Yes, in most cases, you can recover your legal fees if you sue your HOA in Texas.
In Texas, a party to a lawsuit may recover their attorneys' fees if the recovery is provided by contract, statute, or common law. This is referred to as the "American Rule". Texas law provides that the prevailing party in a lawsuit is entitled to recover their reasonable and necessary attorneys' fees, as long as they are authorized by statute or contract.
Chapter 82 of the Texas Property Code provides the statutory framework that governs Texas homeowners associations (HOAs). According to Section 82.157, "A person who prevails in an action brought under this chapter is entitled to recover reasonable attorney's fees and court costs from the losing party." This means that if a homeowner sues their HOA or vice versa, either party has the right to seek recovery of their attorneys' fees and court costs if they are the prevailing party in the lawsuit.
Prevailing Party: Under Texas law, the "prevailing party" is the party who successfully resolves the main issue in the lawsuit and obtains their desired outcome. The court must consider the parties' litigation goals and determine which party was more successful in achieving those goals.
Reasonable Attorneys' Fees and Costs: If the court determines that there is a prevailing party, they must award reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to that party. The amount of the award will be based on the court's discretion and will depend on the fees and costs incurred by the prevailing party. The court will consider all relevant factors in determining the reasonableness of the fees and costs.
Action to Enforce Governing Documents: Chapter 82 of the Texas Property Code applies to actions brought under this chapter, which includes actions to enforce the governing documents of an HOA. This means that a homeowner who sues their HOA to enforce the governing documents is entitled to recover their reasonable attorneys' fees and costs if they are the prevailing party in the lawsuit.
It's important to note that a homeowner may have a claim against their HOA that does not arise out of the enforcement of the governing documents. In such cases, other statutes or contractual provisions may provide for the recovery of legal fees. Contact one of our Texas HOA attorneys to learn more about your options.
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