Legal expenses for many HOAs are a significant dollar amount on the annual budget. In most all instances these legal expenses are for attorney opinions or in connection with collection related activities. While collections related matters are fortunately reimbursable by the member in collections, other legal expenses are generally not reimbursable.
Board members or the board designee often interact with the HOA’s attorney to answer legal questions or provide legal opinions. Occasionally a member of the HOA will ask the board for permission to speak with the HOA’s attorney or even contact the attorney directly to discuss HOA related matters. This member is not contacting the attorney regarding a delinquent account which may be protocol for a delinquent member.
First, the board of directors is under no obligation to allow the membership access to the HOA attorney for non-collection related matters. Second, allowing the member the ability to contact the attorney could potentially cause legal conflicts between the attorney and the member. A legal conflict that could force the attorney to recuse himself from representing the HOA in a future legal matter. Third, and the most impactful is the HOA ends up footing the legal bills for these legal interactions. Even if a member is willing to personally absorb any legal bills, the risk of future legal conflict is too great. There are sufficient attorneys not representing the HOA that a member, if need be, can consult with and pay for any legal guidance.
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