As many people in the legal field know quite well, homeowner association (HOA) data has historically been challenging to obtain and use. From a lack of ways to access the available information to the number of different HOA organizations, it can be difficult to get a hold of this highly useful data, which may help people in the legal profession to identify and reach out to potential clients.
With this in mind, please consider why having access to specific types of HOA data may assist law firms in getting new clients, as well as why understanding related questions like “What does an HOA fee mean?” is also important:
What’s in a Name?
It is virtually impossible for people in the legal profession to reach out to potential new homeowners association clients if they do not have actual names. Sure, an attorney could send out a form letter to “Sir or Madam,” but it would make a greater impact if she was able to address the message to “Dear the Governing Board of Silver Springs Homeowners Association of Bangor, Maine.” In addition, attorneys could use Google or other search engines to look up the various HOA names to see if they pop up in recent stories that made the local news — for example, residents who feel they were treated unfairly or the HOA itself that was maligned by homeowners — and who may be eager to hire the services of an attorney.
How Much Are Those Fees Again?
Most HOAs charge homeowners a monthly, twice-yearly or annual fee; this usually helps cover the costs of maintaining the amenities in the neighborhood like playgrounds, greenbelts and other common areas. Homeowners associations may also charge residents fines if they are breaking the rules, which are typically called Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions, or CC&R’s. It is advisable for HOAs to utilize the experience of an attorney when collecting any and all fines or dues. Knowing how much HOAs charge their residents can help attorneys draft accurate letters when reaching out to potential new clients, offering their services in this regard. Lawyers may also remind HOAs that if a resident refuses to pay his dues or has accumulated a number of fines, that it may be necessary to file a lien against the home — something that is best done under the advice of a knowledgeable attorney.
How Often Are Those Fees Paid?
Knowing how often residents pay HOA related fees may also help attorneys to identify new clients. For example, if they learn that an HOA in Denver, Colorado charges its residents $25 a month for dues — and a virtually identical neighborhood in Boulder charges its residents $100 a month, the attorney could use this info to contact residents of the Boulder neighborhood and offer her services to fight the unfair costs. The residents may be unpleasantly surprised to learn that they are paying so much more for similar amenities and will be more likely to consult with the lawyer for help.
What’s in that Contract?
In a perfect world, an attorney should help every HOA to draft all legal documents related to the association, including the aforementioned CC&Rs, any by-laws and what rules and regulations the HOA can enforce. By being able to access HOA contracts, attorneys can clearly see which HOAs have solid legal documents and which ones need some work. They can contact the heads of the latter HOAs and offer their services, explaining the importance of having legal and compliant documents. In addition, HOA laws change rapidly and it is important for each association to have the most current and correct rules and regulations. If, after reading through the Minneapolis-based Lakewood HOA’s CC&Rs, you discover a number of outdated bylaws and rules, you can certainly contact the board of that HOA to offer your services to update everything and bring it up to date.
And, More Specifically, What Types of HOA Contracts are There?
Knowing the rules that govern HOAs can be useful information for attorneys who would like to identify potential new clients. Most CC&Rs can and do have rules and regulations that cover everything from if and when you can play your favorite rock music as loud as you want, to if you can park your car in the street overnight. Homeowners may contend that some of the rules of their HOA are unfair, and they would like them to change. However, they may not know how to go about making these amendments to the CC&Rs and other rules. If, after reviewing the different types of HOA contracts in Babbling Brook HOA of Greater Eugene, Oregon, you notice that some of the rules may not be legal — for example, forbidding residents to place bulk trash at the curb for pickup even though the local garbage service allows this a few times a year. In these cases, you can contact the homeowners of Babbling Brook and offer your assistance in overturning this potentially unlawful rule.
Let First American and DataTree Help You Obtain HOA Data
Now, thanks to DataTree, attorneys and legal professionals, as well as those in a number of other industries, can access the names and contact information for HOAs. They may utilize this thorough database that includes info from all 50 states to possibly represent HOAs who need legal help, as well as residents of the neighborhoods that may have a case against the HOA. Once they have this valuable info in hand, attorneys can familiarize themselves with the fee, contract and other related HOA information and hopefully find some new clients who are eager to hire them for their expert services.