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HOA dispute may result in jail time for homeowner

Some homeowners in California and other states have a love-hate relationship with homeowners' associations. HOAs can help maintain the appearance of a neighborhood, but disputes sometimes escalate and result in long, drawn-out battles. The latter is exactly what's happening with one man who has been having issues with his HOA over a shed on his property. He is now facing the possibility of jail time if he doesn't pay more than $3,000 in attorney fees.

The homeowner dispute involves a man, who is black, who believes his race is behind his HOA issues. He alleges the HOA is enforcing covenants on him but not on white neighbors. The HOA's attorney, who is also black, contends the HOA board did not know of the homeowner's race when he was informed of the violation. HOA violations against the mandate back to 2013 when the homeowner was accused of changing the color of his shutters without getting permission.

In 2017, the man had another problem with the HOA over plans to build a sunroom. While the matter was resolved and construction was permitted to continue, another issue arose when a shed was spotted on the homeowner's property. It turned out that the shed, which has since been removed, belonged to a neighbor. The HOA claims attorney fees are still owned because of the resulting court battle.

Proving discrimination with this type of residential property dispute can sometimes be difficult. With this particular case, the HOA's attorney has said that other homeowners, including ones who are also black, have reported being treated fairly. As for the dispute itself, a lawyer often makes recommendations based on specific covenants and regulations and how they are applied and enforced.

Source: The Greenville News, "Simpsonville man's dispute with HOA may lead to jail time," Angelia Davis, February 1, 2019

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