How a homeowner association dispute racked up $1M in legal fees

HOA battles can be long, drawn-out and, for some, expensive

(Credit: iStock, Pixabay)
(Credit: iStock, Pixabay)

A satellite dish. A St. Francis statue in the garden. An incorrectly parked car.

It started small, but disputes over a Kansas man’s alleged violations of his homeowner association’s rules has led to a complex legal battle that is now the most expensive of its kind.

Owner Jim Hildenbrand, has been locked in conflict with the HOA of Avignon Villa Homes since he moved there in 2012, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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What began with a disagreement over the placement of a satellite dish and a decorative wall has escalated into a legal back-and-forth that has cost both parties at least a combined $1 million. It is the most expensive HOA dispute in the country, the Journal found.

HOA’s provide maintenance and upkeep of properties for a monthly fee from residents. They also enforce community rules.

A 2016 investigation by the Kansas Star found that one in five people in the U.S. lives in a homeowners or condo association. Their reporting found that HOAs are often staffed by inexperienced volunteers. [WSJ] – Decca Muldowney