Homeowners' Associations (HOAs) are organizations that manage and govern planned communities, condominiums, or subdivisions. When you purchase a property within a community governed by an HOA, you
Homeowners' Associations (HOAs) Control Over Your Property
Dated: January 3 2024
Homeowners' Associations (HOAs) are organizations that manage and govern planned communities, condominiums, or subdivisions. When you purchase a property within a community governed by an HOA, you typically agree to abide by its rules and regulations. These rules are outlined in the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R) document, which is a legal contract between you and the HOA. Typically there is a fee, usually charged monthly, for the services of the HOA and the amenities in the community.
Here are some key points regarding an HOA's control:
1. CC&R Enforcement:
- The CC&R outlines the rules and regulations that homeowners must follow. These rules can cover a wide range of issues, such as architectural standards, landscaping requirements, noise restrictions, and more.
- The HOA has the authority to enforce these rules and can take actions such as issuing fines, sending warnings, or taking legal action, up to and including foreclosure if a homeowner violates the CC&R and refuses to pay the fines assessed.
2. Architectural Control:
- Many HOAs have guidelines regarding the architectural design and appearance of homes within the community. If you plan to make exterior changes to your property, you may need to obtain approval from the HOA's architectural review committee. Even planting a bush or a tree can require approval.
3. Assessment Fees:
- Homeowners are usually required to pay regular assessment fees to the HOA. These fees contribute to the maintenance and improvement of common areas and amenities within the community.
- Failure to pay these fees can lead to penalties, fines, or even a lien on your property.
- Special Assessments can occur when a major component needs to be replaced or or repaired unexpectedly. It is important to look at a community with a critical eye. How old is it? How old are the systems and amenities, and what is the overall condition? As part of the disclosure of the HOA documents, you should see some budget documents. These should be the financial health of the HOA and hopefully a “Reserve Study” which will break out the major expenditures on the horizon and how well set up the community is to handle them.
4. Community Governance:
- HOAs are typically governed by a board of directors elected by the homeowners. These boards are responsible for making decisions on behalf of the community.
- Homeowners often have the opportunity to participate in HOA meetings, provide input on community matters, and vote on important issues. Be sure to read the information sent to you by the HOA.
5. Dispute Resolution:
- If conflicts arise between homeowners and the HOA, there is usually a dispute resolution process outlined in the CC&R. This may involve mediation or other means of resolving disagreements without resorting to legal action.
6. Legal Recourse:
- If a homeowner consistently violates the CC&R and refuses to comply, the HOA may take legal action. This can result in a court order requiring compliance, fines, or even foreclosure in extreme cases.
It's important for homeowners to carefully review and understand the CC&R’s before purchasing a property in an HOA-governed community. Once a member of an HOA active participation in HOA meetings and understanding community rules can help maintain a positive relationship between homeowners and the HOA.
Contact us with any questions or more information on HOA issues and concerns.
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