Residents don’t always agree. At times, those disagreements have to do with disputes over not following the Deed Restrictions or County Laws. So, what should you do?
1. Go talk to your neighbor or invite them over for coffee or a porch ‘sit down’. Even though it may be upsetting to you, try to discuss it in a friendly tone. Remember, your first priority is to resolve the problem and remain good neighbors. If it is a violation of a deed restriction, take them a copy of that document and discuss it with them. If it is a violation of county law, bring documentation of that law to your discussion. Some times your neighbor may be unaware of those rules and laws. If your neighbor has a ‘no trespassing’ or ‘posted’ sign on their property, please respect that and call or ask for permission to enter, first. If the conversation gets confrontational, or you cannot resolve it between the two of you, leave and go to step 2.
2. Talk to your homeowner’s association board member responsible for enforcing the CC&R’s (covenants, conditions, & restrictions). This is usually the architectural chair or vice president. You may be told that there are a number of other residents who have already violated that restriction, but that is not true. In any court hearing, the HOA/POA would have to prove that a very large number of residents violated it, not a handful. If it is a violation of county law (ie.: septic, building code, etc.), contact the county entity responsible for those types of violations. A good place to start is the Polk County permit office (936) 327-6820. If they do not have the answer, they can usually direct you to who may be able to help. If you still do not have it resolved, consider step 3.
3. It may be time for court, but this does not necessarily have to be expensive. In Polk County our justice court will allow you to bring violations of deed restrictions to that system. For us, that would be Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace and the forms & fees can be found here:
You can use this not only for a deed restriction violation of another resident, but also one of non-enforcement by your HOA/POA Board. Per TX attorney Sherry Goldsberry, “Home Owners Associations are typically bound by restrictive covenants, the same as any individual resident, and are usually the ones in charge of enforcing them per the covenant itself. Therefore, an individual can sue a Home Owners Association if it is in violation of a restrictive covenant”. –> Link Per TX attorney Ron Lipman, “Directors in a homeowners’ association have a duty to enforce the restrictions, and a breach of that duty might be a violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act”. –> Link