Association law is the sub-set of the law that pertains to the regulation and governing of homeowner and other similar associations. These associations are generally set up to represent a specific neighborhood or group of homes, or in the case of condominiums, a specific building. The term association law applies to the US market, and the laws and regulations will vary from state to state.
Homeowners associations can cover any type of domestic unit. They are generally set up by geographical location, such as in a gated community. Many condominiums, trailer parks, and sub-divisions have associations that regulate them.
The laws and regulations for homeowners associations are put into place to maintain community upkeep in some form, as well as address safety issues. Most associations have boards that are either appointed or elected by the community-at-large. They are regulated by by-laws set out at the formation of the association. Most residents pay a fee to the associations to cover the expenses of maintaining the laws and regulations.
As a result of association law varying from state to state, the specifics of any laws will also vary. For the most part, association law is in place to keep a certain consistency to the homeowners association’s regulations and by-laws. They are also in place to provide an arena for the associations to deal as a whole with other entities, such as real estate agents or builders. Many states require that associations register their by-laws with the state so they may have them on record.
The by-laws for an association will usually cover not only the regulations of the neighborhood or group of homes, but also the process for the board selection. They may also include the laws for how to remove a board member, how many members there will be, and ways to amend any by-laws. Interpreting and setting up the documentation for by-laws usually requires a lawyer.
Lawyers who specialize in association law are often the legally functioning arm of a homeowners association. In addition to providing assistance with the variety of legal documentation involved in such endeavors, such as eviction notices and foreclosures, lawyers can often advise on interpretation of the by-laws of an association. In some cases, lawyers may be the ones who handle the enforcement when a by-law is violated, such as when improper construction is done, or if one too many people are living in a residence.
Association law is fairly in-depth and complex. Some lawyers will even specialize in a specific area designated by the residence type, such as a condominium association law. Regardless of the specific branch, most lawyers who deal with association law make it their sole focus of practice.