Steps To Fight Your HOA In Texas
THE ULTIMATE HOA GUIDE
Love Investors and the National Homeowners Advocate Group have partnered to serve as resources when “fighting your HOA” due to unethical HOA Board members and property management. We would also like to stress that your situation is not necessarily about the “fight”, but more so being EMPOWERED by knowing your HOA rights in Texas. Please use this page as a guide to take small action steps to fight your HOA in Texas. Here you will be directed to the proper agencies to report corruption or fraud. You’ll also have the option to receive letter templates to use for formal requests, disputes, and complaints with your HOA Board, its property manager/debt collector, attorney, or representatives. Love Investors, the National Homeowners Advocate Group, nor their representatives are attorneys. Please always seek professional legal advice as needed. Then get a 2nd and 3rd opinion, maybe even a 4th. 🙂
Why was this resource page created for you? Catch up from the beginning here…
It can be stated with confidence that this page is truly THE ULTIMATE HOA GUIDE to fight your Texas HOA…providing clear action steps, resources, and documents that you won’t find ANYWHERE else.
- When to replace HOA board members and property management
- Important Tips to protect your Texas HOA rights
- Mitigation before litigation
- Expose the bad characters
- Letter templates for correspondence with your Association
When to replace Bully HOA Board Members & Corrupt Property Management?
- Are requests for records denied?
- Are fines being assessed discriminantly?
- Are deceptive debt collection practices used?
- Are you legally annexed to an Homeowner Association?
- Are maintenance/repair requests or questions ignored?
- Are unlawful HOA liens being placed on homeowners’ properties?
- Are HOA owners’ rights to due process and records denied unjustly?
- Are you getting your annual financial reports at your annual meeting?
- Have community laws and/or rules been amended without proper notice or a required Association vote?
- Did your property manager not disclose that 1 attorney represents both them and your association, thereby creating a potential conflict of interest?
- Landlords, are your tenants breaking or not renewing leases because of perceived harassment from Board members or property management?
- Is the association fee you are sending in being applied to your association fees or other charges such as attorney fees, fines or interests? Is the association fee you are sending in being returned to you because you did not add attorney fees to it?
- How long has your HOA board members been on the board? Is it time for them to be removed and do your By-Laws have the tenure schedule incorporated into the By-Laws?
- Are there special assessments charged to your community to pay for the board’s and property manager’s incompetence? Ex. HOA Board pursues legal action based on anything other than what laws allow? Or a lawsuit is brought against your community because the board disregarded the laws it’s governed by.
- Are you getting an HOA check at the end of the year for any overage paid in assessment fees or are your assessment fees lowered for next year due to enough funds in the treasury to take care of HOA expenses for the upcoming year?
- Is your community small enough that you can self-manage and not have a management company or a legal firm that is causing your community to pay higher assessment fees? In other words, do you know if your HOA is looking at ways to lower costs?
- There are other ways to collect assessment fees other than foreclosure…is your community looking into other options such as placing the lien on the credit report until paid instead of foreclosing on one’s homestead which cost the members more to process?
Important Tips To Protect Your Texas HOA Rights
- OPEN ALL MAIL WHEN RECEIVED & DOCUMENT & SAVE ALL letters, emails, text messages, faxes including send receipts, photos, video, and audio. THIS CANNOT BE STRESSED ENOUGH!!! Always note who you speak to & when. Take photos and videos of possible mismanagement, poor service, or fraud. Where legal, record phone calls and conversations…EVEN CHANCE ENCOUNTERS. Texas is a “one-party consent” state, meaning only ONE party in a recorded conversation has to consent. Please check the applicable laws of the state you’re calling to.
- Know what your Texas HOA rights are by law! If you don’t have copies of the Association governing documents…Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R’s), Bylaws, and Rules & Regulations…REQUEST THEM FROM YOUR ASSOCIATION NOW! Read them along with the Texas Property Codes and try to get at least a basic understanding. The Texas Condominium Act Ch. 81 & Texas Uniform Condominium Act (TUCA) Ch. 82 applies to condo associations. The Texas Residential Property Owners Protection Act Ch. 209 applies to single family residences. The Construction and Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants Ch. 202 applies to ALL associations. And by the way, the Texas Property Code supersedes HOA docs.
- Get familiar with debt collection laws. Your Texas debt collection rights, the Texas Debt Collection, Texas Third Party Collections, and Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) spell out Do’s and Don’ts for debt collectors. (*Regarding the courts ruling HOA property managers to be debt collectors, case law is limited. This is all the more reason to challenge in court.)
- Join the National Homeowners Advocate Group as there is power in numbers! This group is putting in the time, energy and resources to help you find your voice when faced with unethical HOA boards, property management companies and law firms.
Mitigation Before Litigation
One of the dirty tactics most used by HOA boards and property managers is to totally disregard your requests and questions until you give up. And some are so corrupt, they will target you for standing up to them. If you feel you have been harmed by an unfair HOA board or property management company, your choices are to 1) accept their dirty deeds OR 2) fight for your rights. What say you???
- In an effort to mitigate damages…loss of homeowner rights, loss of rental income, loss of property VALUE, OR loss of property, use EVERY avenue to make contact with your HOA board. When writing your HOA board, ALWAYS send mail CERTIFIED with return receipt requested. In addition, send duplicates to available email addresses and fax numbers.
- If your phone calls are not being answered or voicemails not returned from your property management, there is a possibility that calls from your phone number are being ignored or blocked. Call from a DIFFERENT number. Check out free service with Google Voice or apps for your mobile phone to add an additional line.
- Property management will insist that all communication go through them and some even threaten fines if you contact board members directly but if the property manager is unresponsive after repeated attempts, TAKE CONTROL OF THE SITUATION. If you don’t know your board members’ names and/or addresses, request the info from property management, ask neighbors and/or check public records like your county appraisal district website and free websites like Fast People Search.
- Under the authority of a municipality’s Code Compliance, some issues can be resolved with enforcement of local ordinances. If your HOA board or property manager fails to address safety issues in your community (such as fire hazards and unsafe building conditions) OR chooses not to enforce HOA rules regarding dangerous structures, nuisance vehicles, and high grass/weeds, report violations to your city’s code enforcement department.
- Talk to your neighbors and continue the conversations with the Nextdoor app or Facebook groups. Ask lots of questions and make statements based on facts only. Chances are, you are NOT THE FIRST or only homeowner to experience HOA abuse of power by your Board members.
- Create a website to easily update other owners on the happenings in your HOA. Check out free site builders like Wix that have templates to make the creation process easier. Here is an excellent example of a site created by homeowners who are fighting for their HOA rights to bring MUCH NEEDED change to their community.
- If your fellow association members have also had bad experiences with the HOA board, property management company, or individual members/agents, start a petition to have homeowners complaints addressed as a collective. Here’s a “how to” guide to get started.
- Show up to your HOA meetings, let your voice be heard, and VOTE. Your engagement with fellow homeowners will inspire others to become more active in serving the community and even replace ill-intentioned, self-serving board members with ones who will protect homeowner rights and speak out against corrupt property management. If you cannot attend the HOA meetings, vote by absentee ballot or VOTE BY PROXY!
- Be aware of tips to prevent HOA election fraud and make proposals to your association board and homeowners to ensure election integrity.
- Petition the board to terminate an unethical or incompetent HOA property manager.
- Do you have a pending HOA foreclosure that you need to stop? Filing for bankruptcy will TEMPORARILY stop the sell of your property. Check out this resource on how to KEEP your home after bankruptcy.
- In the unfortunate event that your primary residence is foreclosed by your HOA, the buyer will also need to satisfy superior debts such as property taxes and other liens, including mortgage, that were recorded BEFORE the HOA lien. Here is a breakdown of lien priorities.
- *After an HOA foreclosure of your primary residence, you have 90 OR 180 days to redeem or buy back your property. Learn about your redemption rights. Condo owners go to Texas Property Code 82.113(g). Single family residence owners go to Texas Property Code 209.011. And go here to see what happens before and during a foreclosure sale.
- Love Investors can assist during your redemption period as well.
- If you have exhausted all efforts to resolve any HOA dispute, “a homeowner has the right to sue the HOA for breach of its fiduciary duties.“
- To get clarity on your HOA rights & AVOID missteps, ALWAYS seek legal counsel & ALWAYS GET MORE THAN 1 OPINION!!! For extremely affordable legal advice, consult with a LegalShield attorney.
- Small claims court is the venue to resolve many types of HOA issues. File your case in the justice of the peace court “for the recovery of money, damages, civil penalties, personal property, or other relief allowed by law” (Rule 500.3a). Here’s some guidance on how to present your case.
- Do you need an attorney to protect your property or homeowner rights against unlawful action by your HOA Board or property manager??? For tips on how to hire a Texas HOA attorney and referral info, go here...
Expose & Report The Bad Characters
If you have been affected unjustly by rogue board members or property management, this should be a driving force for you to take action to push for change in your local Texas HOA association and statewide.
- WRITE REVIEWS!!! Sharing honest and factual experiences can be one of the easiest ways to warn other unsuspecting consumers. Even if you prefer to provide a rating without comment, it is still helpful! Three of the top review sites are: 1) Yelp – this is a customer friendly site and reviews are more likely to “stick”. 2) Google – this site caters more to businesses and gives them more control in removing unfavorable feedback, even if valid. 3) Better Business Bureau – is a neutral platform and gives both parties the opportunity to respond to complaints and rebuttals before posting them to its website..
- Document and FILE REPORTS OF TRESPASS, white-collar crime, fraud and embezzlement with your local police department, district attorney, Texas State Attorney General and local FBI “white-collar” crime division.
- Report possible Texas insurance fraud. For example, has your Association or HOA property manager collected insurance proceeds from a master policy but failed to repair/replace damaged property?
- Petition the board to terminate an attorney firm who acts in property management’s interests before the association’s. This could be a clear sign of conflict of interest.
- If you feel your Association’s attorney has acted unethically, go here to read the Texas Attorney Complaint Information brochure and file a formal complaint against them.
- Document violations of debt collection laws and report abusive debt collections to the Texas State Attorney General and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Here’s a good article to check out.
- Write to and file a Complaint Investigation through your Texas state Representative or Senator because their office gets better cooperation and has more clout. Let your HOA testimony be heard by testifying in Austin during legislative sessions as this is how laws are changed. Harvella Jones, President of the National Homeowners Advocate Group, says “Right now we need oversight so that we don’t have to file our grievances with the court and waste time, money and energy fighting a corrupt judicial system. A lot of us are pro se litigants and cannot afford an attorney or find a good one as they are scarce and far between. It would also help if the Texas Attorney General is given more power to handle our HOA issues.”
- Unfortunately, “no state agency REGULATES home or property owners’ associations.” but property management fraud and violations should be reported to city, county and state agencies who LICENSE and BOND them. Go to the managing companies website (if there is one) to look for their certification. If this info is not present on their website, ask them if they are certified with any agency. One major certification agency is the Community Association Institute (CAI) and if its proven that a member has violated its code of ethics, his/her credentials are revoked.
- If a board member is in a public position or a civil servant (ex. firefighter), submit a complaint to the individual’s employer.
- Share your experience with local news stations, newspapers and on social media.
Letter Template Packet
Do you need letter templates to correspond with your Association regarding your Texas HOA issue? Below is a list of EXTREMELY THOROUGH letters you won’t find on any other website giving tips on how to fight your HOA in Texas. For those who support our Mission of protecting homeowner rights, we’ve crafted these ORIGINAL documents to let your Association know that you mean BUSINESS.
- Records Request
- Hearing/Appeal Request
- Election/Voting Integrity (coming)
- Third Party Authorization – Consent
- Debt Verification to HOA Board of Directors
- Debt Verification to HOA Debt Collector
- Notice of Unlawful Actions by HOA-Property Manager
- Final Notice Before Litigation
We hope you have found this info useful! Homeowners, please use the HOA Assistance form below for further assistance with your HOA issue. *Tenants, please review your community rules & regulations and forward your complaints to the individual or entity you have a leasing agreement with.