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Unexpected bills can trigger bitter HOA disputes

Many California residents pay fees to homeowners associations each month, and they expect this money to be spent wisely. They also expect a certain degree of transparency from their HOAs, and unexpected bills or unannounced fee hikes can lead to bitter disputes and protracted litigation. Matters can become particularly thorny when the costs of improvement projects spiral out of control or work has to be halted due to budgetary constraints.

The Villa Portofino development in San Diego began installing wooden fences seven years ago, but the project was scrapped because of funding issues. Many of the fences that were installed have since fallen into disrepair, and the property's homeowners association has chosen to remedy the problem by installing synthetic wood fences that are better able to withstand long-term exposure to the elements. However, a group ofresidents has voiced displeasure over some of the costs associated with the synthetic fence project.

The residents say that they have not been properly informed about how the project will be completed and how much it will ultimately cost. Some have complained of being charged unreasonable amounts for minor work, and others say that they have not been told when the work will reach their properties. The president of the HOA says that every effort is made to inform residents about the work that will be done to their properties, and he points out that Villa Portofino homeowners overwhelmingly voted to approve the project.

Attorneys with experience in this area may seek to settle HOA disputes amicably whenever possible. Leaving these issues up to the courts can be expensive and provides no guarantee of a successful outcome, and protracted legal battles with neighbors may make day-to-day life more difficult. However, attorneys could argue vigorously on behalf of homeowners if their HOAs act unreasonably or maliciously.

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