. But he arguably does not have a right to put up so many that it makes life impossible for his neighbors.
Homeowners’ associations often help to ensure that the choices of any given neighbor in a neighborhood do not unduly burden or inconvenience that individual’s neighbors. In order to foster this broad goal, HOAs typically draft various conditions, covenants, and restrictions that each member is subject to. Oftentimes, these HOA agreements are legally enforceable. So, what does one do when a neighbor breaks such an agreement and makes your living situation unduly frustrating?
Generally, the first step you need to take is to review your HOA’s bylaws. Make sure that your neighbor’s behavior is indeed a violation of the HOA rules. Some neighborhoods and subdivisions have stricter bylaws than others do, so it is important to familiarize yourself with your HOA’s unique language.
Second, you will generally want to give your neighbor notice that you are being impacted by their HOA violation and give that neighbor a reasonable amount of time to remedy the situation. If your neighbor does not remedy the situation, it may be time to approach the HOA and an attorney experienced in real estate law if the situation warrants such action.
This is not intended to be legal advice for any specific situation and the reader should consult their attorney regarding their situation.