Legal Aid

If you are a criminal or simply accused of a crime, by law you have a right to legal representation. However, in civil matters you do not have a right to an attorney, representation, or equality before the law. The one who has the most money is the one who usually prevails--not always, but usually.

In HOAs--this is one of the most unfair, unethical and immoral reasons you should never be caught in one-but you are. HOA issues are "civil" mattters, we are told, and thus if there is a dispute and the law is broken by the board, managers, or attorney, YOU have to enforce the law and take them to court. An individual doesn't have a right to a lawyer or equality in justice in a civil matter, no matter how serious.

In 1974 Congress established an independent nonprofit Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. So if you are low income (annual incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines), which many in Condos and associations are, you may qualify to receive services from Legal aid. Keeping people in their homes is one of the things that legal aid likes to focus on--so there is a chance, however slim, that they may help, especially if you are in foreclosure.

Unfortunately, you have to be a low-income/disadvantaged individual such as a single mother, senior, disabled person, or veteran.

Congress recognized the need and so decided to try and promote equal access to justice. But sadly, legal aid doesn't work very well because it is underfunded and understaffed. As such, they like the glory cases--poor orphans, widows, abuse cases and are not likely to care that your HOA is assessing you $15,000 for a new roof and won't let you put a fence up. But some fights with a board may capture their attention if you are disadvantaged. So if you are low-income, it will not hurt to try legal aid first.

Below are the links to each state where LSC service offices are located.