Neighborhood disputes over covenant violations are never popular. Boards of directors for homeowners associations are often tasked with enforcing covenants containing restrictions on the use of land within the neighborhood. Sometimes residents fail to read the covenants and understand what they are agreeing to by purchasing property in a neighborhood with use restrictions. Typical HOA boards would rather not file lawsuits against their neighbors. Sometimes an intermediate step is to fine homeowners for not complying with the real estate covenants.
Recent headlines profiled a dispute in a nice Florida neighborhood over the height of planted trees. After the homeowner failed to get approval for planting trees, the HOA board imposed a daily fine of $100 for non-compliance to encourage him to cooperate. Instead, he took it to the media. Who is right? Who is wrong?
In Nebraska, the Legislature recently outlawed liens for HOA fines. LB 442 provides that homeowners’ association fines are not liens that may be enforced pursuant to foreclosure proceedings. However, it would not prevent a homeowners association from suing the homeowner, either to enforce the covenants through a restraining order or injunction, or for money damages to collect the fine. An experienced Omaha HOA attorney at Thompson Law Office can answer questions about LB 442 or other laws affecting Nebraska homeowners associations. Call us at 402-934-0198.
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