“In those days, doing HOA legal work was pretty easy,” Scheuerman said. “You just dealt with the board or the property manager. You advised them about the rules and covenant enforcement.
“There was not a lot of conflict.”
How things have changed.
Today, Scheuerman represents about 170 HOAs and it’s no longer a quiet little niche legal practice.
“There’s definitely a lot more conflict,” he said. “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in covenant violations.”
He’s not sure why folks who sign contracts agreeing to covenants when they buy their homes then decide not to honor their word.
That's because people don't see HOA convenants -- a real property contrivance -- as contracts. Especially once the developer that drafted them has turned over control of the HOA to the property owners. HOA convenants function more like municipal or county ordinances. No contracts are signed with the city or county; they are the law. And just as some property owners get crosswise with their local governments over ordinances affecting the use or modification of their properties, it also happens in HOAs.
In addition, many property owners don't see HOAs as legitimate governing authorities but instead as an intrusive, overbearing junta of volunteer directors with too much time on their hands aided by managers and attorneys seeking to maximize fee-driven enforcement activities and litigation revenue. Court rulings equating covenants with contracts do nothing to alter this widely held negative perception of HOAs.