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Homeowner's Association Lawyer in Wisconsin

Homeowner's Association Lawyer in Wisconsin

There is a fine line between wanting to uphold the value of property in a neighborhood and intruding on property owners' rights. Homeowner responsibilities, however, stem from those rights. Homeowners associations (HOAs) in Wisconsin are set up to manage homeowner rights and responsibilities so that the community can be enjoyed by everyone, but that's not what always happens. Disputes often arise between property owners and the homeowners' association and can become litigious if not handled properly.

At Heritage Law Office, our HOA attorney in Wisconsin is familiar with the complexities around HOAs and homeowners. We can help HOAs make sure their association is established properly and well-designed policies are put into place to avoid common disputes. We work with your interests in mind and use our resources strategically. Contact us today at 414-253-8500 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

HOA and Condominium Legal Services in Wisconsin 

An HOA is a non-profit organization established with the general mission to protect and improve property values for those people living within a community. It does this by enforcing a set of rules and bylaws and is funded by payments from the residents of the community. It typically has a board of directors that oversees its activities.  

There are many advantages to having an HOA as they provide necessary services to the community. These services include:

  • The maintenance of common areas, including pools, gardens, and the community clubhouse
  • Landscaping for common areas
  • Providing social activities which allow members of the community to get to know one another
  • Resolving disputes between property owners

Depending on the needs of a particular community, there may be more services offered by the HOA.

Prevent Lawsuits: Proactively Address Common HOA Issues in Wisconsin

Disputes between HOAs and homeowners can become litigious. Proactively addressing common HOA issues in Wisconsin can help avoid or reduce lawsuits. Here are some of the most common reasons a lawsuit between a homeowner and HOA may arise. 

Failure to Upkeep Common Areas

It is typically the responsibility of the HOA to provide the maintenance needed for any common areas in the community. When they fail to do so, these areas become unkempt and distract from the overall aesthetic of the neighborhood. Property values may even begin to decline. Homeowners become upset and they often sue. This scenario is frequently seen when a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, destroys part of a property, such as a roof of a clubhouse, that the HOA may ultimately be responsible for replacing or repairing. 

Denial of Homeowner Applications

HOAs typically have a process for homeowners to apply to make changes to their property. When the HOA does not approve of those changes, homeowners become upset and they may sue.

Personal Injury

HOAs can become the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit when a resident is injured on property that the HOA is responsible for maintaining. For example, if a resident trips and falls on broken tiles in the clubhouse, and the HOA was aware of the broken tiles but failed to take action to repair them, the HOA may be held responsible for the damages incurred by the resident. 

Pet Disputes

Disputes over pets are another common cause of litigation. For example, some HOAs limit the number of pets a homeowner may have living with them, and owners have been known to sue to increase that number. There are other ways pets cause disputes, from pets being aggressive towards the pets of other owners to pets running free throughout the community. 

Violation of Rules Disagreement

Homeowners are required to abide by the rules and bylaws set by the HOA. When they fail to do so, they may be charged monetary fines. Homeowners may disagree with these fines and file litigation to dispute the assessment. 

Alternatives to HOA Litigation in Wisconsin

No matter the outcome, litigation is never a pleasant experience for either party. To be able to resolve a disagreement without having to go through litigation, the parties may go through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). A knowledgeable real estate attorney in Wisconsin will be able to guide you through ADR.

There are different forms of ADR available in most jurisdictions. The first is mediation, which is a less formal type of ADR. Parties meet with their counsel and they do their best to come to an agreement that both sides are able to consent to. It is a method of negotiation where the parties have control of the outcome. 

Another form of ADR, arbitration, is more formal than mediation. An arbitrator, or a panel of arbitrators, acts as a judge and decides the outcome of the hearing. The decision reached by the arbitrator is binding. 

Why Homeowners' Associations in Wisconsin need an HOA Attorney

An HOA attorney can relieve an HOA's board of directors of a lot of responsibility and stress. An HOA attorney is able to:

  • Ensure the HOA is compliant with local, state, and federal laws and regulations, thus preventing litigation
  • Prepare and amend the rules and bylaws the HOA is required to follow
  • Resolve disputes and, when the need arises, represent the HOA in alternative dispute resolution and court proceedings
  • Draft, review, and/or modify HOA contracts and other governing documents
  • Handle matters related to appointing board members
  • Enforce property restrictions, like sending HOA violation notices, implementing and collecting special assessments, responding to HOA dispute letters, collecting unpaid assessments, pursuing HOA eviction actions, and foreclosing on HOA liens

Differences of opinion between the board of directors often lead to questions and the need for guidance. Perhaps one of the best reasons to have an HOA attorney is because they will be there for you whenever you need clarification on what direction the HOA should move in. 

Contact an HOA Attorney in Wisconsin Today

At Heritage Law Office, our HOA lawyers provide strong advocacy for our community members. If you have questions about HOA law in Wisconsin, we can help you. Contact us today by filling out the online form or calling us at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Homeowner's Association in Wisconsin

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What are the key responsibilities of an HOA in Wisconsin?

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) in Wisconsin are responsible for several key tasks. These include managing and maintaining common areas like pools, gardens, and clubhouses, ensuring the aesthetic appeal of the community is preserved, and providing social activities for community members. They also have the authority to enforce a set of rules and bylaws that residents must follow. Furthermore, HOAs are expected to resolve disputes between property owners effectively.

2. What happens if an HOA fails to upkeep common areas?

The upkeep of common areas is one of the primary responsibilities of an HOA. If the HOA fails to maintain these areas, it may affect the overall aesthetic of the community and could potentially lead to a decrease in property values. In such instances, homeowners may sue the HOA for failing to fulfill its duties.

3. Can a homeowner sue an HOA for denying their property modification application?

Yes, homeowners may choose to sue an HOA if they feel that the denial of their application to make changes to their property was unjust. HOAs usually have an established process for homeowners to apply for property changes. If a homeowner believes their application was unfairly denied, it could lead to a lawsuit.

4. Can an HOA be held responsible for personal injury on its properties?

Yes, an HOA could be held responsible if a resident is injured on property areas maintained by the HOA. For instance, if a resident suffers an injury due to broken tiles in the clubhouse, and the HOA was aware of the condition but did not repair it, the HOA could be held accountable for damages resulting from the injury.

5. How can Heritage Law Office help with HOA issues in Wisconsin?

Heritage Law Office has extensive experience in dealing with the complexities around HOAs and homeowners in Wisconsin. Our attorneys can assist HOAs in ensuring their associations are properly established, and help design effective policies to prevent common disputes. We strive to work with your best interests in mind, deploying our resources strategically to provide the best possible outcome. Contact us today by filling out the online form or calling us at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation.

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For a comprehensive plan that will meet your needs or the needs of a loved one, contact us today. Located in Downtown Milwaukee, we serve Milwaukee County, surrounding communities, and to clients across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and California.