Ask a Real Estate Pro: Do you really want to take the HOA to court?

Board-certified real estate lawyer Gary M. Singer writes about the housing market at each Friday. To ask him a question, email him at, or go to

Q: The irrigation system in my area of our community has not worked for several months. I had new landscaping put in around the time it broke. I pay our homeowner’s association dues every month, and those include the irrigation system. My water bills are sky-high from having to water the plants every day. Can I make the association fix it, and can I get reimbursed for the hike in my water bill? — Mary Ann

A: Make sure the board of directors is aware of the problem. If you know a board member, speak to him or her directly. Also, you might consider attending the next monthly board meeting, where you can find out what’s going on and whether there is a good reason why this hasn’t been repaired.

It does not hurt to ask for reimbursement. I have seen cases in which associations cooperate with a reasonable request. But if there is no negligence or purposeful bad action from the HOA, a judge is not likely to award you the money.