The questionable role of HOA attorneys

In my view after 13 years dealing with HOA attorneys, and especially those who are members of CAI across the country, they are lawyers first and foremost and not advocates for a cause.  They deal with the laws and statutes and CC&Rs as they are, having had a profound role in their creation.

An advocate fights for a cause, or at least, for justice and fair play against unjust, unfair and illegitimate laws.  He sees a societal wrong and seeks to redress these ills of society.  The HOA attorneys defend private corporations without a moral or ethical perspective, as they insist is the law. They do not concern themselves with the de facto acts of HOAs as private governments.   Therefore, under the CC&Rs contract, concern for individual rights and freedoms, those basic American values, are of little importance.

Over the years I’ve seen attorneys cross the line and act in collusion with the wrong-doing of HOA boards, even advising how “to deal with the new laws” that grant homeowner rights and freedoms.  They have proposed suggestions that are in keeping with the letter of the law while openly unreasonable and designed to give the homeowner a “hard time.”  A prime example, offered by the current president of CAI’s College of Community Association Lawyers (CCAL), in his guidelines[i] on videotaping board HOA meetings, as permitted by Arizona’s ARS 33-1248 and 33-1804. 

I’m sorry, but I must admit that my opening statement above is wrong. The CAI HOA attorneys are indeed advocates, advocates for HOAs under the banner, as stated on CAI’s home web page “Building Better Communities[ii] and “responsible citizenship.” The banner is quite explicit as stated on the Arizona chapter’s web page, “Creating Better Communities Through HOA’s”[iii]  (sic).

When their acts and actions before state legislatures are contrasted with their lofty public relations materials, the average person gets a clear picture of the better America being advocated by CAI attorneys.  It’s an America not based on the basic American values that created this great nation, but on authoritarian private governments permitted to operate outside the protections of the US and state constitutions.  And those protections were established to protect the rights of the people, and not private governments.

In contrast to the intents and purposes of HOA “constitutions,” America took pains in its Constitution to protect individual rights and freedoms:

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.[iv]



[i] Videotaping Board Meetings – “Reasonable Rules” (, April 29, 2011).

[ii]Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2013, CAI provides information and education to community associations and the professionals who support them. Our mission is to inspire professionalism, effective leadership and responsible citizenship. (, July 21, 2013).

[iii] CAI-Central Arizona Chapter (, July 21, 2013).

[iv] The Preamble to the Bill of Rights.

Published in: on July 22, 2013 at 6:58 am  Comments (11)  
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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] The questionable role of HOA attorneys authored by George K. Staropoli […]

  2. […] The questionable role of HOA attorneys […]

  3. […] See What is this “association law” thing all about? and The questionable role of HOA attorneys. […]

  4. […] See  The questionable role of HOA attorneys […]

  5. As a former President of a 587 community HOAA, there is no question
    that the HOA Attorney’s are there to look after and protect the Board.
    I have yet to see them rule in favor of a homeowner. North Carolina
    just past some new Acts, but they did not go far enough. They should
    make the arbitation manditory.

  6. The goal of an HOA attorney is to deplete the bank account of the homeowner so they cannot afford to fight. They like it even more when the homeowner goes into bankruptcy. Its not about what is right or makes sense its about having power over the homeowner and the one with the most money wins. Obviously, the HOA always has the most money and in some cases they bring in their insurance company to fight the homeowner so the end result is easily predicted.

    I will not ever own another home with an HOA even if the property was offered to me as a gift.

    • unfortunately, you may have to settle for an older existing home out in the county somewhere; hoa’s are ubiquitous!

  7. Right on about HOA lawyers. I am shocked by their behavior. I had to pay for repairs on a abandoned home just because I lived in a patio home that was connected to it. They got termites, I did not, but the HOA told me I had to pay to have the home inspected and treated. That cost me $1,600. I also had to pay another $3,200 to have their carport repaired because it was attached to my property. I fought it, and had to go to a hearing in which the HOA lawyer stated that I could not file against the HOA. I paid $4,300 of their repairs and was told I still owed $500. I offered to pay the $500, but told them I would still sue them. They sent the check for $500 back to me because i would not sign a paper stating that it was a legitimate debt. They have now attached another $4,200 that they attached for filing for the additional $500 after I agreed to pay it and they refused the check. I would rather go to jail then pay it now. My wife and I will be moving out of this state in September. I will never buy a home with an HOA again. Even the HOA was fighting with the lawyer because she was making decisions they didn’t approve of.

  8. It appears that HOA attorneys have an unfair advantage over the homeowner. They can charge obscene amounts to go after the homeowner who is actually paying them for unjustifiable situations. These HOA lawyers take advantage of the system and know they can get away with unreasonable acts just like bad boards of directors. The entire HOA government is turning out to be one big scam with the HOA attorneys benefiting from an unequitable system.

  9. When the HOA attorney is the son of the HOA board president he becomes an agent for the HOA. Read all about it!!! “current activities”.

  10. in other words, they are in it for the $$!

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