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 Texas HOA rights. This page will deliver useful info and resources in a manner that is clear and factual. 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 homeowners wanting to protect their rights against abusive Texas HOA’s? 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.
Keep reading for IMPORTANT INFO on:
- When to replace HOA board members and property management
- CRUCIAL TIPS to protect your Texas HOA rights
- Mitigation before Litigation
- When to sue your Texas HOA
- Report HOA Abuse in Texas
- What to do if faced with an HOA Foreclosure in Texas
- Frequently Asked Homeowner Questions (FAQ’s)
- Letter templates for correspondence with your HOA
When to replace Bully HOA Board Members & Corrupt Property Management?
The following are RED FLAGS to consider if your HOA’s board, property manager, or attorney has the community’s best interest in mind:
- Are requests for records denied?
- Are fines being assessed discriminantly?
- Are deceptive debt collection practices used?
- Are maintenance/repair requests or questions ignored?
- Are properties illegally annexed to a Homeowner Association?
- 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?
- Does your property manager have TOTAL CONTROL over your HOA’s bank accounts???
- Have community laws and/or rules been amended without proper notice or a required Association vote?
- Was it disclosed that your HOA’s attorney ALSO represents the HOA’s property manager, 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 property management rejecting homeowner payments…causing additional junk fees and debt collection costs when accounts are transferred to an attorney?
- How long have your HOA board members served 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 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 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?
- 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?
- 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?
CRUCIAL 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 make note of the FIRST and LAST NAME of WHO you communicate with, their title, WHEN you communicate with them, and HOW…phone, email, etc.
- Take photos/videos of physical evidence related to possible mismanagement, negligence, poor contractor/vendor service, waste, and 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 and from.
- Know what your Texas HOA rights are by law! If you don’t have copies of the Association governing documents, REQUEST THEM FROM YOUR ASSOCIATION NOW! Read them along with the Texas Property Codes and try to get at least a basic understanding.
- Declaration of Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R’s)
- Rules & Regulations
- Texas Condominium Act Ch. 81 & Texas Uniform Condominium Act (TUCA) Ch. 82 (applies to condo associations)
- Texas Residential Property Owners Protection Act Ch. 209 (applies to single family residences)
- Construction and Enforcement of Restrictive Covenants Ch. 202 (applies to ALL associations)
- And by the way, the Texas Property Code supersedes ALL HOA docs.
- Get familiar with debt collection laws. Check this out if you’re wondering when your HOA can send your account to collections. Spelling out Do’s & Don’ts for debt collectors are the:
- 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, property managers, and the HOA’s attorney 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 unfairly harmed, your choices are to A) accept their dirty deeds OR B) 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, loss of property, OR loss of the HOA’s funds…use EVERY avenue to make contact with your HOA board, property management, and the HOA’s attorney. ALWAYS send your correspondence by CERTIFIED MAIL with return receipt! In addition, send copies 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. Chances are, you are NOT THE FIRST or only homeowner to experience HOA abuse of power by your Board members. Ask lots of questions and MAKE STATEMENTS BASED ON FACTS, not hearsay or assumptions, to avoid threats of fines and lawsuits for defamation, libel, or slander.
- 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.
- 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.
- If your HOA community is poorly operated and your fellow association members have also had bad experiences with the HOA board or property management company, start a petition to:
- have homeowner’s concerns addressed as a collective
- terminate an unethical or incompetent HOA property manager
- REMOVE CORRUPT or UNCONCERNED DIRECTORS
- And here’s a resource on how to write an HOA petition
- If your HOA decides to switch to a different property management company, get a copy of your account history BEFORE AND AFTER the change-over to catch “gotcha” charges.
- Be patient and civil. Give your HOA Board and property management company a chance to right their wrongs. If you have exhausted all means to resolve your HOA dispute, “a homeowner has the right to sue the HOA for breach of its fiduciary duties.”
When & How To Sue Your Texas HOA???
If you have exhausted ALL efforts to come to a resolution with your HOA, filing a lawsuit may be an option for you.
- 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.
- JUSTICE OF THE PEACE COURTaka Justice Court aka Small Claims Court is the venue to settle many types of HOA issues. Denial of records request is a VERY common complaint which can be remedied in the justice of the peace court per Texas Property Codes 82.1141(m) and 209.005(n). Also regarding property in a subdivision governed by Texas Property Code 209, an owner may bring an action in the justice court against the property owners’ association.
- File your small claims case in JP Court “for the recovery of money, damages, civil penalties, personal property, or other relief allowed by law” (Rule 500.3).
- decide on a trial by judge or jury
- here are the steps in the Texas civil litigation process
- Here’s some guidance on how to present your small claims case.
- DISTRICT COURT can hear other HOA issues that are outside the jurisdiction of JP Court…and sometimes settle matters with a declaratory judgement.
- Here are additional resources…
- Do you need an attorney to fight your Texas HOA and protect your homeowner rights against unlawful action by your HOA Board or property manager??? FOR IMPORTANT TIPS on how to hire a Texas HOA attorney and referral info, go here...
Report HOA Abuse in Texas: Expose & File Claims Against The Bad Characters
Have you been affected unfairly by:
- rogue HOA board members
- corrupt HOA property management
- unjust HOA attorneys
- or shoddy/faulty/fraudulent contractor services at the hands of vendors hired by your HOA or property management???
- *BEFORE allowing an HOA/property management hired contractor begin work on your property, request that your HOA/property management provide proof of the contractor’s license and bond. THEN contact the licensing agency and/or bond company to verify active and valid status.
- Generally, permits are required for work related to new construction, additions, alterations to a building/structure, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, mechanical, demolition, excavation, and tree removal.
- Ensure that proper permits are pulled because if they aren’t…the liability falls on you as the homeowner.
If you have evidence to support allegations of unethical actions by the above 4, this should be a driving force for you to fight for your Texas HOA rights. Make use of the following steps to remedy your situation, and protect your HOA community & home:
- Unfortunately, “no state agency REGULATES home or property owners’ associations.” but violations, improprieties and fraud should be reported to the entities that BOND, LICENSE, CERTIFY & EMPLOY the offending parties.
- Go to the property management’s website, if applicable, and look for their certifications. If this info is not displayed, ask the property manager if they are certified by any agency. One major certification agency is the Community Association Institute (CAI) and if it’s proven that their member has violated its code of ethics, their credentials are revoked.
- Document and FILE FORMAL WRITTEN REPORTS (NOT verbal) of trespass, misconduct, white-collar crime, fraud, embezzlement, and missing/unreleased funds with:
- WRITE ONLINE REVIEWS FOR THE PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, ATTORNEYS, CONTRACTORS, AND VENDORS!!! Sharing honest and factual experiences can be one of the easiest ways to warn other unsuspecting consumers AND put the offending parties on notice. Even if you prefer to provide a rating without comment, THAT IS STILL EFFECTIVE! Three of the top review sites are:
- Yelp – this is a customer friendly site and reviews are more likely to “stick”. If your review is removed, you should receive a notification via email.
- Google – this site caters more to businesses and gives them more control in removing unfavorable feedback, even if valid. WHEN LEAVING GOOGLE REVIEWS, share your experience WITHOUT using OFFENSIVE & DEROGATORY VERBIAGE or CLAIMS OF UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR as these violate Google’s reviews policy and can get your review hidden from public view. A month or so later and without logging into your Google account, check to ensure your review was not hidden.
- Better Business Bureau – is a neutral platform and gives the business and consumer the opportunity to respond and validate claims before posting them to its website.
- Share your experience with local news stations, newspapers and on social media.
- Consider filing a claim against the HOA’s fidelity bond if HOA funds are defrauded due to:
- vendor fraud
- falsified invoices
- unauthorized use of HOA debit or credit cards
- checkout this additional resource on protecting your HOA with a fidelity bond
- Consider filing a claim against an offending 3rd party’s surety bond if
- the property management has embezzled, misappropriated or refuses to release HOA funds
- the contractor/vendor hired by the HOA/property manager has caused you or the HOA community to “sustain losses”
- the property management has embezzled, misappropriated or refuses to release HOA funds
- If your HOA’s board of directors fail the test of fiduciary duty…consider filing a claim against its Directors and Officers (D&O) Insurance.
- OR filing a claim against your HOA’s Errors and Omissions or the property manager’s E&O Insurance could be an option for you.
- Report possible insurance fraud to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) AND the National Insurance Crime Bureau. For example, has your HOA’s 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.
- 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.”
- Sign this petition (coming)
What To Do If Faced With HOA Foreclosure in Texas
- A Texas HOA can foreclose non-judicially without a lawsuit OR judicially requiring a court order:
- Do you have a looming Texas HOA foreclosure that you need to stop? Filing for bankruptcy will IMMEDIATELY STOP the current foreclosure proceeding and TEMPORARILY halt the sell of your property. Check out this resource on how to KEEP your home after bankruptcy.
- In the unfortunate event that your property 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 right of redemption. 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.
- Have you been threatened with an HOA foreclosure in Texas? OR do you need help redeeming your property after if was foreclosed? If so, Love Investors can also help you keep your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How must my HOA serve me with a lawsuit?
- see Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 106 – Method of Service
- see rules regarding “e-serve” methods
- see substituted service
- Can a notice of an HOA lawsuit be taped to my door???
- Yes. See this article on what process servers can and cannot do to notify you.
- What happens if I fail to respond to the lawsuit?
- Your HOA can file for and be awarded a default judgement against you.
- Will Love Investors advocate on my personal behalf? YES, WE CAN:
- customize an action plan for your hearing with the board
- attend, observe, and participate in the hearing remotely via web or phone conference
- use the form below to schedule a consultation
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, available as a packet, to let your Association know that you mean BUSINESS.
- Records Request
- Hearing Request for Violation
- Appeal to Board/ACC/ARC Decision
- Election/Voting Integrity (coming)
- Petition & Step by Step Guide to Remove Directors
- Third Party Authorization – Consent
- Debt Dispute/Verification to HOA Board of Directors
- Debt Dispute/Verification to HOA Debt Collector
- Notice of Unlawful Actions by HOA-Property Manager
- Cease & Desist – Final Notice Before Litigation
We hope you have found this information useful! Homeowners, please use the HOA Assistance Form below for further assistance with your TEXAS HOA issue. Realtors & HOA Directors, your input is welcomed! *Tenants, please review your community rules & regulations and have the property owner to contact us.