Snell & Wilmer's team of attorneys has extensive industry knowledge and experience representing homeowners associations ("HOAs") and their Boards of Directors ("Boards"). Our clients include declarants and associations, including condominiums, planned-units, cooperatives, commercial and mixed-use developments. Our comprehensive representation addresses important issues facing HOAs, no matter the size. These issues include corporate governance, contracts, real estate matters, insurance, construction, assessment collection, dispute resolution and litigation.
Snell & Wilmer attorneys understand the importance of having a solid foundation of governing documents, and how the soundness of that foundation can affect day-to-day HOA operations. Our team of attorneys has experience in reviewing, drafting, amending and interpreting governing documents (e.g., CC&Rs, bylaws, rules and regulations, responsibility matrixes, and articles of incorporation) to ensure that they conform to the requirements of the law, including the Corporate Code and Civil Code. The types of provisions we draft for our clients include:
- Rent restrictions
- Maintenance responsibilities
- Water damage claims
- Election and board governance provisions
- Updated code references
- Dispute resolution procedures
- Election rules
- Architectural rules
- Fine schedules
- Assessment collection rules
Some of the most common issues HOAs face are disputes over responsibility for maintaining or repairing the elements of the community. To resolve this issue, our attorneys have developed a unique method to assist homeowners and associations in identifying who is responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of the elements in their community. This system helps HOAs and their Boards identify the source of responsibility and move forward to assure proper maintenance of common property elements.
At Snell & Wilmer, we appreciate that contracting with vendors is a common occurrence for HOAs and have experience anticipating and navigating the potential pitfalls that can come with these agreements. For example, we assist our clients in contracting for indemnity, insurance and other legal protections benefiting the HOA and its members in these types of agreements. Our attorneys draft, review, negotiate, interpret and enforce many types of vendor contracts and agreements including but not limited to:
- HOA management contracts
- Construction contracts
- Painting contracts
- Patrol service contracts
- Landscape management contracts
- Roofing contracts
- Asphalt/paving contracts
- Plumbing/re-pipe contracts
- Earthquake retrofits
- Elevator maintenance agreements
- Employment agreements
- Landscape maintenance agreements
- Management agreements
- Pet control contracts
- Pool maintenance agreements
HOAs face a range of insurance-related issues that can be straightforward or intricately nuanced. They may need assistance with insurance policy interpretation, coverage analysis, bad faith claims or coverage disputes. Likewise, they may also need assistance in interpreting their governing documents to determine the scope of insurance policies they are required to carry.
Snell & Wilmer's attorneys have extensive experience in addressing the various needs of HOAs relating to insurance. We utilize the resources of our large firm to offer our clients cost-efficient representation for their insurance-related concerns, consulting with attorney team members who focus on insurance matters.
Construction Dispute Resolution
Every member of an HOA is affected by construction. The homes members live in, the private streets, recreational areas, pools, roofs, landscaping and other elements of the common areas are influenced and impacted by construction.
Snell & Wilmer's attorneys have the national reputation, regional strength and local experience to guide HOAs through every step of a construction project - from conception to construction to operation and maintenance. And, because we are intimately familiar with the particulars of HOA operations, we can guide our clients in completing their construction projects.
Unfortunately, sometimes even the best organization and contract preparation cannot prevent a dispute on a construction project. However, involving experienced construction counsel at the earliest opportunity may prevent a minor dispute from becoming a major project impediment. We help our HOA clients craft strategies and unique dispute solutions which can minimize cost and project disruption whenever possible. Our skilled attorneys are seasoned problem solvers who can often recommend methods to minimize disputes and maximize results. These solutions may result in stronger working relationships between the HOA and its contractors, subcontractors and developers, and redirect projects toward the desired conclusion.
Non-construction Dispute Resolution and Litigation
HOAs also can face a variety of legal challenges outside of those related to construction which our attorneys are well equipped to handle. Through skilled representation, negotiation and other non-judicial dispute resolution procedures, our team aims to resolve such issues before they escalate. In the event litigation is necessary, we provide our clients with assertive, responsive, detail-oriented and cost-effective litigation services. We have experience representing our clients in disputes relating to:
- Annexation of additional territories
- Breaches of CC&Rs
- Breaches of fiduciary duties
- Construction defects
- Rules enforcement
- Breach of contract
- Employment law claims
- Disability claims
- Collection matters
- Architectural violations
- Service and emotional support animals
- Smoking and nuisance noise violations
- Embezzlement and fraud actions
- Insurance bad faith
- Property damage claims
- Marijuana laws
- Rental restrictions
- Bankruptcy and insolvency issues
- Assessment disputes
- Lien disputes
In addition to standard legal issues, we also offer guidance on novel legal issues involving HOAs, such as the right to operate a vacation rental and ADA issues.
Board members who serve on an HOA are often surprised to know the scope and seriousness of their responsibilities. To that end, we conduct board training to help board members properly appreciate their responsibilities and effectively make decisions and take actions on behalf of their communities. Our training covers:
- Fiduciary duties and standards of care
- Changes in the law and recent court cases impacting HOA governance
- Financial responsibilities
- Assessments and collection processes
- Enforcement processes
- Industry trends and "best practices"
Why Clients Select Us
Comprehensive, Collaborative Service: With more than 400 attorneys practicing in twelve locations and in over six dozen various practice areas, we have both the broad and deep experience to assist HOAs and their members with the variety of legal needs they may encounter. From construction to board governance and training to contract guidance and dispute resolution, our experienced attorneys can provide the guidance and representation to help facilitate smooth operations.
Knowledgeable and Invested: Our attorneys are invested in the issues that can affect HOAs and frequently publish articles that highlight shifting trends or new or revised regulation affecting the industry.