A deep-rooted consumer protection problem has resulted from questionable Declarant control, self-serving business practices, and mismanagement of community associations (HOAs), especially in North Alabama. Unfortunately, the problem has spread to homeowner controlled communities as they have transitioned from Declarant to homeowner control. Weak nonprofit law, lack of experience and education, as well as lack of enforcement, have perpetuated these problems, which some feel border on civil, or possibly criminal RICO conduct. The real estate community has done little to educate its members. Additionally, the Real Estate Commission has no specific jurisdiction over association related complaints. Alabama is a dangerous place to purchase property governed by a community association without a well-trained agent who has received HOA training from a subject matter expert. Unfortunately, the local Boards of Realtors® and Multiple Listing Services (MLS) do not offer such and have done nothing significant to help their members mitigate risk or protect the public.
Suggested requested information prior to making a purchase commitment:
● Copies of Covenants & Bylaws for all portions of the community,
including supplementary filings
● Insist that your offer to purchase is contingent on receipt, review
and acceptance of ALL requested information
● Require incorporation details, management company, Developer and HOA
Board contact information
● Although a property may be represented as having no HOA
currently, determine if one could be established AFTER closing or community
● Current budget, checking, savings, and reserve fund details, including
● Determine if HOA funds are being deposited in the HOAs name insulating them from
Declarant or management company legal claims
● HOA debt level and projected shortfalls
● HOA dues and all other expenses to be paid by the homeowner;
history of special Assessments and future expected assessments
● Require a summary of insurance coverage, fidelity bonds, and
acknowledgement of annual tax filings
● Require the number and percentage of delinquencies and homeowner liens
● Determine if there are any pending litigation by, or against , the HOA and/or unpaid
judgments or disputes
● Determine if amenities are complete and who will fund current or future amenities
● Determine if control of the HOA been turned over to homeowners and if so, when
● Require toe date of expiration of original and extended Declarant authority
● Determine if the declarant/developer reserves the right to retain control of any
amenities and if so, identify
● Determine if any property or community adjacent to property is or could be
zoned for commercial or multifamily use
● Determine if the HOA maintains any non-owned property; if so, what and why
● Determine if amenities have been deeded to the HOA (if applicable)
● Determine if the community is subject to additional phasing (community
expansion) and if so, if the current architectural theme will be continued
● Determine if subject property in compliance with Architectural Control rules and
You can make your offer contingent upon receiving and
approving material information before you are committed to purchase
Don't be bullied into skipping this.
If the agent or seller says "NO",
Just say, "NEXT".
The Alabama Concerned Homeowners Alliance - All Rights Reserved
Not Affiliated with the State of Alabama
No content within this site is intended to serve as legal advice.
No endorsement or warranty is made or implied about the quality of service any professionals perform.
You Don't Know What You Don't Know
Alabama is a dangerous place to purchase real estate. Be prepared.
Ask your REALTOR®/Buyer Agent how your interests are being protected.
Only use an adequately HOA trained professional who will represent & protect you.
ALABAMA CONCERNED HOMEOWNERS ALLIANCE