South Jordan, UT asked in Real Estate Law for Idaho

Q: I bought land in Idaho, part of an HOA. The president resigned and there is no board. What legal options do I have?

The newer residents seem keen to participate but very few of the older residents have expressed any interest in communicating in an open forum. There is a water well that is maxed and in need of updates. There is supposed to be a road to all of the lots but there is no road to my property and unfortunately I have to use the shared road to reach my property. In three years, no one has notified me of an annual meeting. I paid my dues, but I don’t know how much money the HOA has or how money has been allocated or if all the residents are contributing. I’m considering selling but want to explore my options first. I like the property and I’m not excited about paying for closing costs and dealing with a new purchase. I am concerned that the community’s apathy will lead to a host of problems.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kevin M Rogers
Kevin M Rogers
  • Boise, ID
  • Licensed in Idaho

A: Land use restrictions in Idaho, came from Germany. The Idaho legislature and courts have ruled that these restrictions on land ownership are legal, but they will be strictly enforced against the drafter; which means that IF there is ANY ambiguity in the CC&Rs and someone is in trouble because of them, the Court will find for the person aggrieved. Because of the strictness that these are enforced against the drafter, in many cases, the CC&Rs are simply abandoned. I purchased my personal home and in reviewing the closing documents I saw that there were Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&Rs) on the property. Yet, after moving in I wanted to do certain things on my property which would have required me to go to the "Committee on Planning," but when I called the "President," the number was "out of service." I looked at the Secretary of State to see about any further filings by this former plat owner but could find none since the late 70's. It appeared and turned out to be correct that the CC&R's for my land were abandoned. It may be wise for you to look at the Idaho Secretary of State's website for the name of the plat owner. See what he/she can tell you about the plat and your property specifically. It may be similar to my experience and that these restrictions on your land may have been abandoned and you would have a prime piece of real estate with NO RESTRICTIONS on it! You may need to have your property surveyed to see if there is an easement for a road to your property which isn't "shared." The other thing I would do is look at the conveyances in the Recorder's Office to determine if the "shared road" is truly the "only road" to your place or perhaps there was an old "easement" that wasn't carried over to the new deeds.

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