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Should an HOA Interfere with Parental Rights?

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Children are usually pleasant to be around. Unfortunately, there is always one wildly boisterous child who is difficult to control or handle. Such kids cause trouble. What should the HOA do if there is one such kid in your building or neighborhood? Are there any legal options available to the board?

The Supreme Court and Federal Court recognize parents’ rights to raise and care for their children. Therefore, HOAs should respect parental rights and avoid taking any stern actions against difficult children.

A naughty, high-energy child can cause disturbances in a building. HOAs should be very patient when dealing with such kids. An HOA should avoid interfering in situations where parental rights are in question, especially when there are no apparent or implied threats to the building residents’ health and safety.

If an HOA reports an incident involving a troublesome kid to the police, it is doubtful that law enforcement officials will take action other than filing a report. If the HOA believes that the child is living in an unhealthy environment and their home environment is impacting their behavior, the board may want to alert child protective services.

Unless the situation gets out of hand, government agencies avoid domestic matters. If a court finds one of the parents unfit to be a guardian, they may still retain their constitutionally protected parental rights.

HOAs aren’t above the law. They should avoid transgressing local, state, and federal laws; otherwise, they may find themselves in legal soup. If a troublesome child is a special needs child, taking strict action against them or their family is a bad idea.

Certain legal rights are afforded to such children and their families. They are a part of a protected class, which is why anti-discrimination laws protect them. The family can issue a formal warning if an HOA acts harshly against the child. If the HOA ignores their warning, they can sue the board for discrimination and harassment. Such a lawsuit can tarnish the HOA’s reputation and result in legal liability.

We recommend that HOAs proceed with caution when dealing with a troublesome kid. They should first talk with the child’s parents about their behavioral problems. If the child does not change their behavior, the HOA can send a letter to their parents reminding them of their obligations towards other residents. Of course, if other property owners believe that the child is a danger to others, the HOA can contact law enforcement authorities to file a report.

Johnston Thomas Law offers a wide range of legal services. We specialize in almost all major fields of law. Every attorney on our team has a proven track record of success. To consult an HOA attorney near you in Sonoma County, call (707) 545-6542.

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