Common Causes of Action Against Texas Homeowners’ Associations
Even when you are confident you are doing everything right and complying with the Texas Uniform Condominium Association Act (Act), lawsuits against Texas homeowners’ associations are more common than you expect. It is understandable that homeowners want to do everything they can to protect their valuable investment, but these claims can get stakeholders and management in big legal trouble. Protect yourself from being sued by becoming familiar with the most common causes of action against Texas HOAs.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Under the Act, all officers and board members of an HOA are designated as fiduciaries of unit owners. Generally, homeowners can bring a claim for breach of fiduciary duty if you engage in acts or omissions that harm their interests, such as violations of:
- The duty of care and making informed, responsible decisions;
- The duty of loyalty, which means avoiding conflicts of interest; and,
- The duty to act within the scope of the fiduciary relationship.
Failure to Enforce Covenant
HOA formation documents are contracts, and they typically include a number of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that the homeowners must observe. The CC&Rs typically involve the use, appearance, and maintenance of the individual units. Examples include rules against parking a boat or RV in driveways, not hanging laundry outside, or installing above-ground pools.
The HOA is responsible for enforcing these rules so that all homeowners benefit. Failure to enforce CC&Rs decreases the value of their property, so they may sue the association for not taking action.
To prove negligence in the context of HOA liability, homeowner must prove that a legal duty exists, the association breached it, and there were damages resulting from the breach. In most formation documents, the HOA is required to properly maintain common areas, giving rise to a legal duty. When the association is careless or lax in doing so, a homeowner may allege negligence. There is some overlap between negligence and other causes of action, which is why a lawsuit against the HOA may plead it in addition to claims for breach or contractual violations.
Consult with a Texas Attorney Regarding Homeowners’ Association Liability
If you are a board member, manager, or otherwise involved with running an HOA, you decrease the potential for costly litigation by working with an experienced attorney. Our lawyers at Campbell & Associates Law Firm, P.C. in can tell you more about your duties under Texas law and common scenarios where a homeowner may allege breach. Please contact our Dallas, TX office with questions or to schedule a consultation.