Can Village Sue Homeowners for Pond Maintenance?

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“The developer/builder of our subdivision signed an annexation agreement with the village 8 years ago.  There was also CC&Rs that were attached that expired after 5 years and were never renewed.  The 30 single family homeowners got together and signed a petition against the HOA since we have no common ground.  The village is stating that there is a natural pond that may have to be maintained in the event it affects the storm sewers.  They are maintaining that we have to form an association or they will sue the homeowners for any work they will have to do to maintain the “natural” pond.  Do we have any recourse?  Can they sue the individual homeowners?  We do not think so but may retain an attorney since they were very threatening.  We live in Illinois.  The homeowners were never notified of an association when we moved it nor was it ever formed in the past 8 years.  The village attorney stated that there is no timeline as to when they have to form an association because of the annexation agreement.    They are now going to relieve the builder and place the responsibility  to the homeowners.  I would like to add that they do not care about the CC&R’s.  Just the responsibility of the pond and we believe that it is because they approved of  a property that was developed improperly.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

This is a pretty complex question.  First, although you say you had no notice of the situation when you purchased, the village may be able to argue that you did have notice, if the annexation agreement was public record.

Without reviewing that agreement, it’s impossible for me to give an opinion on your relative rights and obligations. However, I can say for certain that the village can sue you.  Whether they would win if they did is, of course, another matter.

You’re on the right track in hiring your own attorney.  I assume when you do so, you’ll also explore whether you have any rights against the developer for putting you in this position.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.