Imagine finding your dream home and paying a lot of money to get settled, only to discover that a previously undisclosed issue made the property very difficult to live in. To make matters worse, the problem would be easily resolved if not for the stubborn inaction of the homeowner’s association (HOA).
This has been the nightmare scenario for one Pennsylvania couple who purchased a beautiful, historic home in a Philadelphia neighborhood in August 2016. In a recent news article, the couple claims that an undisclosed noise problem has made it difficult to live in the home and practically impossible to go forward with their plans of having and raising children.
According to the article, the couple’s home is connected to a common-area entrance gate leading to a courtyard in the middle of the property. The noises, echoes and vibrations from the steel gate can be distinctly heard and felt in the couple’s home each time it opens and closes — which happens between 100 and 150 times per day.
The couple has tried to work with the HOA to get the problem resolved, and has even offered to split the costs of making changes to the gate (which would have been relatively inexpensive). Instead, the couple claims, the HOA has been intransigent about recognizing the problem, agreeing to fix it or even letting the couple fix it on their own. The legal bills for both sides have far exceeded the estimated costs of making modifications. Moreover, the couple alleges, they are being ostracized by other members of their neighborhood, who many not know the full story of the dispute with the HOA.
To be sure, there can be great benefits to living in an area controlled by a homeowner’s association. When they work well, HOAs ensure that all residents are comfortable in their homes and that the unique/historic nature of an area remains intact. But when HOAs stop representing the interests of their members, problems like this can easily occur.
If you live in an HOA-controlled area and are involved in a dispute or disagreement, you may not want to wait to contact an experienced real estate lawyer. By obtaining good legal representation early on, you may be able to resolve disputes before they turn into expensive, protracted battles.