Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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When a resident is encroaching on HOA common ground

Most communities in Missouri that are managed by homeowners associations have some areas of common ground. This is ground technically owned by the HOA and is for the enjoyment of all community members. Unfortunately, sometimes HOAs have to deal with residents encroaching on common ground. What can HOA boards do when this happens?

Encroachment, by definition, is the illegal use of a property owner's land. This typically happens if a resident builds something over his or her property line. Unless there is an easement that allows for this, it is considered trespassing, and the responsible party will need to correct the situation at his or her own expense.

Common areas in HOA-run communities often feel like free space, so some residents may not see the harm of building fences or other structures over their property lines or adding gardens to the area, among other things. When it comes to common ground, the HOA board has the final say as to what can happen with the land. Residents who wish to utilize it will need to get permission first.

HOAs in Missouri that are dealing with residents encroaching on common ground can tackle the matter in several ways. Generally, talking to the resident or sending notice of the issue is the first thing that should be done. If the resident fails to respond or fix the problem, fines may be imposed. Finally, if all else fails, legal action may be taken against the offending party. Legal counsel can assist HOA boards to do what is necessary to seek resolution as quickly as possible.

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