Articles on HOA and Condominium Law in Ashburn, VA

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How to Keep Order in Your HOA Community

hand writing the word “regulations”Finding the right balance between homeowner freedom and community wellbeing is a challenge when you’re managing an HOA. If you deal with frequent or flagrant violations of the rules, it might be time to think about improving them for the sake of keeping order. Follow these four tips to make sure everyone has an opportunity to take part in a safe, clean, and welcoming community:

Stay Consistent — Frequent rule changes or unfair enforcement are some of the factors most likely to cause tension and confusion. Minimize disruption by giving people time to adjust and confidence in how you handle violations.

Embrace Simplicity — Complicated requirements are hard to follow, hard to enforce, and easy to justify ignoring for the average homeowner. Look for ways to streamline your existing regulations.

Enforce Effectively — Nobody wants to cause confrontation, but enforcing the rules is critical to making sure others respect them. Don’t be afraid to consult or involve trusted lawyers in Ashburn, VA, if necessary.

Employ Communication — Many problems come from a simple lack of clarity or compromise. Communicating concerns and challenges is an essential part of any community, and making sure homeowners actually know the neighborhood rules is the only way you can expect compliance.

Why Your HOA Needs a Website

woman in business attire working on a laptopWhether you’re the director or a community member of your neighborhood’s HOA, it’s never too late to start thinking about creating your own website. HOA websites are surprisingly uncommon despite the world’s reliance on technology. But as organizations throughout the country start to see the logic behind them, more and more are undertaking the process of building their own sites.

If you’re not sure why your local HOA needs a website, consider this: because most people look online for information these days, it makes sense to place pertinent announcements, guidelines, and regulations in an easily accessible space. Creating a website is a simple way to reach your audience.

Not only that, a website can help you ensure you’ve done your due diligence in keeping residents informed of essential HOA rules and neighborhood guidelines. In the past, attorneys in Ashburn, VA, have worked with HOAs accused of negligence by frustrated residents who claimed ignorance of such rules. But when everyone has access to these rules, everyone can stay in the loop.

Finally, an HOA website can save you time and money when it comes to bulletins. Now you can skip the flyers and handouts, as well as frequent trips to the local printers. Everyone wins with a comprehensive HOA website.

When you need expert legal advice for your HOA, contact Ceresa Law at 703-726-9500.

Can I Take Legal Action Against My HOA?

fenceWhen you purchase a property in a building or community governed by a homeowners’ association (HOA), you agree to abide by its rules. These rules are initially developed by the property developer and are enforced and amended by the HOA board of directors. Your HOA community rules are outlined in the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs). CC&Rs might state whether homeowners may erect fences or swimming pools, what color they can paint their home, what their obligations are regarding lawn-mowing and snow removal, what pets are allowed, and much more.

For the most part, HOA’s work well to maintain the condition, value, and in many instances, uniformity of the properties within the association. Typically things run smoothly as long as everyone follows the rules, but what happens when you disagree with the HOA, and the board running the association, and you don’t see eye to eye?

Can you take legal action against your HOA if you feel you are wrongfully accused of disobeying the bylaws? The answer is yes. With the legal aid of an attorney in Loudon County, VA, the Ceresa Law firm has the experience you want defending your case. If you have a major dispute and believe your HOA is out of line, and you haven’t been able to work out a compromise or initiate an amendment to the rules, you can take legal action. Because an HOA is a legal entity, you can file a lawsuit against it and ask a court to get involved.

5 Ways To Avoid HOA Problems

Attorney Loudoun county VABelonging to a homeowners association (HOA) has many benefits, particularly if you live in a condominium and prefer to handle little to no home maintenance. Living in a property or community governed by an HOA is also known to boast well-maintained amenities, creates a sense of community amongst neighbors, and increases property values. For the most part, belonging to an HOA is a plus, but sometimes there can be negatives. To avoid HOA related troubles, we’ve compiled a list of steps to take should problems arise.

#1 Know the HOA rules and bylaws. This is something you should read up on and be familiar with before agreeing to purchase an HOA-governed property.

#2 If you’ve been found negligent in some aspect of the bylaws, respond to any allegation of violation in writing with the help of an attorney in Loudoun County, VA. Face-to-face meetings are beneficial, but always follow up with a written understanding and response.

#3 HOA rules are usually legally binding. That’s not to say that a law firm in Loudon County, VA, can’t help to resolve the matter, but the governing law is a law, so you’ll need to deal with the citation accordingly.

#4 Be aware that failure to follow community guidelines can result in penalties and fines, including the cost of litigation. It can also be costly to file a lawsuit against your HOA, as the HOA will incur its own attorney’s fees which will eventually be passed down and paid through community HOA assessments.

#5 Always pay your HOA dues on time, even when disputing an issue. Interest and fines can add up later, and you will be held responsible for them.

If you’re unable to settle a problem with your HOA, contact the Ceresa law firm in Loudon County, VA. We’ll work on your behalf to resolve the dispute as quickly and amicably as possible, always keeping your best interest as our driving force.

HOA Fees: Costs and What They Cover

If you plan to buy a home or condominium that is part of a homeowners association (HOA), you should understand what HOA fees are and how they work before signing a contract. The first thing to know about HOA fees is that they are in addition to your mortgage, insurance, and property taxes. For this reason, it’s important to ask about HOA fees before you buy a home with an HOA.

Every HOA has regular dues to cover routine upkeep of the property. These fees are usually paid monthly or quarterly, depending on the specific HOA, with the costs ranging anywhere from $50 to $1,000 per month. HOA fees vary widely, depending on the property location and the amenities available to the property owners. For example, the owner of an oceanfront condo in Florida loaded with amenities might pay $1,000 per month, while a single-family home in a modest gated community might pay only $100 per month.  HOA fees can increase yearly, depending on the rise in maintenance costs.

Some of the costs paid out of the HOA fee are:
Electricity and other utilities for common areas
Fire alarm systems
Grounds maintenance and landscaping
Gate security guard
Pest control
Pool maintenance
Trash removal

If you’re considering buying a property that has a homeowners association, the amount of the HOA fees should be readily available. For questions and concerns regarding condominium law in Loudoun County, VA, contact Ceresa Law by calling us at 703-726-9500.

What To Expect If You’re Part Of An HOA

If you’re considering buying a home in a new suburban community or planned unit development that is overseen by a homeowners association (HOA), it’s only natural for you to be curious about what exactly an HOA is and what it means for you as a homeowner.

For starters, an HOA is a planned development of houses, often nestled in a gated community or a neighborhood of condominiums or townhouses. If you buy into a neighborhood with an HOA, you agree to live by a set of rules called the covenants, conditions, and restrictions, or CC&Rs. These documents are unique to each HOA, but cover resident behavior, architecture requirements and limitations, and common responsibilities, such as fees and fines.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, average annual dues for a homeowners association is approximately $400 per year.

If you’re looking to purchase a condominium, they usually come with heftier HOA fees because the association will take care of everything including lawn care, parking lot maintenance, plumbing problems, and construction issues.

In a traditional HOA neighborhood of single-family homes, the homeowner is responsible for the upkeep of the outside of the house, and the HOA has the power to make sure they do so. HOAs can fine homeowners for things like excessive weeds or holiday decorations left up for too long. They can also require the owner to repaint their house a specific color that fits the neighborhood’s character.

When they work well, HOAs can increase property values by ensuring that their communities stay visually appealing. However, as with all things, there can be issues with HOAs, including poor management.  If you’re new to an HOA community and have questions or concerns regarding their rules and regulations, contact a homeowners association law firm in Loudoun County, VA. Our experienced team of lawyers is happy to assist you with your HOA legal matters.

The Benefits of Buying into a Homeowners’ Association

hoaWhen you are in the market for a new home, you may be considering moving into a development with a homeowners’ association. There are many reasons why moving to an HOA is beneficial for a homeowner.


Most HOAs provide a variety of amenities to homeowners like tennis courts, pools, a protective gate around the community, golf courses and more. The fees that you pay go towards ground maintenance, which keeps the whole neighborhood looking beautiful. Because of these shared amenities, HOAs tend to be community-oriented, which creates a friendly atmosphere for you and your family.

Increased Home Value

Homeowners’ associations do tend to have a lot of rules and regulations. These are designed to protect the value of homes within the association. Having an active HOA can boost the value of the entire neighborhood.

Quality Community

Having an HOA in the neighborhood ensures that everyone in the neighborhood shares similar values. You are less likely to have unruly or unpleasant neighbors because the rules and regulations of the HOA deter those types of people from purchasing a home within the association.

When your HOA needs sound legal advice, turn to the experienced homeowners’ association attorney in Loudoun County, VA, at Ceresa Law. Contact our law office today and start resolving your homeowners’ associations’ pressing issues.

4 Things to Do Before Buying a Condo

condominium law loudoun county vaBuying a condo can be a great thing. When you live in a condo, all of the outdoor maintenance is done for you, significant costs are shared among the condo community, there are often amenities like gyms and pools, and you get to enjoy community living. Condos also tend to offer more affordable living, better locations, and better security. However, the condo is only as good at the condominium association that governs it. To avoid the potential pitfalls of owning a condo, be sure to do these four things before purchasing.

Check Out the Governing Documents

When you live in a condo, you are bound by the association’s governing documents – so it pays to know what they are. If you find that you don’t want to comply with condominium regulations, or you can’t comply with them, it is best to find a different condo complex.

Examine their Finances

The resale disclosure packet, which you can easily obtain from the condominium association, will contain the association’s annual budget and assessments owned by each owner. If the association has financial issues, you will see higher assessments in the future.

Check the Minutes

Obtain the minutes from a recent Board of Directors meeting to see if any major problems are facing the association that you may wish to avoid.

Check Their Insurance

If the condominium association is sued, the insurance should cover it. If they do not have enough liability insurance though, the homeowners will have to contribute to the payment.

Our law firm in Loudoun County, VA, provides expert legal advice for condominium and homeowners’ associations. Contact us today for more information.

Welcome to the Ceresa Law Blog

ceresa law logoYour home is your biggest asset, and it is up to a good homeowners or condo association to help preserve its value. In fact, a great HOA can even increase your home’s value. Since 1997, Ceresa Law has specialized in HOA law. We provide vital services for both HOA organizations and individual homeowners, dealing with government agencies, contractors, and more. We can handle insurance matters, meeting issues, election issues, policy resolutions, and more.

In this blog, we will be taking a deep dive into homeowners’ and condo associations and the legal matters that surround them. If you are a part of one of these organizations or are simply fascinated by legal proceedings, you should subscribe. We will be publishing informative and entertaining content on a regular basis, so do not miss out.

Our firm can help educate your board of directors about legal issues that face your organization. We prevent and solve legal problems for our clients every day using our combined 30 years of experience in HOA law.

When you need an HOA attorney in Ashburn, VA, for your organization, reach out to Ceresa Law. Our capable lawyers are ready to assist you when you call us at 703-726-9500.