HOA Homefront: Who does the HOA attorney represent?

Q: Does the HOA attorney represent the board or the HOA? If there is a conflict in different CC&Rs sections regarding HOA or homeowner’s responsibility to maintain an item and the HOA attorney is consulted who is their client? — P.G., Huntington Beach.

Q: Can the general counsel of an HOA represent one HOA member against another HOA member on a personal matter, unrelated to the rules, regulations or CC&Rs of that HOA? In doing so, the attorney utilized information and witness testimony from the management company which arguably would not have been available for other community members. — R.S., Rancho Mirage.

A: The HOA attorney represents the HOA, not the board or the president, although the HOA speaks and acts through its board. HOA attorneys should not be simultaneously advising the HOA and individual HOA members, the management company, or any entities doing business with the HOA. The HOA’s lawyer should be able to be completely loyal to the HOA at all times. When the occasional dispute arises between the HOA and its management, the lawyer must only consider the HOA’s interests, even though they know many of their client referrals come from managers. Bluntly, that is where the ethical rubber meets the road, and most reputable companies recognize that and do not hold it against the attorney. Sometimes, if the HOA is sued along with its manager or directors, the HOA’s attorney will defend them along with the HOA. However, aside from those situations, the HOA attorney should only represent and advise the HOA.

Q: Recently our board decided to restate the CCRs and bylaws, and drafts were sent to owners. Management announced that any questions to the attorney were to be submitted four days prior to the ‘town meeting’. Owners would not be allowed to ask any questions or make …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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